by Babu G. Ranganathan
Many in society have been taught to believe that the public has no right to tell corporations what to do with their money any more than a a private citizen has the right to tell his neighbor what to do with the money he earns from his business or store. This is not a fair analogy.
True enough that a private citizen doesn't have the right to tell his neighbor what to do with his money but the public does have the right to tell corporations what to do with their money. Why? Because corporations couldn't exist without government and, in the case of democracies at least, the authority of our government comes from the people, the majority. The people own the franchise of government! Corporations are special legal entities that have rights, privileges, and protections given by government that ordinary and individual business owners do not have.
Therefore, the public has a right to demand something from corporations in exchange for giving corporations the right to exist. Would I not have the right, even as a private citizen, to demand something from a business built on my property? The same logic applies to the relationship between the public (society) and corporations. Corporations cannot hide behind the specious argument of rugged individualism!
Many in our society have been brainwashed to believe that an absolutely free market place with no government controls or regulations would automatically fix our nation's problems. Have we forgotten already that the Great Depression of the early 1930's was the direct result of a free market economy with no government control or regulation?
In rugged individualism, the individual has the right to benefit from social and economic interactions with society, but society has no right to demand any benefit from the individual.
However, if it is true that a person has a moral right to be a rugged individualist, looking out only for himself, then it also follows that individuals (plural), by mutual agreement, have a moral right to look out for themselves. Such a moral right of individuals (plural) is the basis for majority rule and unions in our society.
Certainly, if an individual is benefiting from commerce with the many individuals of society, then the many individuals of society have a right, by mutual agreement among themselves, to demand certain benefits from the individual, benefits such as decent wages, clean air, clean water, safe working conditions, safe products, etc.
If capitalism and social consciousness cannot coexist, as so many of my fellow Republicans claim, then one wonders how modern industrialized nations such as Sweden, Norway, and Denmark can have a high degree of social consciousness and still be competitively advanced economically and technologically with the United States.
The rich are not paying their fair share of the taxes. Even billionaire Warren Buffet has said that his office secretary pays more in taxes in proportion to her income than he does.
In fact, one of Senator Obama's ideas for reviving our economy is by the federal governement spending money to repair the infrastructure in our country (roads, bridges, highways, etc.). Much of this money would come from taxing the wealthy and corporations and making them pay their fair share of the taxes.
People can still become wealthy in a socialist society but not at the detrimental expense of others in society.
The fact is there is no rugged individualist in society!
Many of the basic rights, especially regarding safety in the work place, that we take for granted were not graciously given to society by the rich but won by the blood of bludgeoned workers and strikers in the early twentieth century.
The Bible doesn't say that money is the root of all evil, but that the love of money is the root of all evil. That love of money must be constrained in society or the worst aspects of capitalism will make a living hell for millions. Thank God, of course, that there are some capitalists who don't put money first or love money. God bless them!
The Christian Scriptures have much to say against the rich and wealthy who obtain and maintain their wealth through the detriment of the rest of society (James 2: 6, 7; 5: 1-6).
Socialism, or populism, is quite consistent with Christianity!
The author, Babu G. Ranganathan, is an experienced Christian writer. Mr. Ranganathan has his B.A. degree with concentrations in theology and biology. As a religion and science writer he has been recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who's Who In The East. The author's articles have been published in various publications including Russia's Pravda and South Korea's The Seoul Times. The author's website may be accessed at: www.religionscience.com .