Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Monopolitics: The politics of Monopolies

Government is supposed to be a big monopoly corporation. Remember that government was established mainly to provide for the well-keep of its citizenry. Government is supposed to provide services to its constituents. It is supposed to be the lead agency in protecting and promoting the rights of the people. It is also supposed to dispense justice and protect the people from predatory practices. In exchange, governments are allowed to impose taxes. 


Government, likewise, is supposed to create the necessary environment for people to live and prosper. Those who then want to do business, do so within the limits imposed by government.


Those limits are reflected in a country's laws. The laws dictate the kind of relationships of corporations and individuals. 


The laws, they say, verbalize the kind of environment created by people's interactions. The laws either reflect these interactions or create them. 


IN the scheme of things, governments are supposed to be the "Big Boss". A government should actually be bigger than any corporation, for two things: one, a big government dictates what actions are allowed and what are not; second, a big government can protect the interests of its citizens.


When corporations become bigger than governments; when basic services are being run by corporations instead of a government, that's when problems arise.


For example, when a government sells its stake in the power sector, electricity rates are at the mercy of greedy corporations out for a fast buck. You can't blame corporations because the nature of corporations are like that--they are built to amass profit. Governments are built to serve; while corporations are established to raise profits. 


When utilities are sold to corporations, expect the value of the service to rise while maintaining the level of service once previously dispensed by government.


Corporations usually lord it over weak governments, such as ours. We, the people suffer the brunt of government ineptitude at two levels: first, direct when government itself dispenses the service and two, indirect when corporations themselves do the service.


That's why corporations become huge monsters when governments are weak because they become substitutes. It is to the best interests of corporations for governments to remain weak because a stronger government restricts their movements through regulations. 


It is even more dangerous when government itself encourages corporations to enter and manage services and utilities considered as traditional services of governments.


We, as a people, already experienced how oil firms abuse the franchises or rights given to them by government. We already know how Meralco abuses its franchise by raising its electricity rates every single time it wants to. And we already know how certain companies, like telecommunications firms, generate billions from us, without government intervention.


As more corporations enter as government substitutes, the less secure rights and priviledges of the people become. How can government protect the rights of consumers against stronger corporations who now substitute for government? It is like government fighting itself. The more governments allow the intrusion of corporations into the social and collective life of the people, the more likely rights are violated.


Hence, we as a people must resist monopolies and fight its politics (or what I now call monopolitics)