Why does abuse continue?  Because it can.  Well, here I go – forward HO!  What is THIS about the United States of America that I am frightened to know?  More from the book, America’s Sacred Calling: Building a New Spiritual Reality (2010) by John Fitzgerald Medina., who states the following about:

Multinational Corporations

“A cursory review of the literature pertaining to global capitalism quickly reveals that multinational corporations are at the epicenter of many of the problems that we are currently experiencing both in the United States and throughout the world.  Possibly because of this, the Baha’I writings envisage that corporations (trusts) will no longer exist in the future:  “No more trusts will remain in the future.  The question of the trusts will be wiped away entirely.”  [The Secret of Divine Civilization, page 24]  Many multinational corporations, as they currently exist, are manifestations of a Cartesian-Newtonian value system that places the maximization of profits ahead of all other goals – often to the exclusion of even ethical and moral considerations.  Along these lines, history professor Howard Zinn, author of the highly acclaimed A People’s History of the United States, notes that the prevailing unscrupulous activities of multinational corporations are built upon a long history of corporate abuse in the Third World:

The relationship of these global corporations with the poorer count4ries had long been an exploiting one….  Whereas U.S. corporations in Europe between 1950 and 1965 invested $8.1 billion and made $5.5 billion in profits, In Latin America they invested $3.8 billion and made $11.2 billion in profits, and in Africa they invested $5.2 billion and made $14.3 billion in profits.”  [page 29]

“Corporations wield incredible power, and indeed, are beyond the control of any one government.  Of the world’s 100 largest economies, fifty-one are not multinational corporations while only forty-nine are nations [bold type is mine].  Currently, there is no body of national or international law to deal effectively with such corporate “states.”  Corporations are not democratic institutions, and they often make it clear that their only obligation is to deliver profits to shareholders.  In the United States, corporate lawyers have used the courts to carve out an entire body of case law including language that declares that corporations (also known as trusts) are legal persons entitled to First Amendment free speech rights and also to the protection of life, liberty, and property.  Moreover, case law grants corporations legal immunity, which means that corporate executives cannot be held fully accountable for their activities.  As such, corporations enjoy the rights of individuals without having to assume the responsibilities of individuals.  Along these lines, Noreena Herz, a Cambridge University economist and author of The Silent Takeover:  Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy, contends that multinational corporations pose a grave threat to democracy itself because of their ever growing capacity to manipulate governments with legal and illegal methods.  She maintains that corporations, almost by design, do not currently serve the world’s political and social needs, but rather, mostly serve the interests of profit-motivating investors.

“In contrast to the prevailing laissez-faire [describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies] global capitalism model, the Baha’I teachings stipulate that all business enterprises should be well regulated by international codes of law that set effective, fair, and just guidelines pertaining to global wages, working conditions, environmental protections, property issues, capital-labor relationships, restrictions on the concentration of wealth, and the sharing of natural resources.  Furthermore, according to the Baha’I teachings, businesses should be democratically run with workers and owners mutually participating in the decision-making process at all levels and workers also enjoying a percentage of the profits.  All people, including the disabled, should be employed in some capacity.  Moreover, in order to avoid the harmful speculation in currencies that currently exists, Baha’is believe that there should be one uniform worldwide monetary currency.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha wrote, “When the law3s He [Baha’u’llah] has instituted are carried out there will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no extremely poor.”  [The Promulgation of Universal Peace (2007), page 217]

“In their perpetual efforts to find, control, and exploit natural resources, corporations have caused much damage to the environment and have also cased much harm to indigenous communities with close ties with the land.  The Baha’i Faith recognizes that the constant struggle to seize and dominate natural resources has often resulted in major wars and conflicts between nations, groups, and enterprises.  In light of this, the Baha’i writings envisage that, in the future, all of the earth’s natural resources will be placed under public control, under the auspices of a world super-state (a world federation of nations).  According to the Baha’i writings, the world super-state will exercise full authority over the planet’s resources including oceans, forests, oil deposits, copper, silver, gold and other metals, diamonds, minerals, natural gas, coal, and so forth.  It is believed that the super-state will protect, coordinate, and organize the planet’s resources so that all peoples and countries may benefit equitably from these natural riches.”  [The World Order of Baha’u’llah (1991), page 204]  (pages 186-188)

Western-Style Development in the Third World

“An overwhelming body of evidence now shows that Western-style economic development, the kind that is promoted by multinational corporations, has led to highly destructive outcomes in the Third World.  Indeed, a common theme among critics of globalization is that the multinational corporations and the wealthy First World nations (especially the United States) have been using international financial and trade institutions – such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) – to their advantage and to the detriment of poor Third World nations.  For instance, Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics and author of Globalization and Its Discontents, contends that the IMF has consistently placed the interests of the United States and the rich industrialized countries above the interests of the impoverished developing countries.  Similarly, economist Biplab DasGupta, author of Structural Adjustment, Global Trade, and the New Political Economic Development, asserts that the global economic policies of the IMF and the WTO are harmful to poor countries and primarily reflect the interests of the wealthy countries of the Northern Hemisphere.

“Third World debt has become a major driving force in international relations.  During the 1970s and 1980s, First World banks found that it was profitable to lend money to Third World governments.  Indeed, such banks have managed to collect exorbitant interest on the longterm debt.  As it has become evident that some countries might default on their loans, the IMF (ultimately funded by public taxpayers) has stepped in to save the private banks by assuming some of the Third World debt.  The IMF and the World Bank, however, have increasingly pressured impoverished nations to enact economic austerity measures or face penalties.  These measures are formally known as structural adjustment programs, and they typically require countries to:  devalue their currency, which results in a dramatic reduction in the purchasing power of the poor; sell state-run enterprises to private parties (usually corporations); sell state-owned communally held lands to private parties (usually wealthy landowners or agribusiness corporations); severely cut state spending on social programs such as education, health care, and food subsidies for the poor; radically reduce the employment of civil servants in the government sector, which results in massive government layoffs; remove subsidies and price supports for small farmers who consequently can no longer compete with agribusiness corporations; stop producing food crops (such as corn and beans) for the hungry local population and start producing cash crops (like coffee, cotton, and tobacco) for export and sale to wealthy countries; deregulate economic activity (repeal minimum wage laws, gut environmental protection laws, etc.); and other changes.  The measures described above have had the overall effect of transferring wealth and power from the public sphere (governments and the people) to private entities (rich elites and multinational corporations).  [see:  “Michel Chossudovsky:  The Globalization of Poverty:  Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms,”]

“Loans have done almost nothing to alleviate the distress of Third World populations.  To the contrary, they have done much to increase this distress while at the same time augmenting the coffers of multinational corporations and First World banks.  Amazingly, poor countries now spend over twenty-five dollars on debt repayment for every one dollar in aid that they receive from wealthy nations.  Dennis Brutus, a professor of Africana Studies and the University of Pittsburgh, states,

One of the central mechanisms by which this recolonization [of Africa]…is carried out is the loan system through structural adjustment programs….  [M]any of the countries that received loans…have not seen their economies improve.  Quite the opposite.  Some are in a far worse economic position and more indebted than they were prior to taking the loans…more bankrupt…more impoverished….  It is hardly imaginable that anyone could knowingly devise such a ruthless, heartless system that is entirely devoted to increasing profit and largely indifferent to its human cost.  This, however, is the system that is shaping life in Africa today, and it is the system that we must challenge.”  [see source HERE]

Next post:

Taking Water Away From the Bolivian Indians


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