By Zac Tramontana, Ph.D.
Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the average American’s anger towards corporate America and, specifically, the CEO’s of these large corporations that, to be frank, run this country. We Americans allow sociopathic people to make critical decisions that will effect the future of our children and the health of our world. This is done, very simply, because politicians are paid-off via the campaign contributions they receive from major corporations (as well as special interest groups). Since many of the politicians’ primary objective is to maintain their post–not necessarily as a public servant, but as a person who enjoys the power and prestige of being an elected official–they are literally bought off by these corporations. Then again, I think it is fair to say that these politicians are narcissists since they are really very self-serving, relish the position of power, can be highly irrational (especially when it comes to their need to be right) and infuriated if their opinions are met with opposition.
The real problem, as I see it, is that we allow sociopathic and narcissistic people to charm us into submission and, thus, believe that they have our best interests in mind. Think about it; many, if not most, of the leaders of our world, past and present, could be defined as very self-serving, i.e., sociopathic or narcissistic, and these folks can be quite aggressive, not to mention persuasive, when it comes to convincing us that we should be led by them.
On the other hand, many Americans have expressed anger with corporate America over the last few years, especially since the onset of the Great Recession and these corporations’ part in getting us there. We, the taxpayers, ultimately bailed these corporations, many of which were financial institutions, out of their mess, and what was the return on our investment for having done so? Well, CEOs continued to receive multimillion dollar annual bonuses, even though their companies were only recently on the verge of bankruptcy, their employees were laid off in droves, and many of their employees who managed to hang onto their jobs had to accept compromised wages and benefits.
As I see it, the most recent protests against Wall Street, namely ________Wall Street, were really rather ineffective. You might wonder how thousands of individuals who protested for months in many major cities and even camped out in Central Park, New York, could be so ineffective. It’s simple. While the protestors were holding up signs and screaming for justice in front of Wall Street, the big shots in Wall Street were literally looking down on them and laughing. This is because mere words have no impact. The only way to effect change when one is dealing with corporate faction of our society is to boycott their products. Yes, don’t buy whatever they have to sell. When a company loses a mere 1% profit over the course of a year, it’s CEOs and board of directors get exceedingly nervous. What I am saying is that when even a small percentage of Americans move into action and boycott a product or service that any one corporation or corporations have to sell there will more than likely be a favorable outcome. Consumers could make a serious impact on the CEOs’ decisions because, although they’re not interested in doing the right thing, they are interested in maintaining and, more importantly, raising their profits. Imagine, for example, the potential impact of a 10% reduction of sales on a car company over the course of weeks or months.
We don’t need to protest. What we do need are concerned citizens’ meetings in which we decide specifically how we’re going to affect change by putting our ideas into action. Only then will we get the attention of the corporate big-shots who, unfortunately, run this country. Remember how The House of Representatives in Washington repeatedly refused to make the rich pay their fair share–not an imposition to raise their taxes, but merely remove the tax breaks the received along during the Bush era. Moreover, these elected officials persisted in maintaining their stance to protect the interest of the richest Americans–even when 90% of the rest of America, democrats and republicans, believed that the tax reductions for the very wealthy should expire. However, a very good thing came out of this congressional circus: it became abundantly clear whose interests the majority congress (republican politicians) represent.
One way or another, if we want a better America and, most importantly, a better world, we must stop supporting, electing, and believing CEOs and politicians who think and operate with impunity and without conscience. Don’t fool yourself; the sociopathic person is not a rarity. It has been determined that 4% of the population is sociopathic, meaning 1 in 25 people have no conscience and, along with this absence of conscience, no regard for the feelings, needs, or concerns of anybody else. Their concern is only for their own interest. Therefore, if we want change in our world we must mobilize and act. We can leave useless rhetoric to the politicians.