Corporations were originally chartered by the states in the early nineteenth century to be our servants not our masters. Now the servant has become master.
From June 8-10, hundreds of leading scholars, advocates and activists will convene in Washington, D.C. to discuss how to subordinate raw corporate power to the will of the people. “Taming the Giant Corporation: A National Conference on Corporate Accountability,” sponsored by Ralph Nader and the Center for Study of Responsive Law, will be held at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1530 P Street NW.
Conference speakers include U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Mark Green of Air America, Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO and many more.
The conference agenda and speakers are available at: www.tamethecorporation.org.
“In the last quarter century, the value of U.S. corporations has risen 12-fold. CEO pay has skyrocketed similarly,” notes consumer advocate Ralph Nader. “But workers today, on average, are still making less, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than workers made in 1973, the high point of worker wages.”
New complex schemes in the legal and financial spheres are enabling corporations to enhance their power, says Nader. “The corporate institution is able to metastasize its power through mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, unilateral contracts, and to evade law enforcement, taxes and other restraints through fleeing jurisdictions, lobbied loopholes, legal wars of attrition or ‘disappearing’ its own existence.”
The result, says Nader: “the supremacy of corporate commercial values and controls over community civic values and voices.”
“Taming the Corporation” aims to go beyond exposé to galvanize discussion, insight and strategic thinking about how to subordinate corporate power to the will and interests of the people.
Questions the conference will raise include: How do we replace the excessive corporate privileges and immunities entrenched in law and the economy? How can we displace corporations (e.g., with national health insurance, by keeping information and knowledge in the public domain, or by expanding and strengthening the public commons)? What tools and approaches can empower communities to set parameters on corporate activity? What countervailing institutions should be nurtured to offset concentrated corporate power?
“Taming the Giant Corporation’ will be an opportunity to learn, debate and grapple with questions that must be answered for a just and livable world,” says Drew Bush, conference coordinator.