The Montesi Maneuver: a way to think about corporations, markets, participatory economics, and the environment.

Author:Szczepanczyk, Mitchell
Position:Economics of Producing Less

Regarding the future of humanity and of our shared natural environment, there are few threats greater than present-day corporations. One can readily brainstorm many examples of corporations and their horrible environmental actions, like Exxon-Mobil and the role it plays in exacerbating global warming, General Electric and their advocacy of the nuclear industry (including nuclear weapons), and Monsanto and the role it plays in the emergence and horrid consequences of genetically modified organisms.

Proposals for action to oppose this state of near-total corporate dominance tend to be tame compared to the might wielded by these corporate empires. But before successful opposition can happen, successful acts of imagination must happen first, which the political left has been lacking for the most part. In this article, I spell out some new developments in the realm of what might be called "political imagination" and how that can mount a new initiative to hopefully oppose--indeed wipe out--corporate power.

I propose to wipe out corporate power by wiping out the markets in which corporations thrive, using an economic model called "participatory economics" as both the ideological lynchpin to oppose markets and corporations and as a more environmentally sound economy to replace markets and corporations.

A word about corporate power

To oppose corporate power, we must better elucidate the corporate form and its wider operational context. A corporation is a legally defined economic entity with the goal of ever-increasing levels of short-term profit for its shareholders at the expense of everything else--including our shared natural environment. To be sure, not all entities called "corporations" follow or followed this definition, but our focus is those corporations which are serious environmental threats, and which do follow this mandate.

Activists and whole campaigns and movements have been increasingly focusing their energy and efforts against corporations. Yet why, despite this devotion of energy, have these efforts faced limits to their success and a constant threat of rollback? There are a number of reasons, to be sure, but let me posit one crucial and little-considered reason: that the wider economic context in which corporations survive and thrive itself remains in place. That context is the market.

The market connection to corporate power

A market is an institution of buyers and sellers where buyers and sellers are pitted against one another in...

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