A corporation’s mission is to provide profit to their shareholders. Other stakeholders must be satisfied so that they support the corporation, yet America has no law against maximizing profit to the detriment of other stakeholders.
When China opened its doors after 150 years and created special economic zones in which American companies could set up shop as long as they brought their trade secrets and intellectual capital, 40,000 did just that without reprisal from the United States. It certainly was not illegal to do so, and of course, the American consumer was rewarded with somewhat lower prices.
Another stakeholder, Congress, got enormous campaign contributions by China bound corporations, and there certainly isn’t a law against that. In fact, America turns a blind eye to average senate races costing 10 million dollars that have been paid for by our corporations and banks, more than 90 percent of campaign donations. We do not fault our Congress for passing laws to help their corporate constituents nor do we fault our Supreme Court, whose recent ruling on Citizens United gave corporations the unique status of having citizen rights without citizen responsibilities.
By paying the $150 dollar fee to become a corporation, businesses gain property rights that are sacrosanct in America. Corporations can sell property even if it harms others, in most cases. In a very few, such as that is being raised with GE, when a corporation attempts to sell a trade secret or intellectual property that could put our fighting men and women in harm’s way, we stop the sale in the interests of national security. But when 40,000 companies took their intellectual property to China, America did not claim national security.
And why would we have when the China gold rush began in 1979? Our industrial belt had been rusted by international competition and we were told that globalization would bring millions of jobs to America. It did but it took tens of millions more away. We were also told that imported goods would be cheaper than American ones and they are. But the cost of lost jobs, lost wages, less taxes, fewer factories, transferred intellectual property, future GDP growth, trade imbalances, and greater interest on trillions of borrowed debt was way costlier than the savings from Chinese trinkets.
By moving millions of jobs off shore, we gutted regions of collaborating industries like Detroit, Youngstown and Pittsburgh, whose workers, engineers, scientists, and businessmen intermingled to create next generation developments that would grow America’s future prosperity. But can we fault our corporations just because their collective actions cost America millions of future jobs and GDP? No, we cannot for our laws do not even suggest that American corporations should consider our citizenry as stakeholders. And in 2011, America has not yet even considered that our economic security is directly tied to our national security.
Without yet considering how we will support a future war of attrition without domestic factories, our nation has not yet debated our financial security. America now has bulged her budget to 3.4 trillion dollar budget yet collects only 2.2 trillion in federal taxes. We are forced to borrow from the Chinese the very dollars we give them for their trinkets, while keeping 30 million of our citizens underemployed. Our credit rating has finally been lowered because of this folly, and now our Congress is faced with making deep cuts to our budget which may include substantially reducing our military capability.
We have not connected our past decisions to allow our corporations to give millions of intellectual properties to the Chinese in trade for access to their markets and to their cheap labor to our national security. Yet these decisions have in fact lessened our national security, because without economic security, we have no national security.