No surprise, Ye of Little Faith, grumpy radio prophet Harold Camping’s rapture didn’t work out as scheduled this weekend. But maybe there’s another hope for all of us garden-variety sinners to rid ourselves of people who are self-righteous, nutty or just dangerously ambitious.
Who is John Galt?
In honor of the terrible movie version that just came out of Ayn Rand’s terrible book Atlas Shrugged, I’m kind of hoping that free-market revolt leader John Galt might step into the vacuum here. Now would be a perfect time for him to recruit the biggest and the baddest greedheads — er, I mean the best and the brightest champions of free enterprise and individual initiative — to his rich guy’s general strike.
With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, I’ve got a little list.
Start with the Koch brothers. Society could certainly do without their funding for climate science deniers to spread lies and their funding for the Tea Party to spread fear and anger among America’s retirees.
Then, why not throw in the other CEOs of Big Oil and Big Coal, starting with Exxon’s Rex Tillerson? If they went on strike and stopped buying members of Congress, I know they’d not be missed.
Finally, we could certainly do without Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs and all the other banking grifters, hedge fund managers and other Masters of the Universe who create no value for the economy but just move money around all day. And just drive up the price of call girls and cocaine at night.
Just following orders
Alas, replacing the actual humans in our plutocracy would probably make little difference. Call it fiduciary responsibility. Any corporate head is responsible by law to “maximize profits” for shareholders.
So if the Kochs or Tillerson were replaced by say, Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama, those saintly guys probably wouldn’t last a quarter in the C-Suite. If they tried to cut the budget for buying politicians and plow the savings into workplace safety, Wall Street would sink their shares into the toilet. Their boards would vote them out before you could say 10-Q.
Did getting rid of Don Blankenship and Tony Hayward stop mining accidents or oil spills?
Not to absolve rich bad guys of any responsibility. Surely, your average anti-apartheid churchman or Tibetan meditator wouldn’t be drawn to corporate America in the first place. It does take a certain kind of personality to enter the glass tower at all and a certain ambition and ethical system to do what it takes to claw your way to the top. No accident that 4% of top corporate leaders are psychopaths.
– Erik Curren