American corporations are not regulated by the market, by the government, or by themselves. They are so far out of control, in fact, that they have a bigger impact on government than government has on them. There is no chance whatever to create a healthy population or a healthy society until they are reined in.
Originally published 2010
American Foods are POISONING the Public
If you’ve read What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils? and What’s Wrong with American Foods?, you know that the American food supply is laced with substances that are damaging to your health. But those substances, by and large, are not present in the food supplies of Europe and Asia — either because the corporations there are too ethical to include them, or governments are smart enough to make them illegal, or both.
There are some exceptions, though. Asian countries that have allowed the fast-food swindlers to penetrate their borders are beginning to see levels of obesity and disease known heretofore only in America. In effect, they are trading their people’s health for tax dollars.
But in Europe, for example, a corporation’s board of directors is mandated to have representatives from unions and the local community — people who are more concerned with the health and well-being of their membership than they are about corporate profits. There is plenty of push for profits on those boards, as well — as there should be. But all it takes is one educated (or enlightened) member of the board to raise important questions, sway a few votes, and make a big difference.
In America, though. We do things differently. Some are even proud of that difference. I say it’s killing us.
Consider the following:
- The science of partially hydrogenated oils has been known since the 1950’s.
- Despite that knowledge, they have been incorporated into the food supply since their inception.
- So we have high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and the other dietary monstrosities described in What’s Wrong with American Foods?
- Because of those ingredients, the United States of America is suffering an epidemic of obesity and disease unknown to any other industrial nation. (But those who import our fast food machines are rapidly catching up.)
Corporations Do Not Regulate Themselves
- Giant industrial corporations pay their scientists not to know these facts, not to take them into account when designing their products, and not to communicate them to the public.
- Giant American corporations sell these products, not because their oblivious to the effects of their wares, but because they don’t care. Giant American corporations have no soul of their own, no conscience, no ethics, no honor. They are an engine that runs on only one track, and that track leads to profit.
Corporations Are Not Regulated by the Market
- “Free Market” bozos claim that choosing healthy foods is a matter of “personal responsibility”.
- According to them, if arsenic makes food taste better, and products sell better because of it, it’s ok to put it into the foods you eat, even though it will surely cause you a painful death much earlier in life, and impair your ability to live long before you die.
- They claim that it is your responsibility to avoid such foods. They argue that “the market will take care of it”.
- It will. Eventually. But in the meantime, millions will suffer. Remember:
- The science of partially hydrogenated oils has been known since the 1950’s.
- Health experts were raising warnings in the 1980’s.
- I started TreeLight Health in 1998. In 2001, I wrote an article on partially hydrogenated oils that has been at the top of the search rankings ever since.
- Still, it took until 2006 merely to pass a labeling law — which still didn’t ban them outright.
- As of today, partially hydrogenated oils are still in the food supply.
- Other examples abound:
- The American food supply has been flooded with health destroying, unbound fructose.
- Most of the San Fransisco bay area has been unknowingly or unwillingly subjected to a multi-decade water chemical experiment, due to the introduction of a totally untested compound (chloramine). It is known to be harmful in industrial concentrations, and is know to kill fish in the amounts present in the water supply. Yet it is in the water because, “there is no evidence that it is dangerous” (because there are no studies!).
- Those substances remain in the food supply, because market awareness lags far behind the science, and because corporate scientists are paid not to know, paid not to publish, and to deny, deny, deny.
- And after making a fortune causing the diseases, other corporations (who are part of the same mega-corp conglomerates) make money selling drugs to treat the diseases. They even get you to donate money for research to create the drugs! The goal is make you pay. And pay. And pay.
- In other words, “the market will take care of it”. Eventually. But only when every last soul on the planet knows which poisons to avoid. And the suffering that goes on in the meantime? That doesn’t matter?
- Giant American corporations clearly cannot regulate themselves. And they clearly are not regulated by “the market”.
- For every small voice like this one that tells you that the products are bad, a thousand megaphones are blaring away with pictures of succulent, juicy beef patties covered wth wonderful sauces, in ads that show lots of healthy, happy people. Don’t you want to be one of them?, they ask. Buy our products!, they say. Hour after hour. Day after day.
- No. They clearly are not regulated by “the market”.
