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AC Corporations The C Word

AC Corporations The C Word - The c-word Why has"corporate...

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The c-word Why has "corporate" become a dirty word? Is creating prosperity for society a bad thing? GWYN MORGAN Report On Business magazine www.globeandmail.com June 29, 2007 at 7:04 AM EDT The most enduring wisdoms can often be stated in a single sentence. One of those is philosopher George Santayana's maxim that a society that forgets the lessons of the past is doomed to repeat them. One powerful lesson from the 20th century is that Marxist socialism has subjugated and impoverished much of the world's population. Another is that free market capitalism has raised living standards enormously in countries where it's been combined with universal education and the rule of law. Yet in recent years, the principal vehicle of free market capitalism, the corporation itself, has come under attack. I'm referring to the disturbing tendency to use words like "corporate" and "for profit" as derogatory adjectives. Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman's rhetoric is sadly typical. In March, he rejected proposed funding for knee- replacement surgeries at a private Toronto clinic, saying he would never support outsourcing to "any private, for-profit-motivated organization." This, even though supporters said the clinic could have saved the province more than $1 million a year. More generally, allowing greater private-sector participation in health care is a better alternative than accepting long waiting lists and as many as 24,000 preventable deaths a year in Canadian hospitals. Knee-jerk reactions extend far beyond politics. At universities, many professors decry putting the names of corporate donors on plaques in or near classrooms. Some of them even believe that corporate recruiting literature should be banned on campus. Who do they think employs most of their graduates and creates the revenue sources for their salaries and research projects? Unfortunately, there is a lot of hostility within the arts community as well. My wife and I recently attended a concert by a Canadian musician we greatly admire. Her program included a quote from an open letter she wrote to a Globe and Mail columnist: "When the media is privately owned and commercially driven, how can we trust that they will always look after the public's interest before serving their own?" Apparently she hasn't spent much time in countries where the media is controlled by government. Like Smitherman, many other people who use the terms "corporate" or "for profit" derisively have a vested interest in shielding public monopolies from private competition. The only way to do this is through laws restricting people's freedom. Provincial health
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acts, for example, prevent doctors from providing, and patients from using, private services that compete with the public monopoly. The trouble is that public opinion of the corporate sector, sooner or later, translates into public policy. The cost of waiting until bad public policy is about to be enacted is much higher than helping to create good public policy in the first place. When misguided or
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AC Corporations The C Word - The c-word Why has"corporate...

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