The Road to Corporate Serfdom
by Ralph Nader
October 29, 2010
It was Bill Clinton's campaign strategist, James Carville, who in 1992 created
the election slogan: "It's the Economy, Stupid."
For the 2010 Congressional campaigns, the slogan should have been: "It's
Corporate Crime and Control, Stupid."
But notwithstanding the latest corporate crime wave, the devastating fallout on
workers, investors and taxpayers from the greed and corruption of Wall Street,
and the abandonment of American workers by U.S. corporations in favor of
repressive regimes abroad, the Democrats have failed to focus voter anger on the
The giant corporate control of our country is so vast that people who call
themselves anything politically - liberal, conservative, progressive,
libertarian, independents or anarchist - should be banding together against the
reckless Big Business steamroller.
Conservatives need to remember the sharply critical cautions against misbehaving
or over-reaching businesses and commercialism by Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat,
Friedrich Hayek and other famous conservative intellectuals.
All knew that the commercial instinct and drive know few boundaries to the
relentless stomping or destruction of the basic civic values for any civilized
When eighty percent of the Americans polled believe 'America is in decline,'
they are reflecting in part the decline of real household income and the
shattered bargaining power of American workers up against global companies.
The U.S. won World War II. Germany lost and was devastated. Yet note this
remarkable headline in the October 27th Washington Post: "A Bargain for BMW
means jobs for 1,000 in S. Carolina: Workers line up for $15 an hour - half of
what German counterparts make."
The German plant is backed by South Carolina taxpayer subsidies and is not
unionized. Newly hired workers at General Motors and Chrysler, recently bailed
out by taxpayers, are paid $14 an hour before deductions.
The auto companies used to be in the upper tier of high paying manufacturing
jobs. Now the U.S. is a low-wage country compared to some countries in Western
Europe and the trend here is continuing downward.
Workers in their fifties at the BMW plant, subsidizing their lower wages with
their tax dollars, aren't openly complaining, according to the Post. Not
surprising, since the alternative in a falling economy is unemployment or a fast
food job at $8 per hour.
It is not as if we weren't forewarned by our illustrious political forebears
Fasten your seat belts; here are some examples:
Thomas Jefferson - "I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of
our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a
trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
Abraham Lincoln in 1864 - "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that
unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country....
Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will
follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by
working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a
few hands and the Republic is destroyed." (1864)
Theodore Roosevelt - "The citizens of the United States must control the mighty
commercial forces which they themselves call into being."
Woodrow Wilson - "Big business is not dangerous because it is big, but because
its bigness is an unwholesome inflation created by privileges and exemptions
which it ought not to enjoy."
Franklin D. Roosevelt - "The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is
not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it
becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is
Fascism - ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other
controlling private power."
Dwight Eisenhower, farewell address - "In the councils of government, we must
guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or
unsought, by the military-industrial complex."
And, lastly, a literary insight:
Theodore Dreiser - "The government has ceased to function, the corporations are
Are you, dear reader, the same now as you were when you began reading this
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