Business Malfeasance

Written by Benjamin Barber

Business malfeasance is the consequence neither of systemic capitalist contradictions or private sin, which are endemic to capitalism, and, indeed, to humanity. It arises from a failure of the instruments of democracy, which have been weakened by three decades of market fundamentalism, privatization ideology and resentment to government. The Bush Administration, which favors energy production over energy conservation, has engineered a reversal of a generation of progress on environmentalism that threatens to leave the Superfund program underfunded, air-quality standards compromised and global warming unchecked. These policies can be traced directly to that proud disdain for the public realm that is common to all market fundamentalists. Republicans or Democrats alike. The United States fails to see that the international treaties that it won't sign, the criminal court it will not acknowledge and the United Nations system is does not adequately are all efforts, however compromised, at developing a new global contract to contain the chaos. The ascendant market ideology claims to free us, but it actually robs us of the civic freedom by which we control the social consequences of our private choices.

Benjamin R. Barber, A Failure of Democracy, Not Capitalism, New York Times, 07/29/02, A23.

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