Thoughts On Monopolies, Cheerleading and Addiction
I tried posting this linked article to Facebook, but strangely enough, I couldn’t. Facebook wouldn’t accept it.
As a nineteenth-century German philosopher once said: “Freedom of the press belongs only to the person who owns the press.”
And this commentary is not about Facebook’s algorithms; it is about Facebook’s censorship. If there were 15 Facebooks, this would be less of a problem. But there is only one gigantic social media monopoly in the Western world.
And speaking of monopolies (a dominant form of American business), you may not be aware that a private equity-driven monopoly has even swallowed up cheerleading. Here is a wonderful article (published May 27, 2020 if you have to search for it).
Monopolies or quasi-monopolies are such a part of our landscape that we no longer pay attention to them, except maybe when we wonder where our money went at the end of the month.
The worst part of monopolies is that they are unaccountable; and they spend millions each year doing their best to make sure they remain that way.
We have nothing in common with them despite the slickly polished ads that talk about how much they care about us and “How we’re all in this together”. Monopoly corporations have their own motor force, a drive that keeps them functioning; the drive for more – more money, more power. Too much is never enough. It is a mechanical or robotic – non-human − drive that has little to do with what us human beings experience as life.
This human-created robot-like creature incorporates humans into its service – much like the Borg from the old Star Trek series – but treats them as what Kant described as the ultimate evil: as means to an end.
There is a kind of willing addiction that monopoly’s adherents enter into that squeezes the humanity out of them. Powerful corporations create a miasma around them that infects their servants and eats away at normal human empathy and connection so that only the lust for money and power remains.
It starts by infecting clever, ambitious people who see the need for a service or product and decide to start a small business. Some small business owners remain staunchly human but many begin to focus envious eyes on bigger businesses and disparage themselves because they are not as rich or powerful as the addicts in big businesses. In this way, they become willing accomplices to the Borg.
Others stay captured by a sad hope that they can enjoy the fruits of the machine without becoming infected by it.
Many years ago, the human potential movement was a new trend on the horizon. Many people who studied it ended up on the faculty of business schools, since business was the place where the principles could have greatest effect. And, early on, businesses encouraged them believing that Human Potential graduates would bring their increased productivity and insight to corporate goals. Business schools became hotbeds of the human potential movement, holding numerous conferences and seminars on developing your potential.
To the dismay of their bosses, many of the people who participated in these conferences simply dropped out of the business world and left to develop their human potential. Corporate support for the business schools that used these concepts rapidly evaporated, to be replaced by funding for hard-line conservative economic views that aligned with the corporate hierarchy. Which brings us to where we are today.
The corporate mindset, along with its natural outcome – monopoly, has prevailed.
At this point, even some of the most deeply addicted to money and power notice that all is not well with the economy, the human species or the planet. They fret about it but cannot see a way out other than escaping to Mars or New Zealand.
Those of us who are less tethered to the corporate mindset have the responsibility to spread human values everywhere we can – at work, in corporate offices, in schools. As the anti-human addiction to money and power creates more and more destruction, the number of people who are willing to entertain alternatives grows, especially as we make those alternatives both beneficial and human.
Capitalism is only the latest bout in the human race’s recurring addiction to money and power. It cannot continue. The question is: “How do we build alternatives to the web of addiction?”