Hey anti socialist! You really don’t want to sit on UHC, Cigna, Microsoft, Walmart, Koch brother’s, GE, Boeing or Buffet’s corporate boards?
By Daniel Becker
Just thought, being the new year, we might want to start it off with some actual new thinking about how to make our economic system better. I have been meaning to purchase the book: Were you born on the wrong Continent. I’m just a very slow reader though and have to finish what I have. So, I found this Book TV interview to satisfy my “should I buy it” meter. Yes I should, and will.
Here in this country, it’s unthinkable that you would have a high school graduate on the corporate board of a major corporation. And there it happens, I don’t want to say routine, it happens a lot. You know, at least in terms of the supervisory board.
My favorite example, which I give in the book is, is this ah, nascent global bank which was just starting up and I asked a young banker there about co-determination, how it worked and he said well ah, “I’ll tell you how it works. The guy who brought us the plants, around the bank building, he’s on the corporate board.” Well what do you think about? “Well I think it’s very funny.” He said “the other thing I think about, is that they can’t hold the meetings in English” which is the global language … because this guy only speaks German. Everybody has to go at the pace of the gardener on the… corporate board.
Imagine that! Mr. Smith actually does go to Washington. As a lobbyist. Daily even, if he were a German citizen.
The author, Mr Geoghegan goes on to say that Germany was punished for the conception and implementation of co-determination by the boycott of international capital. The Financial Times, the Economist all editorialized against it. Thus, their people have to be on guard for those who want to bring it down. However, he notes that the post 1945 constitutions that were adopted came out of the New Deal, consequently they have in stone rights to healthcare, employment and education. Things our New Deal could not get constitutionally in-scripted. Under their constitution the courts have to look at whether the law will help or hurt the family. Is education free or not free?
Ultimately, Mr. Geoghegan sees Germany having an advantage in their system because the people are pulled into the system and thus are responsible for the results of their decisions. He notes that in the US we have no real power (at least as it relates to economic outcomes via labor) which allows one to talk irresponsibly about power. Remember that gardener? He is at the table of economic policy decisions. Kind of makes you realize just what we’re about to experience now that the Tea Party is calling some major shots. All of a sudden a group of people who have been able to sit on the outside in their own circle of reality is at the table of the worlds circle of reality. Think there is not going to be some major crashes? Even Carl Rove understood the danger in O’Donnell’s limited understanding of power because of lack of exposure and all it experiences. The issue we should all have with Rove et al though, is that he does not want to helper her learn about real power and thus truly be able to make decisions that enhances her life and reduces the risk of living.
In Germany, because of their system that makes it hard for even the least educated to sit on the outside, and the most powerful to ignore or leverage the least knowledgeable for their own gain, they have a better chance of surviving those who would create the world in their own vision.
One caution when asked what the down side is of the German system? The least knowledgeable being employed. Here, we have a service economy as the solution. That is personal service to those who have the where for all to buy personal service. This leads to a crack in the foundation of an egalitarian mind set and thus the policy that follows.
Truth is, not everyone is born to go and get a traditional BS type college education. Germany obviously is going to struggle as we have with making sure the lowest common denominator and not the highest is the the standard for acceptable earning capacity. Sure, promote being the best you can be. Great as an individual motto, but not as a minimum standard for policy setting. We need to understand that the best for some is simple manual labor. If we don’t, then we are only left with welfare policy, which I have no problem with if that is what we choose. One way or the other, people who for what ever luck in life they have or have not been blessed with have to be able to receive enough money to live in the society we have set up. Either we allow this to happen by assuring “living wages” for the lowest work society needs accomplished or we do it by welfare. Preferably not the penal kind of welfare we seem to be choosing. It cost the most to society and not just in money.
Besides, is it not what made us the model for and the envy of the world that we had created an economy which allowed such capacity to be considered valuable enough to earn the basic American Dream of a house, car, education and retirement without being broke or broken?
Do watch the interview.