The economy and the corporation seem interrelated. And that interrelationship is so complex that I have to draw the line as to the depth of complexity that I'm willing to consider at any given moment. Most everything has both constructive and destructive aspects, too. So, I now have an urge to attempt to put some of that together in a useful way, in this post.
The economy is about productivity, and each human being has an amazing capacity to be productive. Enabling that maximum productivity in a way that integrates it into the nation's wellbeing, is what needs some considered action nowadays.
Large corporations can have the resources to bring together a diverse set of resources and people to create a customer-needed product. This is the established way to bring about such items as automobiles and complex electronic equipment like computers and audio players. Hypothetically, such corporate activity can provide all that people desire and do it with maximum efficiency.
But there are some parts of this scenario that have not worked. And in fact have actually brought the economy to the current severely disrupted state that it is in. What are those problems and can they be fixed, I hope to explore here.
For one thing, the corporation is a business, with the primary goal of making a profit, the most profit than can be gotten out of what they do, and the investors tend to only focus on that aspect, the cash that results for them, regardless of what got done or did not get done so as to produce that easy spending money for the investors. There is no mention of providing for the wellbeing of the national economy in this viewpoint. No mention of bringing in the productivity potential for all the people of the nation, enabling them to be better customers too. So it is no wonder, that a political system heavily influenced by corporate lobbyists, has not provided for the wellbeing of the productive nation. We are expecting corporations to do something they are not designed to do, nor consider it their concern.
In contrast to some of my related previous posts in this subject area, I now explore the possibility of altering the corporate charter to take in the larger responsibility. And even explore - once again after many years - the radical idea of making the entire country a giant corporation, with all the population as being the stockholders.
(This is not going to set well with the relatively few folks who have played the economy as a game for accumulating enormous personal wealth, sucking it out of the nation, away from the general population. Have they given back equivalent improvement to the nation, in comparison to the wealth they have extracted, hoarded? Sure, this subject is likely to get me unpleasant responses. The integrated concepts I have created over the years, such as my Mooncable, Centristation, and KESTS to GEO applications integrated concepts, have found me the squashed victim of big-oil-coal-nuclear-rocketry, since those concepts would have in many cases relegated their wealthy domains involving energy and material resources, into secondary business areas in many cases; those folks are masters of controlling situations, and my potential disruption to their posh situation was easily done to keep me in the poverty and ignored level, discredited by that very state of life, with little options but to rant in this blog. But I have learned in my 74 years, the hard way, that to not solve the correct problem is to just spin one's wheels, much waste with no fixing of problems or enabling opportunities.)
Again, all the population as the stockholders. Not just the wealthy few. It is the overall population that is the vast diversity of customers to keep the wealth in circulation. How many extravagent yachts, fancy cars, comfy beds can one wealthy person occupy at any given moment? Lots more people if the whole nation is included. Lots more customers.
However, this conjectured super-corporation is likely to have many if not all of the harmful qualities as do many conventional present-day corporations. What would be the factors to consider so as to keep the good qualities and reject the harmful ones?
And in fact, similar factors might be able to fix the present problem with excessive corporate control of the nation's potentials, without a corresponding responsibility and accountability to the nation of customers.
So, on to exploring what those possibilities might be.
1. First, my biggest beef in recent times. Provide for corporate accountability to enable the creative idea capacity of all their employees to contribute to the nation's creativity pool, except where specific parts of that creativity is specifically employed to do the specific job in the corporation. That means an actual end to the "employment agreement" technique to block employee creativity from becoming wild cards and loose cannons on deck in the view of management. Blocking potential ideas for technologies that might become rival to some corporate business, would become clearly known as totally out of the best interests of the nation and therefor of the nation's business potentials itself. Let management work a tiny bit harder, to work around this, just getting their production done and let that be their only task, leaving out the suppression of new factors from yankee ingenuity factors of their subordinates, which the required "employment agreement" has been doing to the detriment of the nation for many decades already. Just require that the corporate employer totally keep their hands off the employee's non-job-involved creative technological ideas. Any corporate exploration of utilization of an employee's creative technological ideas, be handled in separate negotiations; the employee might well want to involve his employer in the creation of his/her foreseen inventions and products, especially if he/she gets to play a part in their creation and development. I know I was that way throughout my career. But if the employer automatically "owns" all those employee's creative ideas for new stuff, and no responsibility for those ideas actualizations into products for the nation of customers, it is far too easy to ignore them and let the ideas die right there, as has been going on for many decades. An incredible number of useful new products have been lost to the nation already as a result. And the incentive to be technologically creative has been almost wiped out of the nation, as a result. We are stuck with manager's fantasies of what new products might be creatable - and that generally is not an area of educated expertise of managerial types, unfortunately; theirs is generally a different concern - although they too surely can also come up with good technological ideas too - but not exclusively from all the other employees of the company. This step seems absolutely necessary to begin to get the creative problem-solving capacity of this nation back online. It will take a long time to regain the average employee's trust in the employer, and to once again spend some dream time developing potentially new products and solutions to problems, but it needs to get started so as to get that potential powerhouse of the nation running again.
