Ralph Nader: ‘Road to Corporate Serfdom’

Posted at www.nader.org by Ralph Nader:

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 corporate supremacists.

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 society.

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 the government.”

Are you, dear reader, the same now as you were when you began reading this column?

9 thoughts on “Ralph Nader: ‘Road to Corporate Serfdom’

  1. Be Rational

    Dear Ralph,

    You have been railing against corporations your whole life, and you have been wrong your whole life.

    The enemy is socialism.

    The enemy is the government.

    Social Security is one of the major causes of unemployment around the world. The SS system (including all the old age retirement and medical programs) makes workers pay out over 15% of their incomes (the employer’s share is actually paid by the worker). The worker relies on this as if it was retirement savings, but none of the money is saved. It is all spent within the year by the government – none is saved. The entire amount that would have been available to the world’s investment pool for the creation of jobs around the world is then lost – forever.

    The shortage of investment capital around the world begins with this evil, fascist Socialist Security.

    Income taxes, property taxes, regulations and government deficit spending suck up even more investment capital.

    Minimum wage laws make unskilled workers unemployable.

    The Federal Reserve prints money, stealing over 98% of the value of a 1913 US dollar at this point in time – destroying more savings.

    The Fed causes recessions and depressions that roil our economy and destroy more jobs.

    Government built roads and highways and subsidies for the wrong transportation systems, waste energy resources and government subsidies of energy production and consumption have caused massive malinvestment in the wrong infrastructure and wasted trillions of dollars more. Not to mention the resulting pollution caused by our socialist infrastructure. All infrastructure development, financing and ownership must be privatized.

    The US government engages in intervention and the resluting wars around the world that suck up more tax and borrowed funds that reduces the savings and investment pool even more. Not to mention actually destroying productive assets and killing millions of innocent people.

    The list of government’s destructive interventions is endless.

    All of these things reduce the relative value of labor in the US and abroad and make everyone poorer.

    All are the result of socialism.

    Ralph. You have completely misdirected the focus of your anger and wasted your life and lead people to support more of the problem instead of finding solutions.

    It’s not too late.

    You need to realize that the government is your enemy. The government is the cause of the problems you see but do not, as yet, comprehend.

  2. Carey Campbell


    Thanks for the interesting writing.

    “Be Rational” . Be real. Have the courage to use your real name, if you really believe the nonsense you write.

    It would still be nonsense. But at least you would have shown some political courage.

  3. Be Rational

    You see Ralph,

    Carey Campbell, above, has never studied economics and has no clue that you have lied to him. You are part of the problem and make things worse day by day.

    Socialism gives us: poverty, unemployment, inflation, poor education, pollution and war.

    The people need to realize that government lies that you are spreading keep them in the dark.

    The government is the problem.

    Liberty is the answer.

  4. paulie Post author


    You have been railing against corporations your whole life, and you have been wrong your whole life.

    No, he hasn’t been wrong in railing against corporate abuses. What he has been wrong about is the idea that monopoly government is the way to rein in corporations. Actually, monopoly government is the entity that creates (charters) corporations, shields them from liability without the consent of all parties involved, gives them an artificial personhood, showers them with stolen money, and tilts the playing field in their favor in ways big and small, obvious and hidden.

    It’s like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop.

    The enemy is socialism.

    Socialism =/= statism. Socialism is worker control of the means of production. The idea of state socialism is that monopoly government can act as a proxy for the workers. But that’s not what happens. State socialism is not true socialism.

    Just like corporatism – state connected enterprise – is not free enterprise.

    State socialism and state connected enterprise are the enemy. Voluntary socialism, like voluntary enterprise, is our friend.

    The enemy is the government.

    Monopoly government, yes.

  5. Be Rational

    Good one Paulie.

    Have the courage: to think on your own, learn the facts and the truth, and not worry about the name of the messenger who brings you the message.

    “The truth shall set your free… ” notwithstanding the anonymity or identification of the messenger.

  6. paulie Post author

    You have completely misdirected the focus of your anger

    Not completely, only partially.

    the nonsense you write

    It’s not nonsense. Both Be Rational and Ralph Nader get at least part of the real picture, just different parts.

  7. paulie Post author

    Real socialism would. Monopoly government taking over every last bit of commerce and civil society under the false guise of socialism would not.

    The best way to give workers a bigger say in control over the means of production is to reduce factors that drive the market for labor towards oligopsony


    Those factors are chiefly derived from government-corporate collusion.

    A real free market would put workers and consumers in a better bargaining position vis a vis employers/merchants. And, it would provide every opportunity for cooperative economic systems to coexist freely with competitive ones.

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