by Nick Andrea
We can no longer rely on a strong centralized government to solve our economic problems. Legislation has not solved these problems and, arguably, has made them worse. Moreover, our government is compromised to large special interests at this point, thanks to the Supreme Court. So, we have to take matters into our own hands at a local and cultural level level.
First, we should keep the free market relatively unregulated, especially for small businesses. The only roles for legislation in a free market are to make sure businesses are selling safe products and services, and to make sure they’re not cheating, such as price fixing. Lest it become a free for all for large businesses, however, the sword must cut both ways. We need to remove corporate personhood so that actual, not fictitious, humans bear the consequences of corporate actions.
Next, we should alter out purchasing habits and compensation schemes. Where possible, stop supporting hierarchical businesses where the salary ratio of CEO to average worker is 354:1 (http://www.aflcio.org/Corporate-Watch/CEO-Pay-and-You/CEO-to-Worker-Pay-Gap-in-the-United-States/Pay-Gaps-in-the-World). Instead, support more cooperative enterprises that pay all their employees living wages and profit share or put profits back into the community, in the form of community gardens, low-cost fitness and health centers, and drum dojos for youth, to name a few.
I feel this view balances the best of individualist and collectivist values. We preserve freedom through the free market, allowing individuals to express themselves creatively in business. And, we balance that with collectivist values since the healthiest systems in nature are collaborative. This is the piece that, out of fear of becoming a communist nation, has been missing from the American marketplace for too long. But, sharing equitably from the grassroots level and making sure everyone has enough is not communism, it’s sustainability.
I’m no statistician. I won’t argue about numbers. I can say, however, that this ship is on a collision course with doom and I don’t want to see that happen. So, it’s time for a values shift. It’s up to you and me. Where will you buy your groceries this weekend?