Introduction to PLAN B
My friend and fellow writer, Ron Greenstein proposed that what American citizens, consumers, business owners and workers need is a return to values based business practices. Businesses today operate solely on the profit-first motive. Benefits to society, the workers and even the consumer have taken such a faraway back seat to profits such that We the People are in fact not even on the bus anymore, as outsourcing and off-shoring has and is destroying our economic futures.
Co-op Entrepreneur Terry Baird, Ron and I have been meeting to see if we might germinate a movement – millions of people in America, then around the world – supporting a NEW WAY for businesses to operate so that they act more responsibly and we can return fairness to the business ownership-employee-consumer relationships: PLAN B
THE EVOLUTION OF THE CORPORATION
In the beginning…
In this country’s beginning, incorporation gave entrepreneurs the incredible benefits of limited liability in their business affairs so that they could endure risk of capital without also worrying about being wiped out financially should the business fail. In return, society expected – actually required – that these corporate entities must serve some public GOOD – building roads, waterways, utilities and other beneficial constructs which required community cooperation, investment and entailed risk of capital. These early corporate entities were charted by the state that they operated within for a LIMITED lifetime (often less than 20 or 30 years) and a STATED PURPOSE, like “build a dam.” At the end of the corporate lifespan – or the project at hand, the assets were liquidated.
Then came PLAN A…
Supreme and lower court rulings since the beginning have fundamentally changed the human-corporate relationship, and not in the favor of the community, but exclusively to the benefit of business owners.
Ever wonder why so many corporations have headquarters in Delaware, and now the Caribbean? In a race to the bottom, these places have sold their souls financially speaking to entice corporation to incorporate there – often with no physical presence – by offering the least (or no) regulations which normally would protect workers, consumers and investors from corporate malfeasance.
Ever wonder what happened to laws against USURY? Thank Delaware and Congressional graft for the disappearance of laws which USE TO PROTECT borrowers from immoral and unconscionable credit/interest terms. Instead of a reasonable caps on the top marginal interest rates Californians used to enjoy (around 18%) there are now skies-the-limit, loan-shark rates of 300% (APR) – or higher – commonly occurring with so-called pay-day loans, which keep borrowers in perpetual debt.
Next came the unlimited lifetime change. Corporations today are IMMORTAL, unlike you and me. When a corporation wrongfully causes the deaths of scores of people they get slapped with a monetary (often miniscule) monetary fine – and that’s it. The guilty managers don’t even receive so much as a slap on the wrist. And the corporation goes on, the only corporate “death penalty” being utter bankruptcy, and even THAT is gamed by the moneyed elites. On the other hand if YOU or I.were to be responsible for killing 30 people, we’d likely get the death penalty or a LONG prison sentence. Corporations in this instance have MORE RIGHTS than people do.
It gets worse. Corporations MUST operate to ensure that they make a profit for stockholder ABOVE ALL ELSE. There is no longer a requirement that the corporation exist to provide a benefit to the community, only cash to the stockholders. The interests of the community, the employees, the consumer and the country are all secondary if they are even considered at all. Many businesses conduct their affairs in ways in which the founding fathers would have considered TREASONOUS, and they do so LEGALLY.
We deserve better. We consumers deserve CHOICE. We need to know if the purchases we make are supporting RESPONSIBLE BUSINESSES or the real TAKERS in this economy. That’s why Ron, Terry and I are promoting PLAN B.
PLAN B is simply consumers coming together physically or electronically to DEMAND RESPONSIBLE CHOICES from RESPONSIBLE BUSINESSES, so that we can feel confident our daily choices are good for our communities, good for our neighbors, good for ourselves, good for our families and good for the country.
Plan B supporters renounce PLANNED obsolescence. With the rapid rate of change in technology and research, unplanned obsolescence is enough to deal with without our meager paychecks being further decimated by companies intentionally making today’s purchases worthless next year due to needless changes that only serve to boost their bottom lines, yet create great economic waste for the consumer and overflowing landfills.
