Ralph Nader spoke at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Plutocracy evolves as power concentrates itself when citizens neglect to exercise their civic power daily. Nader cites examples of plutocracy in the United States: the savings and loan rescue by the FDIC, secret defense contracts, and other forms of corporate welfare. The public assets that we own but don’t control are never discussed, and we are unable to solve a myriad of problems that we shouldn’t have. Nader proposes a communications commonwealth as a powerful step toward retaking control of our democracy.
Ralph Nader has spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of ordinary people. He has run for president four times. Life magazine ranks him as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century. Founder of Public Citizen, he is a long-time advocate for consumer safety and workers’ rights. He rose to fame in the 1960s when he took on General Motors and its unsafe Corvair car. His book Unsafe at Any Speed not only created a sensation but was instrumental in the enactment of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. His efforts helped create the Environmental Protection Agency. He has exposed the misdeeds of the corporate sector as well as of the political system. In recent years he has been in the forefront of the struggles around NAFTA, the WTO, corporate welfare, and single payer health care.