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Rise of the corporate state

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  1. Introduction
  2. Background: The battle between labor and capital
    1. The role played by the law enforcement agencies
    2. Taking land away from farmers
    3. The relationship shared by industry and government
  3. Politics: Who gets what?
    1. The royalties, interest and penalties owed by the giant oil companies
    2. The U.S. Government's Agency for International Development
    3. Bailing out giant companies and bankruptcy rules
  4. Mass media: For the many, by the Few
    1. Stockholders of networks
    2. The work of the journalists
    3. The failure of the press
    4. The entertainment media and political censorship
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

Our history has been marked by intense and often violent class struggles, and the government has played a partisan role in these conflicts, mostly on the side of big business.

In 1845 in New York, Baltimore, New Orleans, St. Louis and other urban areas, the richest 1% owned the biggest share of wealth, while a third of the population lived in destitution. Poverty and overcrowding brought cholera and typhoid epidemics and while the wealthy were able to flee to avoid these epidemics, the poor often died. Many of the impoverished were addicted to drugs and alcohol and young girls often labored from 6am to midnight for small wages. Children as young as 9 and 10 toiled 14-hour shifts and suffered from malnutrition and sickness and disease.

In the battle between labor and capital, civil authorities intervened almost invariably on the side of the ?owning class,? using state militia, police and federal troops to crush strikes and quell disturbances.

[...] cities have competing newspapers under separate ownership major companies distribute virtually all the magazines sold on newsstands corporate conglomerates control most of the book sales revenues, and a few bookstore chains enjoy over 70% of book sales giant networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox dominate the television industry, and a handful of corporations command most of the nation's radio audience. NBC is owned by GE, Capital Cities/ABC by Disney and CBS who agreed to bankroll the rightist McLaughlin Group. Banks such as Morgan Guaranty Trust and Citibank are among the major stockholders of networks. [...]

[...] With the start of WWII, business and government became even more entwined. Business leaders occupied top government posts, leaders were able to set the terms of war production, freezing wages and let profits soar. From the 1950s to today, successive Democrats and Republican administrations have supported the corporate business system with subsidies, tax favors and military spending programs that transformed the U.S. into a permanent war economy. In the late 1950s, the Eisenhower administration sought to undo what conservatives called the ?creeping socialism? of the New Deal by handing over to private corporations some $50 billion worth of off-shore oil reserves, government-owned synthetic rubber factories, public lands, public power and atomic installations. [...]

[...] The proportion of federal revenues coming from corporate taxes has dropped from 50% in 1945 to less than today. They shift profits to overseas branches in low-tax countries. They indulge in tax shelters so complex that government auditors sometimes cannot properly trace them. They incur merger and acquisition costs that are then written off as deductions. And they dispatch lobbyists to Washington to pressure Congress for more tax breaks. If rich individuals and corporations paid a graduated progressive tax of 70% as they did 20 years ago with no loopholes or shelters, hundreds of billions of additional dollars would be collected yearly and the national debt could be reduced. [...]

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