Big business and corporate giants

By Kevin Avram
web posted November 13, 2000

Political candidates who try to get ahead by bashing big business and people who moan about an impending doom that will supposedly be brought about by America's corporate giants remind me of Shauna. She's a girl who went to school with our daughter.

After turning 16 and starting to drive, Shauna discovered that she had impaired vision. At night, she can't judge distance. In the daytime, she gets around fine, but whenever she's caught out after dark she has to pull her car over to the side of the road and walk, or find someone else to drive. On smaller highways it's particularly frightening because she thinks every oncoming vehicle is about to crash into her.

That's sort of how the anti-big business crowd sees the world. They fail to appreciate or even understand the benefits of big business and due to their impaired vision lack the ability to accurately assess whether it actually is a threat. So like Shauna on that two-lane highway, they falsely conclude that they're about to be in a head on collision with an 18-wheel semi-trailer that's got "Big Business" written on the side.

Their fears are groundless. Big business has been a blessing to America. In centuries gone by only the wealthiest and most elite of society could afford to hire the craftsman necessary to make the kind of consumer goods and gadgets that we all take for granted. Thanks to big business and mass production, the average American has a standard of living that's better than history's most famous kings.

Ranchers and farmers have access to pickup trucks, tractors, combines, animal medicines, weed control, a workshop full of low cost power tools and hundreds of other desirable items because of big business. Corporate giants like Microsoft and Intel provide the computer technology on which tens of millions of Americans rely every day. Gas and oil pipelines that transport fuel to heat homes and petroleum to run cars, trucks, and turbines were built by big business -- so were the refineries that processed the crude oil.

Aircraft giant Boeing provides millions of people with safe and inexpensive air travel and a retail leviathan like Wal-Mart brings an abundant supply of high quality consumer goods to the masses at very low prices. What's more is that companies like Wal-Mart employ thousands of people to do it -- many of them unskilled.

Big business is one of the reasons food processing is safer than at any time in the history of the world. It provides us with medical technology, pharmaceuticals, telephone systems, mining equipment to dig ore from the earth, factories that churn out furniture, electrical appliances, refrigerators, tires, washing machines, and thousands of other items. Big business brings wealth into being that never existed before and passes it around to employees, shareholders, suppliers, and even the government.

The reason the US government can have a multi-trillion dollar budget over a period of two or three years is because wealth has been and is being created in America on an unprecedented scale -- much of it by big business. Corporate monopolies and a lack of competition should be shunned. But that one caveat aside, the notion that big business is ruining our lives or is something to be feared, is absurd.

The real threat to liberty is not big business but big government. There isn't a single American citizen who is compelled against their will to give money to Ford, ConAgra, or Sony. And there isn't a big business in America that will send armed men to your home to force you to hand over thousands of dollars for things that you don't want to buy. The US Government does it all the time.

Try telling the IRS that you won't pay taxes anymore because you don't like buying thousand dollar hammers or paying for Washington's pork barrel programs and see what happens. Then sit down and decide who is the biggest threat to your freedom -- big business, or big government.

(c) Copyright 2000 by The Niobrara Institute, Bellevue University Campus, PO Box 540787, Omaha NE, 68154. The Niobrara Institute is a member of the State Policy Network -- an affiliation of state-based think tanks and policy organizations that are committed to the principles of constitutional government, market-oriented solutions, and values that are consistent with the writings of America's Founding Fathers.

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