Recently, one friendly reader of this blog, Gary Speakman, pointed out I may have a few inconsistancies in my approach to capitalism...this was my reply:
As you can see, as well as publishing the odd incendiary anti-corporate piece on my blog I have my books distributed through corporations and have earned some fat fees trying to teach executives leadership and team work! Am I trying to have my cake and eat it? Maybe.
I suppose that the key thing is to not be 'owned' by your job. Corporate life is, in the higher reaches, like being a highly valued slave in ancient Rome. You are respected, you have great wealth- but you are not free. Are you?
I am not advocating a rejection of all corporations- ie. big companies- all I tend to emphasise, or want to emphasise, is that having a full time “career” corporate job will not be in line with your best interests as a human being unless you are a)single and obsessive or b) a robot or c)learning things you aim to take elsewhere.
I think it’s salutary to look at how the earnings of middle class mid-level corporate employees have plummeted since the 1950s. Gone are the possibilities of a big house, car and private school for the kids. Now both partners have to work just to keep the (smaller) house and car. But CEOs are wealthier than they have ever been. And why not? A corporation is not a democracy- it is a hierarchy devoted to making profit. I find it strange that we all talk about promoting democracy the world over and yet we condone working in hierarchical organisations where you follow orders or get fired- no democracy there- I’ve seen far more democracy in action in a jungle village of former headhunters in North Borneo....
Corporations have been evolving for over a hundred years into incredibly efficient profit making machines completely welded into the structure of everyday life in the West, and more recently, the world. To be ‘against’ them would be a weird posture since everything we do is touched by some big company or other. So that is not what I suggest.
My thoughts are aimed more at the future. If you are about to choose a career- choose one where you have freedom, where you are not owned body and soul by a company whose sole aim is to enrich a board of directors and a handful of wealthy investors.
However, if you have a product that you wish to distribute then, either invent your distribution system, or, use a corporate one. There’s no problem with that since you are not ‘owned’ by them. You are using them – they are not using you.