9.15. Major Reform #3: Global Accountability

The governments of the world need to take away the ability of corporations to run away from regulations they don’t like.

In politics, people are fond of saying: “We should fix our problems here, before we start worrying about fixing problems over here.”

That may seem like a logical way to look at things—but nothing could be further from the truth.

We can’t separate things into “here” and “there” anymore.

Maybe it seems like we can, if you happen to live in a simpler place, or if you’re old enough to remember a simpler time.

But the more connected you are to the truly global flow of people, information, and goods and services out there, the more you know that these made-up boundaries and categories we used to rely on have become obsolete—and the more you know this isn’t something we can just stop or hide from.

We do have problems here—but they aren’t separate from the problems over there.

Everywhere—not just here—institutions are failing.

There are many local factors that partially explain particular failings. But hardly anybody is talking about the real root of the problem.

It has to do with an imbalance of power between our political and economic institutions.

Because corporations now have the flexibility to relocate anywhere in the world, whenever they have to deal with taxes or regulations they don’t like, they’ve got the governments of the world caught between a rock and a hard place.

Our governments are actually afraid to protect their own people, and hold businesses accountable to tough but fair laws and regulations—because doing that can lead to jobs and investments fleeing overseas.

The solution is simple.

The governments of the world need to work together to take away the ability of corporations to run away from regulations they don’t like.

They need to present a united front, so that multinational corporations can’t pit the governments of the world against each other, and sell economic prosperity to the highest bidder.

But of course, the governments of the world aren’t going to do this on their own.

They’re selfish. They zealously guard their own autonomy. And in many cases, they’ve already been infiltrated by lobbyists and hacks who care more about profits than protecting people.

We, the people of the world, are going to have to make our governments protect us.

We’re going to have to make our governments take away the unfair leverage multinational corporations have over them.

We’re going to have to stand up as one, and force businesses to make their money without screwing over their workers, consumers, or the environment.

If you want to know: “What’s the one thing ordinary people like you and me can do to make the most progress toward solving our formidable political, economic, and social problems?” …this is it.

We need to stop arguing over whether we should choose between prosperity and accountability—and take away the unfair advantage that causes this dilemma in the first place.

So many of our problems, both here and over there, are traceable to this one global imbalance of power that’s developed over the past fifty years.

There’s no worthier cause you can support than setting it right.


This is the 155th in a series of over 150 videos about how to create real, lasting social change. Click here for a list of all titles, videos, and transcripts.

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