When we talk of crime and victimization, I think we often think of street crime, as in individual acts by individual persons, such as rape and assault. However, corporations perform the most major forms of criminal victimization.
Corporations have more social and political power than most people, but they do not have the humanity. For the most part, they only care about the bottom line. They love money, and they will do anything to get it. They would slice the throats of 5-year-old girls if it would make them money. For example, consider when Bayer knowingly sold drugs infected with AIDS.
Worse yet, corporations often get away with victimizing people. They often get to victimize people legally because they have the money to lobby and control the government. For example, consider all the money the military industries, oil industries, and private-owned prison industries have stolen from taxpayers by using some of their money to buy politicians. Or consider the corporations that steal people’s land via the government with eminent domain.
Though it is generally illegal for them to bribe politicians, corporations can legally control the government to legally victimize people with campaign contributions, lobbyists, and media control. Additionally, even when prosecuted, corporations have the highest paid lawyers. And corporate crime rarely results in criminal prosecution and jail time, but instead ends with a fine.
Also, let’s not forget that corporate crime often results in violence. For example, 56,000 Americans die every year on the job or from occupational diseases such as black lung; many of those cases arise from criminal recklessness. Other examples include the violence of contaminated foods, pollution, hazardous consumer products, and hospital malpractice.
As Robert Mokhiber pointed out in 2007, corporate crime inflicts far more damage on society than street crime.
I believe we can only effectively limit corporate control over us by limiting the power of government. Insofar as a government has power over the people, the big corporations will control and victimize us by controlling the government.
Whatever we do, we need to find a way to defend ourselves from corporations, not just from human citizens.
What do you think?