The myth is that shareholders run corporations and the Board of Directors look out for the shareholder’s interest. In reality, the Board of Directors are a bunch of old farts who rubber stamp whatever is handed to them. As for shareholders, they take little interest in day-to-day operations; they just want to get a good return on their investment.
So who runs these extremely powerful artificial bodies, many of which have more assets than small to medium sized nations? And how did these artificial creatures get labeled “people, too” with human rights, like free speech (hence no limit on how much they can contribute to political campaigns?)
Some have said if corporations are people, they are sociopaths, since they have no soul, no conscience. Or they are sharks: they eat, eat, eat with no thought for whether they are eating logs or babies; it’s all the same to them. But of course, this is pointless, because corporations ARE NOT PEOPLE, period. They are an artificial creation that mimics life.
And who runs them? According to J.K. Galbraith, they are run by circles within circles, with the president at the center. The Board of Directors and Shareholder myths are just presented to relieve our anxieties that they may actually be over-mighty, secretive politburos.
First ring:President 2nd ring: Executive VPs, senior home office staff 3rd ring: heads of companies and subsidiaries 4th ring: specialists in various fields of knowledge, (engineers, scientists, ad specialists, salesman, lawyers, lobbyists, economists) 5th ring: white collar workers, 6th ring: production supervisors, 7th ring: blue collar workers.
The structure is like a living cell, with feedback flowing back and forth between the circles, but decisions radiating out from the nucleus, the small group of men at the center, many of whom we never hear of until they are tapped for political positions, where they carry their value system into the government briefly before returning to the more lucrative corporate world. This is called the Revolving Door.
Examples abound, but Dick Cheney was tapped for VP when he was CEO of Halliburton, a multinational energy company and his mentor, Donald Rumsfeld, was CEO of the phamecutical company that produced Aspartame. Hank Paulson, who ushered the nation through the crash of 2008, had been CEO of Goldman Sachs.
The corporation is modeled after a living body, after life itself-and that is the source of its power. They like to present themselves as heroes, democratic even, with their myths of Shareholders and Boards of Directors. Sometimes they point to the government and say, “Look! The government is corrupt; it is inefficient-tear it down until it’s small enough to stuff down the bathroom drain.” Corruption is evident and many fall for this refrain.
But the truth is the government is in symbiosis with the corporation, the Frankenstein monster the government itself originally created in order to pull off big projects like building canals and railroads. Who knew it would mutate and take on a life of its own-to the point that it got itself declared “people, too?”
What to do? Lift the veil of secrecy and expose the corporation for what it has become-a monstrous, over-mighty predator, mindlessly gobbling up whatever comes into its field of vision.