Monopoly or Democracy?

Ted Turner, always a Maverick, has written an article protesting the proposed FCC ownership rules in the States. His main claim, which is a common one, is that monopoly, which the changes move closer to allowing, stifle innovation. He claims that under the proposed new rules, he never would have been able to start CNN, now of course, part of the conglommerate. There’s also discussion about impact on civil society, pointing out that while companies don’t necessarily mean to harm it, their business rules do.

Which got me to thinking: The basis of Corporatist society is growth is good. What has struck me as particularly odd is that not only is growth good, but the rate of growth must also grow in order for a company to look good. If a company’s rate of growth declines (not the actual company mind you, just the rate), that’s seen as a bad sign and can negatively affect stock prices, etc (as I understand it). And then there are these rules that the largest of companies butt their heads against: anti-trust laws, to prevent monopoly. So companies can’t grow larger by law, but must to keep their shareholders happy. So of course they look for loop-holes, start lobbying for change and then, voila, they can grow again. It seems this sort of thing is inevitable under the current economic system. And I don’t have the solution for what else works, but I do feel one thing strongly: The shareholder-as-owner model does not do good for society? Why? Because it devolves responsibility. The buck can always be passed. The BoD has a responsibility to what is best ‘for the share holders’. The share holder is so divorced from the practice of the company (which shows up merely as a line item on an income statement), that they’re unlikely to watch what the company is doing. There are exceptions, of course, but these are few and far between.

Perhaps it’s time for someone to devise an alternative to the stock market?

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