Plan B supporters recognize the law of supply and demand, but we renounce price-gouging and opportunists profiting on the misery and tragedies of others. PLAN A companies are always motivated to charge WHAT THE MARKET WILL BEAR. But such behavior is anathema to the well-being of society. Today, in many economic sectors, the suppliers control the market to such a strangling degree that the law of supply and demand loses its meaning. Gasoline demand is notoriously inelastic. We need to get to work, to the store and the doctor’s offices and we often have little choice but to drive. Health care is another sector where there never truly WAS a willing buyer so the willing sellers could charge whatever their consciences allow. Plan B supporters want to take control of the purchasing contract away from the supplier and return it to the consumer.
Demand – not supply – creates wealth. That’s why after 40 years of failed supply-side economics, average people are beginning to realize they have been sold a lie. The voodoo Reaganomics or “Trickle-Down” fable doesn’t work for the bottom 99%. It leaves the rich wealthier, the poor poorer and a middle class shrinking like the Cheshire Cat, only no one is grinning.
Plan B supporters are us: People coming together with the mutual concern that International Big Business is making DECISIONS every day without our input, without our individual interests being considered, without our community’s interests being considered and without our country’s interests being considered
Plan B supporters are concerned about the growth of oligopolies, monopolies and the shredding of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Plan B supporters are concerned about big-money, transnational and foreign corporations influencing and controlling our elections and legislation. Plan B supporters are aghast at the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United. (And personally, the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act as well.).
Plan B supporters are concerned that The PROFIT MOTIVE has sublimated the higher concerns, values and interests of our country’s people and their communities, the environment, the economy and the safety and well-being of our children and families.
Plan B supporters are confident that through consumer action and marketing choices we can affect real and beneficial CHANGE in how business is conducted in America and beyond.
Plan B supporters are also promoting recycling, re-purposing and reuse, in addition to fighting planned obsolescence. Plan B supporters are supporting responsible businesses who are cognizant of and improve – not degrade – our environment.
Plan B supporters are tasked with the responsibility for identifying and explaining these values, issues and concepts – to each other and to the business community – and for identifying such businesses and products which embrace these achievable ideals.
Plan B supporters are interested in returning fairness to the employer-employee relationship such that all of the productivity gains and profits don’t always automatically go only to the top, but a fair measure is retained by those who actually worked to produce them. Plan B supporters are also concerned with the inherent societal problems and issues associated with tremendous income inequality – as we so often see them in today’s America.
Plan B supporters are calling out businesses that Internalize profits while they externalize costs and damage to their communities and country or to the detriment of our society. Plan B supporters try to identify and expose businesses that only want to be free to capture as much profit as possible without being responsible for any damages caused to the commons (such as with pollution), or costs pushed onto society or the buyer. These irresponsible business entities hate regulations that make the SELLER capture their costs so that the costs are reflected in the market price and buyers can then make a rational market based decision. These irresponsible business entities hate anything takes away their deception advantages and makes for fair competition with ethical sellers based on operational excellence instead of who is the bigger crook.*
Conversely PLAN B supporters seek out, publicize and patronize PLAN B conscious companies which don’t take unfair, immoral and unconscionable advantage of the legal loopholes in the so-called “Free Market”, or otherwise exploit their competitors, their employees, their community, their country or their consumers.
Supporting a PLAN B business will help America become a a healthier and more fair place to live, with a growing economy and a cleaner environment. Thank you for support PLAN B.
~ Ed Chainey
The majority of these concepts and ideas were conceived and discussed by Ron Greenstein, Terry Baird and Ed Chainey on several occasions and codified in our conversation on Thursday July 18, 2013. We welcome YOUR input and participation in conceptualizing and expanding this conversation in order to make PLAN B a widespread reality.
(*Source for “Internalize profits, externalize costs and damage” was DemocraticUnderground.com)