Ralph Gomory's blog

It's not the Stupidity, It's the Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis

In This Crisis It's Not Stupidity, It's the Money: Three Relevant Laws

There are three basic laws about discussion, especially political discussion, that are useful in the contentious government situation we have today.  The third of these laws is especially relevant because it warns us that what is happening in Congress is not a passing aberration, but in fact a threat to democracy in our country.

Manufacturing Matters

On Manufacturing and Innovation

Manufacturing was once widely recognized as the outstanding strength of America and the basis of its prosperity, but manufacturing also has a more recent history of being almost a pariah.  This newer view equated computer chips with potato chips, asserted that manufacturing is better left to others, and suggested that the nation is actually fortunate to be losing manufacturing and aiming to replace it with design, research, and services.

Human Nature Needs to Be Back in Business

When two bombs exploded this spring near the Boston Marathon finish line, many rushed to help those who were hurt.  We read about their actions with approval and admiration, but not with surprise.  On some level people understand that it is human nature to try to help, even if doing so involves risk or sacrifice.

This part of human nature is largely absent in business, a world that believes almost entirely in motivation through self-interest and even in the social good of self-interest

The Trade Deficit is a Political Deficit

shipping containersPeople talk a great deal about free trade. But for better or for worse the real world that we live in is more a mercantilist world than it is a free markets and free trade world. And in this mercantilist world there is a fundamental divergence between the goal of our corporations, which is to maximize profit, and the goal of rebuilding manufacturing here in the United States.

Lift the Veil on Corporate Money in Politics

corp politcs
Originally published by Bloomberg

America today is very different from the country that fought the Revolutionary War and framed the Constitution. Then, it was a nation of farmers; today, it’s a nation of corporations. Most Americans now work for corporations, the largest of which command resources and money on a scale beyond that of many nations.

Yet when it comes to public issues like jobs, the distribution of wealth or even plain old politics, we still talk as we did 200 years ago. Remarkably, too few citizens discuss the effects of corporate behavior on jobs, health care and the economy, even though corporations affect all of these through their influence on elections and the actions of government.

As President Theodore Roosevelt noted in his first annual message to Congress:

Great corporations exist only because they are created and safeguarded by our institutions; and it is therefore our right and our duty to see that they work in harmony with those institutions.

The key to doing this is to hold corporations accountable by ensuring that their activities are made visible.

From the end of World War II until about 1980 -- even through the economic travail of the ’70s, as the U.S. faced the Arab oil embargo, rampant inflation, significant growth in foreign competition and the aftermath of the Vietnam War -- it was generally considered normal for large corporations to acknowledge all of their constituencies.