- But “free market bozos” claim that giant corporations should be regulated by the market. The effect of that “regulation” so far: They have made trillions of dollars during the 60 years it has taken for the science to even begin to become public knowledge. Obesity has skyrocketed. Diabetes has skyrocketed. Many other diseases have skyrocketed.
- As a result the United States of America has the worst record of health of any industrial nation, bar none. It has worth health statistics than some third world countries! Highest infant mortality. Shortest lifespan. Highest rates of cancer. Highest rates of heart disease. And on, and on.
- In other words, those corporations make money on the time delay in information transmission. Until the information is so well known that they can no longer make a profit, your health is fair game, in their eyes.
- But in the eyes of those “free market bozos”, it is a matter of “personal choice”. In other words, it is perfectly acceptable for a corporation to profit from your ignorance, and harm you in the process. Put more simply, ethics are not a consideration. Only profit.
- Translation: The “values” they profess are pure hypocrisy. They have no values. They have no soul. Their statement that “it is up to you” is another way of saying, “I am free to do anything I can get away with.” Values? Give me a break.
Corporations Are Not Regulated by Government
- Giant corporations don’t regulate themselves, and they aren’t regulated by the market. The only remaining possibility for regulation is government.
- But American government is dominated by corporate money. It takes money to win elections. In all but a few, rare instances, a politician who doesn’t take it, can’t compete.
- Because of that reality, both parties in Congress are dominated by corporate influence.
- The public keeps throwing out the incumbents, thinking to make a change. But they have only swapped out the figureheads. The real power, the lobbyists, are still in charge.
- The Democratic party is slightly better — but they’re only better on social issues that do not affect corporate profit. So they’re for eliminating social injustice. And that’s good. But when it comes to the regulations that affect corporations, Democrats have just as much damage as Republicans.
- Because of lobbyists. There are 90,000 of them, and they write virtually every piece of legislation that politicians vote on. If they make $100,000 on average, that is $ 90,000,000,000 — 90 billion dollars that is spent by corporations, every single year, to control the government that is supposed to be controlling them.
- Corporations don’t throw away 90 billion dollars a year because it feels good. They invest 90 billion dollars, every single year, because it returns a profit. It gets results. It makes a difference. Your health be damned.
- In other words, as long as money plays a role in the election process, giant corporations aren’t regulated by government, either.
- In his excellent lecture, Sugar: The Bitter Truth, Dr. Lustig reads from the FDA charter, and points out that the FDA has a mandate to regulate acute poisons (those that cause immediate harm), but not chronic poisons (those that cause long term harm), even when the FDA knows for a fact that the substances do in fact, produce chronic obesity and disease.
- In short, the FDA has no mandate to safeguard your long-term health. The FDA is only concerned with cases of acute food poisoning — not chronic, long-term damage.
- In other words, according to the FDA charter — a charter that is determined by our legislators, who are pretty much at the whim of corporate lobbyists — the FDA can do nothing at all.
- Giant corporations don’t regulate themselves, they aren’t regulated by the market in any way that matters, and they’re not regulated in meaningful ways by government. Their lack of conscience translates to your lack of health. And eventually, to your financial ruin.
One Solution: Taking the Money Out of Politics
- Why do lobbyists have so much power? Because politicians have accepted corporate money to win elections. So the politicians must listen to the corporate lobbyists. And in listening, they are frequently persuaded. Because politicians are human. And those lobbyists are very good.
- To put it bluntly: As long as money dominates the election equation, you lose.
- So we have to take money out of the election process. But how do we do that?.
- There are have been many attempts to achieve that goal. But they all try to accomplish the goal with legislation.
- There’s a problem with that tactic! The legislative machinery they’re trying to influence has already been pocketed by corporations — and they’re spending 90 billion dollars a year for lobbyists, plus another umpteen billion dollars in political contributions, to keep it in their pocket.
- Not to mention the money they spend on lawyers. Good lawyers. The best that money can buy.
- They’re so good, in fact, that the recently convince the Supreme Court of the United States of America that when corporations spend their money to buy an election, that action is somehow a manifestation of free speech. So, as of 2010, corporations are free to spend as much as they want to buy their government.
