Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

11.26.2006

Green or Mean?

What goes for individuals goes double for organizations: self-interest trumps concern for the common good. Policy should reflect that, as described nicely in this Mother Jones article about corporations and the environment:

. . . Helping corporations do the right thing through regulation—which, it should be noted, also levels the playing field so that a greenish BP doesn’t have to worry about a dirty Exxon­Mobil—is not exactly a new idea. It’s more or less what we used to do, in the long period from Teddy Roosevelt and the trustbusters on to about the 1980s.

One reason for the shift is the enormous political power of corporations, which they use almost exclusively to boost their own profits. But in a way, you can’t blame them for that. The strange part is how little opposition the corporate agenda meets anymore—how many of us have accepted the ideological argument that as long as we leave commerce alone, it will somehow, magically, solve all our problems. We could compel Big Oil to take its windfall profits and build windmills; instead we stand quietly by, as if unfettered plunder were the obvious and necessary course.

Explaining this mystery may bring us back to where we started. In the childlike enchantment we’ve lived under since the Reagan era, we’ve wanted very much to believe that someone else, some wavy-haired ceo, would do the hard, adult work of problem-solving. In fact, corporations are the infants of our society—they know very little except how to grow (though they’re very good at that), and they howl when you set limits. Socializing them is the work of politics. It’s about time we took it up again.

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