One of the biggest lies told which perpetuates the corporate control of our government and society in general is the claim that corporations create jobs.
It would be far more accurate to state that jobs create corporations. If you have a job with benefits, you probably have a 401k plan. In other words, an investment plan which places your money in the hands of corporations for their expansion. Money they use to lobby elected officials to enact legislation favorable to the corporation and against your own best interests. Part of that legislation includes you paying a financial penalty if you withdraw your own money, taking it out of corporate control.
Maybe you have heard the business maxim, “location, location, location”. What this means is when starting a business, finding a location favorable to your specific business is important. I’m not judging this, it’s rational and logical. I once lived in a mostly Hispanic neighborhood which had no less than 10 Mexican restaurants in a 1.5 mile straight line. Plus, most of them sucked. One would fail and close, another Mexican restaurant would open in it’s place, only to close a few months later. The problem was lack of insight or research into the local market. The local market was mostly low income and people who ate the same foods at home which those restaurants were serving. None had a gimmick and the prices were almost identical from one to the next and all were overpriced for the specific area.
Corporate invasion. Enter multiple corporate chain fast food places to the area. Each had lower prices and different menu items from the existing restaurants. Guess what happened to the local businesses? They suffered major loss of traffic and income. Now, in this particular case, I will state that most of these businesses fairly deserved to lose business. They were doomed to begin with. Though no small part of that was lack of business education and no money to consult with experts.
Cookie Cutter Corners. However, that situation is fairly rare. I am a fan of small businesses. I like eclectic or family businesses, ones with character. Hole in the wall treasures that serve the best food you can find. Problem is, these places that used to be so common are becoming more rare on a daily basis. They are being replaced by homogeneous chains of bland, identical, plastic, rubber stamped corporate block structured clones. No more family run places with menu items you just cannot find elsewhere. No more places that look plain but you would eat nowhere else. No more places you can sit and talk with the actual owner for hours at a time. No more being hailed by your name as you walk in the door.
Why has this happened? Mostly because today’s business owners have no passion other than money. They want guaranteed profits and instant name recognition. There was a time when banks and local backers would loan money or become silent partners in local businesses. When business owners would take risks based on their passion and skills. Those days are gone. Investors form Limited Liability Corporations (LLC’s) to purchase franchise licenses and build just another BK, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, etc.
Location, location, location. One advantage these corporations have is the money to buy or lease prime real estate locations. If they see a neighborhood that has a thriving small business community, they want in. Because they have the combined money of numerous investors, they can bid prices out of the range of potential small business occupants, so they can buy or lease from the LLC-owned property owners. They have the money to invest in market research to determine how much demand there is for that business or it has already been paid for by the licensing corporation.
What is lost. When these franchises move in, they steal business from the local small businesses while driving up property values or lease prices. They oppress the ability of potential small business owners to locate in places where they are likely to succeed. Driving the small businesses out to less desired fringe locations. Then, if that location becomes popular and successful, the chain moves in again.
No jobs created. Corporations like to claim they create jobs. Yet, as in the example above illustrates, the corporations do not create jobs. The small businesses would create jobs and profits which would remain in the local community. Instead, the same people who would work for the local business take jobs at corporate chains because that’s what is available.
Downstream. Local businesses often purchase supplies and services from other local businesses. From carpet cleaning to appliance repair to restaurant supplies and on and on. The chains order supplies trucked in from other cities and states, have their own contracts for services and ship in appliances from their own companies. This drives other small businesses under, eliminating more jobs and often business failures.
No passion, no diversity. Corporate chains offer no room for variances. They have standard floor plans and color schemes. Menus and items set in stone by corporate offices. Every ingredient is measured and duplicated. Employees wear uniforms and adhere to dress codes. Owners are never seen, being a group of people in suits who may not even live in the same state. Changes to the corporate standards, no matter how positive, result in punishment or termination.
What we can do. One of the best things we can do to battle this is patronize local small businesses as much as possible. If you want to invest in or start a business, look at something not corporate. Help rebuild diversity and local enterprises. Have passion, encourage passion in others. Pull money out of stocks and place it in more local efforts.
The more we support the corporate dominance of our country, the more of it we will see. I’ve detailed before how large corporations are consuming one another to become even larger corporations. That results in even less diversity. We can see that from what has happened to the media. 95% of all news media in this country are owned by six corporations and they are fighting to consume or destroy each other.
Want fries with that? It becomes ever more conceivable that at some point the US will be entirely owned by one corporation. If that one corporation fires you from a job, you will have no options left for employment. Speak out and you will be a criminal. While many will endorse the system because, “Hey, it’s not the government.”