Modern government could be interpreted as a device for projecting corporate power. Since the 1980s, in Britain, the US and other nations, the primary mission of governments has been to grant their sponsors in the private sector ever greater access to public money and public life.
There are several means by which they do so: the privatisation and outsourcing of public services, the stuffing of public committees with corporate executives(1), the reshaping of laws and regulations to favour big business. In the UK, the Health and Socal Care Act extends the corporate domain in ways unimaginable even five years ago.
With these increasing powers come diminishing obligations. Through repeated cycles of deregulation, governments release big business from its duty of care towards both people and the planet. While citizens are subject to ever more control – as the state extends surveillance and restricts our freedom to protest and assemble(2,3) – companies are subject to ever less.
In this column I will make a proposal which sounds, at first, monstrous, but which I hope to persuade you is both reasonable and necessary: that freedom of information laws should be extended to the private sector.Read it at George Monbiot
A Monstrous Proposal
by George Monbiot
published in the Guardian 8th May 2012
(h/t Kevin Fathi via email)
Favorite lines: "The African National Congress, aware of how corporations assisted apartheid, recognises that the state is not the only threat to democracy."
"So I am asking only for the exercise of that long-standing Conservative maxim: no rights without responsibilities. If you benefit from limited liability, the public should be permitted to scrutinise your business."