They don’t need us anymore

Harold Meyerson, an American journalist and opinion columnist, was named one of “the most influential commentators in the nation” by the Atlantic Monthly in 2009.

Editor-at-large of The American Prospect, he wrote Business is Booming in which he argues that leading American corporations have found a way to thrive even if the American economy doesn’t recover. Meyerson warns, “This is very, very bad news.”

When he was CEO of General Electric, in 1998, Jack Welch pithily summarized his vision for corporate America: “Ideally, you’d have every plant you own on a barge to move with currencies and changes in the economy.”

Since then, corporations have discovered that they don’t need barges in order to unmoor themselves from the American economy. As corporate profits skyrocket, even as the economy remains stalled in a deep recession, Americans confront a grim new reality: Our corporations don’t need us anymore. Half their revenues come from abroad. Their products, increasingly, come from abroad as well…

Caution, you may not want to read Meyerson’s article if using an iPad.

Categories: Economics, International

12 replies »

  1. The greed of the North American Empire is imploding around us all.

    It is hard to believe that common men and women can be so disconnected from reality that they can sell out the country and the people that gave them the grace in the first place.

    Truly these people must be living in a space of complete insanity or are so lacking in conscience that they have no wish to comprehend their actions.

    And Canada follows along in the footprints of these lunatics.

    How much is enough?


  2. Thought this would be of interest to readers who still believe the CBC is the “public's” broadcaster. In a laughable attempt to be “fair and balanced” the CBC demands that their guests be silenced if they don't have something good to say about Campbell.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Rafe Mair
    To: Rafe Mair
    Sent: Monday, January 31, 2011 9:11 AM


    I feel that I owe an explanation for not appearing as usual, this morning, on CBC's political panel with Moe Sihota and Erin Chutter. After speaking with a senior producer this morning I believe – and devoutly hope – that our relationship remains as always.

    Early Saturday morning (we'd come home from London late the previous night) I saw an email from a CBC producer saying that in light of a testimonial dinner coming up for Premier Campbell, on Monday’s program that we each put forward two good things and two bad things about Campbell's leadership.

    I knew that I could not do so without being a hypocrite. In coming to that decision I went back over his record to the beginning when he gave a huge tax cut to the well off.

    To me the question posed was like asking an American commentator to name the two best and worst things about George W. Bush. That question, as here, implies that there is an equivalency, that it’ sort of six of one, a half dozen of another sort of thing.

    I spent an hour reviewing the record in these areas:

    The economy, social services, health (including mental health), business and labour communities, democracy in the legislature, the environment, transit, credibility and general leadership.

    I could not, in all conscience, find anything I could say positive about Gordon Campbell.

    I conscientiously think that Mr Campbell has been premier for the well-to-do to the exclusion of others and is certainly the worst in my long memory..

    I considered the business community particularly. As long as a Premier is not NDP they will sing his praises. But what I see as Mr Campbell's “accomplishment” has been to give our power resources to large companies, ruining the environment in a big way with huge net loss to British Columbians.

    I could go on but I only want listeners to know that my decision was based upon considerable research and self examination and I came to this conclusion, rightly or wrongly – If I were “force myself” to identify two areas where the premier was a “plus” I would be a hypocrite.

    I imply no criticism of the CBC with whom I've has a long cordial relationship both in Radio and TV. It is their show and they have the absolute right to pose the questions.

    At the last moment before the show this morning I said I would appear as long as I could say “I won't answer the question (for the reasons above) but would give my assessment of Campbell. That wasn't satisfactory. And I can understand that.

    The bottom line is that I cannot praise Campbell in any area and still tell the truth.

    I hope I'll be with you all next Monday.


    _ _ _ _ _


  3. My admiration for Rafe Mair has just grown immensely,my admiration for the CBC has just fallen by an equal amount.
    In light of all before us and what Mr. Campbell has done to this province, it must have been an insult to Mr.Mair to have been asked this.
    Let them have their party as one last insult to us. I hope Mr. Mair's decision and bravery to stick to it sheds some new meaning to the whole sordid affair.I personally am angered that once again we are feeding these fools!
    Don F.


  4. Rafe is a very Honourable man. We in BC are fortunate to have such a person as Mr Mair, who has the credentials to hold miscreants' feet to the fire.


  5. WTF!

    What the hell is going on at the CBC? The whole point of the panel is to get divergent views on politics in BC – since when does a CBC producer get to 'fiddle' with that by telling guests what they can and can't say? Krikey – may as well just ask PAB to write the copy for the show…
    Again – and excuse my rudeness, but this is just too much – W-T-F!

    Warren White
    Gordon Head


  6. I published an opinion regarding the CBC that got mentioned elsewhere and stimulated a small surge of anti-CBC rhetoric. It tracked back to people who spend their time drinking bathwater in the right wing blogosphere.

