Corporatism’s Threat to Democracy
Milton Friedman is the godfather of modern conservative economics. A Nobel-prize winner, his ideas informed what is called the Chicago School. He laid the groundwork for Reagan-era neoliberalism with his landmark essay, “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits.” That’s pretty straightforward. Make as much money as you can. Society? It can take care of itself. In the decades since Friedman’s influential essay, concentrated monopoly corporate power has evolved into corporatism. What is it? Ralph Nader describes it as “the commercialization of just about everything at the expense of our civilization’s civic, spiritual, health, and safety values. It is crushing our democracy and corrupting our elections.”
Interviewed by David Barsamian
Ralph Nader, a legendary figure, has spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of ordinary people. Life magazine ranked him as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century. The Atlantic named him one of the hundred most influential figures in U.S. history. 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 1965 book Unsafe At Any Speed not only created a sensation but also 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 led the struggles around NAFTA, the WTO, corporate welfare, and single-payer health care. He is the author of numerous books including Return to Sender, Unstoppable, To the Ramparts and Breaking Through Power. He is co-author of Fake President and Wrecking America.