[LINK] Re: OFF TOPIC Re: the rich and corporate parasites

Viveka listmail@karmanaut.com
Wed, 26 Feb 2003 20:52:56 +1100

At 5:40 PM +1100 26/2/03, Deus Ex Machina wrote:
>companies compete for every dollar they earn. (excluding monopolies 
>like telstra)
>so why should government not have to compete for tax dollars?

Because the overall social effect of that competition would be (and 
is currently) negative. The term for this is "the race to the bottom".

"Tonelson explains how a competition has emerged in which countries 
with the weakest workplace safety laws, the lowest taxes, and the 
toughest unionization laws win investment from American and European 
countries. Tonelson argues that this 'race to the bottom' of labor 
standards has been the driving force behind the decline of American 
living standards for the past quarter century, and, as we have 
already begun to see, will cause even bigger problems for the 
worldwide economy as it continues."

Competition is not inherently virtuous. It's in the common interest 
for companies to compete, so we encourage it, outlaw collusion and 
ban monopolies when we can, or regulate them when we can't.
It's in the common interest for nations (which are more than just 
machines for gathering tax and delivering services) to collude in 
their dealings with corporations, so we sign international treaties.

>globalisation is doing just
>that, ineficient and overtaxing governments that dont provide the benefits
>to individuals and corporations will loose out to governments that do.

Corporations are far more mobile than individuals are; they can move 
their funds around much more easily than people can. For example, 
I've been offered a place studying my dream topic (the intersection 
of urban design and information technology) at my dream institution 
(the renewed Bauhaus Kolleg in Dessau, Germany) - but I have far less 
flexibility to take up this offer than I would like.

This means that competition between governments will be for corporate 
dollars, not the tax money of their populace to any significant 
degree. The result is a shift in power towards corporations (which we 
should remember are legal abstractions created to serve us), and away 
from individuals as represented by democratic states.

I'm not disputing the reality of the brain drain; but I really think 
that creative people will stay if there is interesting and productive 
work to do, and the way to ensure that isn't by cutting taxes for the 
rich, but by directly funding R&D.

The broader solution (to the race to the bottom) is to democratise 
globalisation - elect the representatives to the WTO, etc...


Viveka Weiley, Karmanaut.
{ http://www.karmanaut.com | http://www.planet-earth.org
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