2. Integration of the corporation's focus into the nation's actual needs. At the present time I am unaware of any comparable function being done, so this has to be a bit more conjectural. It involves the concept of "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts;" so this would be that which guides that "whole's" definition of potentials. We have our Constitution, set of laws, etc, which are often just rules of the playing game for businesses. Maybe it is all just about playing the game to most people; but I prefer focusing more the aims of a more wholesome America. Political parties wold like to take over this domain, I imagine, and effectively do so, in an indirect way. But I am attempting to describe a focus on the wellbeing of all of America including being part of the world and of civilization. From that model then examining the sum output of all America's corporations and businesses as their produced goods an services, and determine where the missing pieces are. From that data output, perhaps businesses can and will fill in the missing parts; or, where not profitable to do so, but necessary for the wellbeing of the country of people, then governemtnt will need to provide the resources to make it happen.
3. Far greater wisdom in the use of advertising and marketing tools to influence what the customer desires. If advertising can be used to get the customer to desire an inferior product that makes the company more profit, it has been free to do so. Thus the nation was stuck with ever more massive daily transportation vehicles consuming greater amount of fuel.
4. And speaking of fuel, consider the incredible economic imbalance of sending over a hundred billion dollars a year to distant counties for fuel oil; those countries now have the money to buy durable goods, whereas we are just left with the smoke remaining after having burned that oil, much of it with our heavy accelerator pedal foot. Wisdom just totally missing. The energy corporations have been making big business money making that happen; thus they do it, with profit bottom line being their only accountability requirement. If the accountability requirement is instead also linked directly to the overall economy, there likely would be some real heavy action on getting the nation energized by other means. And the subterranean hydrocarbons ultimately will be far more valuable for material uses in the future, which also tends to keep the carbon "sequestered," but as plastics instead of as sequestered in the form of oil and coal. Keeping the carbon out of the air, leaving it in solid form like it has been for millions of years, and enabling good quality air for the planet. And many studies show that would be healthy for the world environment too, including weather patterns and seal levels, despite that somehow having become a political issue instead of a scientific one. This is about materials, pollution and energy.
5. Energy. Energy and knowledge have become the mainstays of our civilization. We need energy, low cost energy available in sufficient quantities, at the places it is needed to power our civilization. Is the world short of energy? I recall the local hydroelectric-based power company pointing out that if all the energy of the sun that falls on the area of the city in one day were to be captured, that it would power the whole city for a whole year. There is a lot of potential there! Freeing up the creative potential of the nation per item #1 above, will enable vastly more approaches to utilizing the energy wealth that our Sun shines down upon us. This includes, of course, wind and hydropower, direct heating and storage, as well as solar-electric techniques. With more easily generated new ideas and approaches, businesses can then have more approaches for providing and more efficiently utilizing various forms of energy, to their increase in profitability as well as benefit to the nation and world.
6. Knowledge. Here again, the fixing of the issue explored in #1 above, will enable rapid new additions to the knowledge base, as people are thusly freed to explore their own technologically creative ideas. And we are well aware of the advantage of having a better knowledge base accessible to all people. The internet's supplying of knowledge in all forms, so very efficiently distributes knowledge, at least at this point. Increasing high speed internet access at reasonable cost to as many people as possible, along with creating new kinds of peripheral equipment - such as teleoperated tooling for manufacturing - puts that knowledge into greater potential action. Manufacturing businesses, corporations, could then become increasingly conducted from more casual comfortable and stimulating environs, including employee's residences, reducing the energy costs of physical commute. With widely available instant access to knowledge, education could then shift focus onto techniques for utilizing knowledge. Integrity of that knowledge base needs freedom of speech principles, as well as credibility levels attached, although applicability valuation might be more useful, since a particular bit of knowledge might well be rival or counterproductive to one person or corporation, but the same bit of knowledge capable of being highly applicable and useful to another person or corporation. For example, the wikipedia has become heavily biased in some fields, clearly catering to established businesses, and thus denigrating potential different approaches to fulfilling people's needs; this has been particularly evident in the health subjects. Theoretically wikipedia can be modified to correct such imbalances, but in practice there are folks who are dedicated to maintaining their limited viewpoint on those subjects, hammering down alternate knowledge inputs; these folks no doubt catering to the wealthy businesses that depend on the public not having adequate knowledge of alternate options to their healthy techniques. So the call here is to - somehow - provide knowledge including freedom for all viewpoints, with credibility valuations access including all anectdotal experiences descriptions - because through these we have a vastly broader observational base - that is also unfettered by corporate territorial claims to use of knowledge. Intellectual property is to be used for improving and making new possible products; patents not be gotten merely to block rival businesses from being able to produce better products and are not utilized adequately by the holder of the patents. A corporation currently can utilize a bit of its vast resources to monitor potential rival businesses that are struggling to get going; then use "industrial espionage" common corporate techniques to find out the details of those rival business's technological bases; then use the big corporation's resources to focus on a key component of that rival company's ideas and quickly R&D it and apply for a patent on the rapidly developed device, without which the rival company cannot create their product. Thus the big corporation has scuttled a potential business that might have cut into its profits in the future, but in doing so has deprived the nation's customer base of a good product.