Believe in Free enterprise?

I’m a capitalist. I believe in free enterprise and I respect entrepreneurs who risk everything, confident they can build a thriving business because they believe they have something valuable to offer the rest of us.

But, I think that a person should always be willing to reassess how their beliefs serve them. My belief in free enterprise is no exception. Too much that’s going wrong in the world is driven by narrow business interests that conflict with the common good and public wellfare.

Jim Hightower thinks so too. He attacks Monopoly Power in his October pamphlet The Hightower Lowdown.

Large corporations have been backing the GOP despite its descent into the abyss of undercutting the election process, politicizing the courts, fomenting the January 6th insurrection, creating the “big lie” about the election having stolen, and systematically obstructing the Biden administration’s popular initiatives to protect the right to vote.

This trend started with the Powell memo years ago in which the US Chamber of Commerce used to mobilize corporate interests to aggressively “defend” free enterprise politically. In the years that followed we have seen corporations using money and PR talent to influence elections, Citizens United made it easier. Strategies to control congressional districting (gerrymandering) by gaining control of state legislatures (Operation Red Map) systematically gamed our electoral system so that the GOP could win without representing the majority of American voters.

Lewis-Powell-Memo

It’s clear that American Democracy is seen as the enemy of free enterprise by many business leaders. The GOP has come to oppose not just Democrats, but democracy itself.

Our belief in individual freedom, and free enterprise, needs to be tempered by our social values and our commitment to the public interest. Economic prosperity must not be the reward of the few at the top of the food chain. America should seek to prosper with nobody left out. Unbridled free enterprise can become pernicious, like cancer, where the unregulated growth of a few rogue cells threatens the vitality of the whole of society.