It isn't often that I feel the need to amplify Stallman's words; he's usually a little extreme-left for my tastes. But this is one of those times when he reminds me why I still count him as a visionary - perhaps even still ahead of his time.
In this Reuters interview, he addresses the problem of corporations that are "too big to fail" and proposes that monopoly laws be strengthened, a return to Glass-Steagall-type regulation, and a progressive tax on corporations, where the bigger the company, the more of a percentage they pay.
Wonderful, wonderful sense, it would fix just about every economic problem we have in this country. And you can hang your hopes on seeing unicorns fly before it actually happens.
See, all us geeks sat through all those science fiction epics and made it to the 2000s, and all that ended up coming true was the dystopian government, only that government is actually an oligarchy of corporations. We didn't get 1984, but we did get $1983.99.
There's a problem with this: We can't vote for corporations. We can't elect new CEOs and board of directors. We can vote all we want to for government, but when both the US and the UK can find a corporation guilty of antitrust and are together powerless to reign them in, then that government isn't a government anymore. Corporations have taken their place. When a corporation can recklessly and ruthlessly pillage the economy and then hold a nation hostage demanding that it be bailed out because it's too big to fail, what is left for us to control with our votes? When a corporation is legally considered a person and then we do not hold that entity to morals and the laws of the land, then what else have we created but a psychopath?
In Europe for many centuries, churches and governments together caused many problems when they got too rich and powerful for their own good at the same time they were getting too chummy together. We started the United States with the idea of abolishing kings and popes. But what do we do about CEOs who have riches and power beyond the dreams of even kings, melded with the government?