    I was surprised at how much those people viewed the CBC as an enemy of conservatives (a mis-used term, usually). That view is held because, by comparison, CBC does not serve the agenda of Canada's plutocrats as does private media.

    However, the negative attitude toward the Mother Corp is held by the Harper government and, by accelerating what the Liberals had begun, the CBC is being remade. It is going on in stealth mode because so many citizens enjoy and rely on the CBC, particularly for its TV documentaries and its radio service. The Bush administration similarly attacked public broadcasters because they were viewed as too progressive in viewpoints.

    I saw the CBC operate up close throughout much of my career and it had too little commitment to efficiency and was careless with public funds. However, I believe in the objectives of public broadcasting as long as it is conducted with true economic efficiency.

    CBC critics do not believe in public broadcasting. The want the airwaves to be controlled by people who matter. Families like Shaw, Rogers, Thomson and Péladeau.


  7. Norm, I was a huge supporter of CBC until several years ago. I still enjoy some of their programming but I think they have deteriorated greatly as a news service, especially in BC. However, I am still a huge supporter of public broadcasting. I have donated funds, written letters to politicians and regulatory bodies, and consider CBC as an institution to be a lifeline for Canadians.

    And, I agree with you that Harper is dismantling the CBC from the inside out, much like one preying insect sucks the life out of a victim, leaving an empty shell that looks alive but is unable to function and eventually dies a slow, painful death. Hiring someone right out of the United States to head up the CBC’s news division a couple years ago was one example.

    However, I think the CBC in British Columbia is suffering from a different problem, a self-inflicted disease, that of being too closely aligned with the Campbell Liberals. This manifests itself through station managers and news directors who determine what news will be broadcast and how it will be presented.

    So, I'd caution people about viewing CBC as either good or bad, and look at the shades of gray. I think there are darker shades of gray here in BC than in other provinces I've lived. Public broadcasting is good; how it manifests itself is not necessarily, by default, good. Pravda was a public broadcaster too.

    So while some CBC critics may not believe in public broadcasting that doesn’t mean all CBC critics do not believe in public broadcasting.

    More importantly, your stance does not allow for appropriate criticism of specific issues, as in the Rafe Mair incident. If no one is permitted to criticize the CBC at all for anything without being painted as someone against public broadcasting, well that just eliminates one of the checks and balances that ensures a public broadcaster continues to provide a good service and fulfill its mandate.

    Surely, we can be allowed to express our opinion when we feel something is amiss, or are we supposed to just mutely applaud everything the CBC does?

    I suspect perhaps you may have not meant your comments as I’ve taken them, and if I’ve misunderstood, I apologize. I just needed to say my piece about something I hold very dear, public broadcasting, and the right to voice my concerns when I see something that I believe isn’t right.


  8. I appreciate your comments. I certainly am happy to see criticism of CBC, of course. That is fair and public dialog for or against is worthwhile. I dislike the silent policy shifts from boardrooms in Ottawa imposed by fiat and through line management selection. The Harper Gov't has not encouraged open discussion about changes but they are happening, as you point out.

    My own difficulty with CBC is that when it is not reporting on Toronto or Ottawa, it is telling us about Quebec. But, I love radio programs like Ideas, Age of Persuasion, Tapestry and others. On TV, I don't think CBC should focus on imported commercial dreck so much but its national crew can do good public affairs work, like Fifth Estate and Marketplace but usually time is better spent on Internet sources, scanning newspapers, blogs etc.


  9. Ha-ha. I can’t believe Rafe dropped the ball when presented with such a wonderful opportunity to really show what Campbell is. Take the two most damning negatives and pair it with “hasn’t murdered anyone on television” and “hasn’t been charged with DUI since the Hawaiian incident”.



  10. Billions of dollars worth of CBC property have been declared “surplus”. (See CBC corporate reports; “Introduction When A Country” google exact phrase “Introduction When A Country”.) Thousands of CBC buildings were sold off, and converted into condominiums,or demolished. Carole Taylor and Robert Rabinovitch planned to sell a billion dollars worth of transmission assets- 608 CBC towers, 750 transmission sites, 2,500 transmitters. See the demolition of the Mont Carmel Shawinigan CBC tower (on YouTube). Land and buildings were sold to Li ka Shing, Lordco Auto Parts… The CBC Archives were sold to a foreign buyer. The CBC pension surplus, $616.2 Million dollars, vanished.The broadcaster receives a billion dollars a year, yet Will and Kate specials are being repeated all summer, and a J.K. Rowling documentary was shown twice in one week.”The Broadcasting Act” gives CBC execs the power to keep the money from sale of assets. It's time for an audit of this Crown corporation.


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