Saturday, October 26, 2019

#299 / Mike Rotkin And The Corporate Killers

Mike Rotkin, pictured above, served as the Mayor of the City of Santa Cruz five times. He called himself a "socialist-feminist," and he oversaw UCSC's innovative community studies program for something like twenty years. You can read a nice story about Mike, published in the City on a Hill Press, by clicking this link. As he predicted in that 2012 article, Mike has returned to UCSC after his retirement, and he is still teaching. On Thursday, October 17, 2019, Mike addressed freshman students from Crown College, speaking on "Capitalism, Consumerism, and iPhones.” Click that link for a video that documents Mike's engaging talk, which I was fortunate enough to attend in person.

Reading the papers on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, I found articles focused on both PG&E and the Boeing Corporation. I have linked a couple of them, below. As I read those articles, I was reminded of Mike's critique of capitalism.  Prominent news stories have discussed PG&E's badly managed electric power blackout program, and Boeing's failure to get federal and European Union regulators to let the company place its 737 MAX airplanes back into passenger service. 

PG&E and the Boeing Corporation have both killed hundreds of people, over the last couple of years, and they have done so by following a principle that Mike contends is at the root of the capitalist approach to economics: maximizing corporate profits, at the expense of all other values, and particularly at the expense of community values. That principle is, indeed, a real killer! Here is where I could bring in Big Pharma and the opioid crisis, but I won't. 

PG&E is in bankruptcy and Boeing seems headed in the same direction. However, we have not yet demanded that our elected officials stop backing the corporations, and we have not yet held them accountable to what might be called a commitment to the "Commonwealth." 

Our economic prosperity, in other words, is developed through our "common" efforts. All are included in the system that produces corporate and community wealth, and that means that everyone should be enjoying the benefits of progress and success. 

Mike's final point, in his talk to the Crown College freshmen, suggests that the benefits we ought to be sharing more broadly need not be (and should not be) measured by our consumer consumption. 

He's right on target, so click the link to hear what Mike has to say!

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1 comment:

  1. PG&E has filed for bankruptcy protection in order to get wildfire related cases before a bankruptcy judge instead of a jury. They are hardly bankrupt. Look at their balance sheet.


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