true sustainability and flourishing communities?
the elephant in the room.
With a polarized public and never-ending bickering about the best direction for America, a glaring elephant in the room is completely overlooked - one that, until it's addressed, will forever sabotage any real change in this country.
That elephant is the massive power imbalance between corporations and governments.
What we are seeing today is a complete lack of accountability - corporate accountability to governments, and government accountability to the public in which they serve.
We seem to have forgotten is that corporate entities are a creation of government, and,
In truth, each and every corporation should be required to have a public purpose clearly stated in its charter, which is then held accountable by the governmental authority that issued its charter in the first place.
But what we have instead are multinational corporations that aren't fully accountable to anyone, let alone regional governments.
With this structure, everyone loses - except the corporations themselves.
David Korten further drives the point home:
Until we have an accountable government keeping corporations in check, we will be perpetually caught in a vicious cycle where 'free-markets' disregard community interest - including access to clean water and food, affordable housing and medical care, a healthy environment and livable wages.
These unrestrained corporations will only continue to rape and pillage local economies and ecosystems, stripping resources which are then sold to the highest bidder - but profit very few.
A perfect example of this happening today is the struggle at Standing Rock against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), where over 500 Native American tribes have taken a stand against massive corporate interest, which desecrated their sacred ancestral sites and threatens an important water source - the Missouri River.
Even though the US Army Corps of Engineers denied the permit for building the pipeline under the Missouri River last November, an executive order signed by President Trump the following January instructed the army corps of engineers,
After the final easement was granted in late February of this year,
In a classic business as usual, profit over people stance, President Trump - with a single signature - sent a strong message to the hundreds of thousands of American's who have expressed their support for the Standing Rock protests:
Instead of the government protecting the people, it sent local officers and militarized police from seven states to quell the protests, many times with tactics that violated human rights.
It's estimated that $8.7 m in tax payer dollars were used for 'law' enforcement.
You can read more about the conflict and what's at stake for the future in the article, Actor Mark Ruffalo Arrives at Dakota Standing Rock Protests as Conflict Escalates with Militarized Police.
But this is just one instance of many where corporations have run roughshod over the environment, local communities and the well-being of the public - all in the name of the mighty dollar.
To fully address this unbridled and deeply embedded problem, we need to demand that stateless, multinational corporations be dismantled and restructured as national public-purpose legal entities, prohibited from engaging in electoral politics, and each owned by and accountable to living people, who are citizens of the country in which it is chartered to do business.
Once we have laid the foundation for corporate and government accountability, living communities will have a fighting chance.
We can then move towards creating a world that benefits everyone, rather than just a select few.