Why should so many Americans resent and distrust the very institutions that make possible our productivity, pleasure and opportunities? Given the fact that major corporations provide virtually every one of the commodities and comforts we consume, it makes no sense to feel hostile and contemptuous of the corporate organization of the contemporary economy.
As I write these words – and as you read them –we all rely on the products of major companies with increasingly far flung and international operations. Leave aside for a moment the obvious example of the complex combination of brilliantly designed computer hardware and software that allows me to transfer my thoughts to a word processor and broadcast them to the world. I’m also relying on a light fixture above my desk and the bulb to illuminate it and the electricity to drive it, on the books stacked on the filing cabinet behind me, printed and distributed and transported across the country, on the paper and the pens that allowed the scribbled notes and, very significantly, on the ceramic mug filled with steaming coffee based on beans brought from far corners of the globe, then roasted and packaged and finally brewed in the wonderfully efficient coffee maker beneath our kitchen sink. Though “corporation” has become a dirty word to many Americans, successful corporations made possible each of these wonders and blessings and amplifications of our personal power. Without those engines of economic energy, we’d retreat to darkness and frustration and the dead ends of poverty.