- Government regulating corporations? Forget it. Not as long as money makes a difference in elections.
- But if we can’t legislate the problem away, what can we do?
- The answer is to make money irrelevant to elections.
- There is a way to do that.
- There is a way to make money irrelevant to the election equation, and to give people with the information (analysts) a much louder say in elections across the country — all elections, big and small.
- I describe just such a mechanism in the Voting Advice System pages. If not that exact system, something very much like it will come into existence, once day. I’m confident of that.
- When it does, the world will begin to change. People who have been struggling to make changes in society will find that obstacles have mysteriously vanished. They will find that they have real traction, that people who matter are listening. They will find that real, substantive change has become possible, and imminent. And they will be energized by the prospect.
- The combined result of their efforts will be the society we have dreamed of. Preservation and protection of the food supply is just one of the benefits. There will be many others.
- The faster we make it happen, the less people will suffer.
Are Other Solutions Practical?
- The European model provides many other mechanisms that give people a real voice in their government:
- Government funding for any and all political news media, no matter how radical.
- Multi-party politics
- Union and community representatives on corporate boards
- The European model also offers a great deal more personal security — and a much lower effective tax rate, considering that you’re not forced to pay for your education and your medical bills. (In a cruel twist of fate, the principles that produce that security were first espoused by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His Second Bill of Rights for personal security were never implemented here — but his lieutenants implemented them when rebuilding Europe after World War II — and the European Union made them viral — because a new member country can only join the union after agreeing to (and acting on) those principles.
- For more, read Europe’s Promise, by Steven Hill. But recognize that these ideas represent a significant change to the way we do things — the kind of change that requires legislation. And we already know what kinds of obstacles lie ahead of us on that path.
- They’re all great ideas that will make our society better. But as great as those ideas are, they don’t tell us how to change things to implement those ideas.
- After 60 years, we haven’t even rooted out partially hydrogenated oils from the food supply. How is a really big change going to be accomplished?
- The folks who are fixated on profit are not dumb. Not by a long shot. They are very, very smart. They just don’t care. That makes them sociopaths, as a matter of definition. But the fact of the matter is that they are ensconced in place, and they will be very difficult to dislodge.
- Because they are smart, they recognize the potential impact of changes like these. And they spend billions of dollars to convince the American public that we have the best health care system in the world (not true), the best lifestyle in the world (not true), and that we should be proud of the fact that we are the most productive country in the world. (True. But at what cost? No American has any security, unless they are part of the fortunate 1%. We should be proud of that?)
- So while the other solutions are desirable, they are not practical. Not until the big problem has been resolved. Not until we make money irrelevant to elections.
- What’s Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?
- What’s Wrong with American Foods?
- What’s Wrong with Fructose?
- What’s Wrong with High Fructose Corn Syrup?
- Using a Voting Advice System to make money irrelevant to elections.
- Corporation as Individual (“Personhood”)
How corporations became “people” in the eyes of that law, and how that fiction has come to harm us — the latest, and possibly the deepest hurt coming in the form of a Supreme Court decision that says they can spend unlimited amounts of money on elections, under the banner of ‘free speech’. https://reclaimdemocracy.org/personhood/
- FDR’s Second Bill of Rights for personal security
A moral manifesto that is the foundation for the success of the European model.
- Europe’s Promise
A well-written, comprehensive look at how European social systems produce a near-perfect balance of personal security and corporate profitability– systems that show how corporate excess can be held in check, while still allowing the quest for profit to drive society forward.
- Fixing Elections
A poorly-written, but important examination of the ways in which the American election process lags behind the latest findings in political science, as well as the example of European institutions.
- The Corporation
Where corporations came from, how the evolved, and the threat they pose, in their current incarnation.
- Capitalism: A Love Story, by Michael Moore
A brilliant exposition that manages to be entertaining, as well as instructive. It finds Catholic priests and Bishops in the Detroit area labeling capitalism as nothing less than “evil”, given its effect on people’s lives.
- Where to Invade Next?, by Michael Moore
A great video that spends only 5 or 10 minutes berating the military/industrial complex. After that, he visits other countries in the world to “steal” some of their best ideas, and bring them back to America. (With a better title, it probably would have reached a much bigger audience, and been even more influential.)
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