“We have to make things easier for companies that want to do the right thing”

British Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg wants to bribe companies to save (money on) energy. I’m picking on this particular example, but it is symptomatic of a situation we’ve gotten in to in the United States as well.

When it comes to doing “the right thing,” we have to offer “incentives”–often at severe cost to local government–to corporations to do it. They have no duty or responsibility to do it otherwise. So, as shown in The High Cost of a Low Price, towns wind up competing even for destructive businesses in the hope that they’ll at least collect the sales tax revenue.

And workers compete against each other internationally to get the jobs that should be guaranteed them under article 23 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Meanwhile, nobody asks why corporations aren’t subject to three strikes laws, or their executives aren’t held for manslaughter when they market dangerous products that kill. No one asks why they have no responsibility to the communities they leave behind in the “race to the bottom” in regulation and wages. And nobody asks why police–even the military–will be called out against striking workers, but never against a company that locks them out.

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