Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What Has Corporate America Done for You?

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. – John F. Kennedy
In the US, corporate America has become the enemy. It is seen as the greed machine that steals money, destroys the environment, imposes its products and services on the innocent and enslaves its workers. Yet, it is the very hand that feeds the nation through jobs, training, income, travel and many other opportunities. Are we
biting the hand that feeds us?

Perhaps it is time to say: My fellow Americans, ask not what corporate American can do for you, ask what you can do for corporate America.

In reality, corporate America cannot exist without the US citizen. In fact, corporate America is a product of US culture. Somehow we believe corporate America is somewhere outside of us, when the brutal reality is it could never exist without the love of capitalism that we all celebrate. If you need evidence, go to any mall or restaurant in the USA. You will see people enjoying the benefits of capitalism provided by corporate America.

Instead of the love, hate relationship we have developed with companies, there is another perspective. Unless you work for the government, you are the beneficiary of corporate America. As a note, the government does not build or produce anything. They contract the work to organizations that employ people to service the government. With that said, it is time to see corporate America as the catalyst for transformation of US culture. Up to now, we have believed that corporate America was shaping us. 

Since businesses cannot act or function without people, it is time for people to choose what they want corporate America to be, instead of being the victim of it. For example, in no way is a job merely a source of income. It is a place to become a better and smarter person. Most companies offer training. Instead of seeing training as a way to keep your job, use the training to become a more effective communicator, negotiator, problem solver, leader, etc. If your job became a source of educating you to become smarter and a more capable human being, the divorce courts would be empty. Why? The skills you develop in your career are transferable. As you become a better communicator and negotiator, you are equipped to work things out with your spouse. You also become a better leader when you are raising your children.

These benefits go well beyond your family. The skills and tools you develop from work would then contribute to you being a better neighbor, friend, sister, etc. In addition, things like road rage and arguments over small matters would disappear because each of us has been indirectly developed in human relations.

Furthermore, as we become more satisfied with our personal lives, we become more satisfied with our professional lives. They would feed on each other. As the enjoyment of our family life increases, divorce could possibly be eliminated. In turn, we would become that much more productive in our careers without the distraction of going through a tumultuous divorce.

As you can see, corporate America can serve a much greater role in our lives. Money is just a small part. It is corporate America that has the greatest possibility to transform many of the social and environmental challenges we face. However, there is no way it can happen without the individual. Each of us is responsible for what corporate America can be. What role will you play to ensure corporations become the catalyst for peace, empowerment and transformation?   

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.


  1. Yes, corporate America can be all of those things. However, the goal of a Capitalist is to exploit labor. Black people were key to the building of corporate America. From Slavery to the industrial revolution. Somewhere during the1970's, we systematically were eliminated to the point we see now. Exploitation of labor is key. Now that Corporate America can buy cheap labor overseas, we find ourselves left out of the economic equation. Undocumented Hispanics have taken our place. I get tired of hearing how lazy black people are and how hard Hispanics work. My parents both worked in factories after the "Great Migration". It was not easy work and they worked hard. They made a decent wage and were able to purchase, a home, a car every now and then, help educate us, their children and still were able to save a little money. Now, Corporate America deliberately fosters wage suppresson ($30,000), buy our politicians like $2.00 whores, avoid paying taxes through tax loop holes (Billions of Dollars lost which could be used to support our so called "BROKE Government"), work to keep Americans in Debt through paying us just enough money to pay THEM etc. We are no longer a democracy we are an Oligarchy. The stock market is "Booming" (It was 6,000 when Obama took office it is now 17,000+). The 1% has recovered. Wall Street is racking up! The corporate bailout given to "Corporate America" by our government has made them even more RICH. CEOs make millions in salaries while Main Street struggles to survive and our federal congressional representatives cut food stamp programs. Thomas Jefferson once stated a revolution every now and again is a good thing. Anyone (especially social scientists) is aware that the current economic disparity between rich and poor is a recipe for civil disobedience. When people feel their government no longer represents them and they have nothing to lose, they rebel. (Example: The American Revolution to Casto's Cuba, the turmoil in the Middle East might be examples.) When people feel shut out, they will eventually strike out. I'm not talking about just Black people but Whites as well. Sooner or later they will wake up and realize they are getting screwed too. You state education is the key? Well, corporate America will not create enough jobs to hire all those educated Americans. You know it and I know it so stop kidding yourself. The Education Frenzy we are going through as a nation is to merely delay the inevitable, pending anarchy. What's the solution? Corporate America stop being so DAMN Greedy! I recently heard the term Corporate Treason. You build your company using all of the freedom America offers to include infrastructure, personal security, initially, the American workforce etc. Yet you don't want to give back to a country that supported you. So go ahead and move your headquarters overseas to get cheap labor and your tax breaks. When the people "Over There" get tired of you and there is an economic/social crisis and they express their hatred of anything American, use your billions to hire your own army to fight the war "Over There" and leave the American Army alone. (22 military veterans commit suicide EVERY DAY!) Learn to care about the American People and stop being so selfish. Joann Williams, Chicago and U.S. Army Veteran. Anonymous only due to being invisible to corporate America and the U.S. Government. Little guys don't exist.

    1. Thanks for such well thought out feedback. Since it is very difficult to have your perspective of the world, I can neither agree nor disagree with you. I will, however, offer another perspective.

      Corporate America is made up of individuals like you and I. Businesses are simply a way to distribute goods and services to the general population. There is nothing inherently good or bad about a company. In fact, it cannot exist without people. Therefore, it is people who make up culture and policies. The same goes for a nation. In the case of the US, the culture of this nation has set the stage for what corporate culture will be. And in many ways, whatever it means to be human contributes to that culture.

      With that said, if at any point human beings are dissatisfied with what they have created, they can create something new. The culture of being human, being a nation or the culture of an organization has always been in the hands of the people.

      Social anthropologists say a culture is a network of conversations. Therefore, whatever people talk about is what the culture will become. If people collectively want a new culture, it is in their best interest to start a dialogue about the things they would like to see happen. If they don’t, it will never happen.

      Perhaps it is time for people to turn off the TV and walk away from the computer and start to talk about the things they want to see happen in their families, companies and countries. If that is done, the leaders of tomorrow will be educated and trained in an environment where they know what is expected of them. Leaders will always reflect the environment/culture they were raised in.

      If people continue to have conversations about what they don’t want, the leaders will continue to represent and present what the masses don’t want. If you doubt that, look at what one man named Ghandi did in India. He created a new conversation by taking a stand.

      What I am saying is culture is in the hands of the people, regardless of race. Exploitation cannot occur without some sort of mutual agreement. The exploited is getting some kind of payoff for allowing it to happen.

      To sum it up, it is people who choose what capitalism will be. And that requires clarity of what people are committed to and high levels of responsibility. Without clear commitments and responsibility, you get what we have today. Notwithstanding, it is conversations like that that move the individual in an empowering direction. Thank you for engaging me.

      Ted Santos