A Story Told Through Quotations from Others
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." – Thomas Jefferson, 1806, 3rd US president (1801-1809).
"There is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by...corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses." – James Madison, 4th US president (1809 - 1817)
"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country...corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war." – President Abraham Lincoln (1861)
"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world. No longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men." – Woodrow Wilson (speaking of his collusion in the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank of America in 1913)
“American capitalism is predatory, and American politics are corrupt.”— Upton Sinclair, famous American writer in a letter to John Reed, October 22, 1918.
“We can have a democratic society or we can have the concentration of great wealth in the hands of the few. We cannot have both.” — Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice from 1916-1939.
"A fool and his money are soon elected." — Will Rogers.
“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group or any controlling private power.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt, on the threat to democracy by corporate power, 1938.
"American private enterprise is confronted with this choice; it may strike out and save its position all over the world, or sit by and witness its own funeral.... We must set the pace and assume the responsibility of the majority stockholder in this corporation known as the world.... This is a permanent obligation.... Our foreign policy will be more concerned with the safety and stability of our foreign investments than ever before. " – Leo D. Welch, treasurer and later chairperson of Standard Oil of New Jersey , 1946.
“In our society, corporations and the wealthy enjoy a power every bit as immense as that assumed to have been enjoyed by the lords and royalty of feudal times.” — Robert W. McChesney, author of “Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy.”
"Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won’t be. Any individual who is able to raise $25 million to be considered presidential is not going to be much use to the people at large. He will represent oil, or aerospace, or banking, or whatever moneyed entities are paying for him. Certainly he will never represent the people of the country, and they know it. Hence the sense of despair throughout the land as incomes fall, businesses fail and there is no redress.” — Gore Vidal, “The Decline and Fall of the American Empire,” 1992.
"Corporations have taken over the government and turned it against its own people." – Ralph Nader.
“If a baseball player slides into home plate and, right before the umpire rules if he is safe or out, the player says to the umpire — ‘Here is $1,000.’ What would we call that? We would call that a bribe.
If a lawyer was arguing a case before a judge and said, ‘Your honor before you decide on the guilt or innocence of my client, here is $1,000.’ What would we call that? We would call that a bribe.
But if an industry lobbyist walks into the office of a key legislator and hands her or him a check for $1,000, we call that a campaign contribution. We should call it a bribe.” — Janice Fine, in “Dollars and Sense” magazine.
“The corporations of America today effectively oversee the Congress, and the regulatory agencies and indeed the presidency itself.”— E. L. Doctorow.
“Americans cannot teach democracy to the world until they restore their own.” — William Greider, journalist and author, 1993.
“At a time when more and more Americans are giving up on the political process, and when the wealthy and multinational corporations have unprecedented wealth and power, it is imperative that we launch a grassroots revolution to enable ordinary Americans to regain control of their country.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders.
This is the fundamental debate in our society: Are we a nation of citizens or a nation of consumers? Are we a democracy run by citizens, or are we a corporatocracy that holds consumers locked in dependency by virtue of their consumption?” — Thom Hartmann.
“The fact of the matter is that today, stuff-selling mega-corporations have a huge influence on our daily lives. And because of the competitive nature of our global economy, these corporations are generally only concerned with one thing.. the bottom line. That is, maximizing profit, regardless of the social or environmental costs." - David Suzuki, 2009.
“ ... corporations finally claimed the full rights enjoyed by individual citizens while being exempted from many of the responsibilities and liabilities of citizenship. Furthermore, in being guaranteed the same right to free speech as individual citizens, they achieved, in the words of Paul Hawken, 'precisely what the Bill of Rights was intended to prevent: domination of public thought and discourse.' The subsequent claim by corporations that they have the same right as any individual to influence the government in their own interest pits the individual citizen against the vast financial and communications resources of the corporation and mocks the constitutional intent that all citizens have an equal voice in the political debates surrounding important issues.” – David C. Korten, “When Corporations Rule the World.”
T”he twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” — Alex Carey, “Taking the Risk Out of Democracy.”
|The Great Economic Divide||How the Pursuit of Profits Kills Innovation and the Economy||An Open Letter to the One Percenters|