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Rob Kall Headshot

Time To Declare War on Big: Killing America's Giants

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We're still in the middle of an economic episode that has devastated the economy, devastated the lives of millions -- an episode, in large part, caused by corporations that are too big to fail.

This episode comes on the heels of an era, set in motion by Bill Clinton's betrayal of American workers when he signed the U.S. up for the World Trade Organization (WTO) and NAFTA, for starters. Those deals led to the destruction of numerous solid U.S. industries and has hastened the U.S.A's fall into horrific debt.

In the real world, biological limitations prevent bigness from getting out of control. Sure, whales are big, but humans can't grow too big or they die young, if they survive at all.

Corporate gigantism is also deadly -- but for humans, not for corporations. Giant corporations, it is argued, operate with efficiencies of scale that justify their existence.

But giant corporations tend to be, because of human leadership failures and because of laws that let them, particularly toxic to humans. How are they toxic? They kill good jobs. They fight unions which support human rights and fairness. They pollute. They export jobs to where slave labor is allowed. They corrupt the political system. They block the enactment of regulations and regulatory systems that protect humans, families and communities.

Big corporations also destroy cultures -- look at logging companies and dam builders -- how they will gladly destroy a forest where an indigenous tribe lives and has lived for generations.

Even some small businesses do these things. They have inordinate power in small towns.

Teaparty people and other conservatives oppose big government, except when it comes to the biggest: the military's war machine. And they bristle at regulations, confusing regulations with government. Libertarians don't trust regulations because they don't trust the regulators.

But the universe has rules and people need rules too. Libertarians, Milton Friedman-economics huggers and the like who disdain all rules and regulation, calling for a "free market," suggesting it is natural, are deluding themselves. Nature has rules. Physics has rules. Humans and governments and societies and cultures need rules -- smart ones that respect people, that recognize the danger of bigness -- of corporations that are too big, government agencies that are so big, they are no longer accountable

It is time to declare war on big.

Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation to identify and break up the too big to fail financial organizations. This approach should be taken to all giant corporations. Laws should be passed that make it unattractive for corporations to get so big, that help small companies to cooperate with each other and benefit from staying small.

Research should be funded that identifies new ways and models that support the robust strength of small businesses -- where most jobs and innovation come from. There must be ways to help small businesses coordinate together that provides the benefits of bigness without the destructiveness of mega-corporations.

E. Schumacher wrote a book years ago, Small Is Beautiful. Wikipedia summarizes his idea,

"opposed the neo-classical economics by declaring that single-minded concentration on output and technology was dehumanizing. He held that one's workplace should be dignified and meaningful first, efficient second, and that nature (and the world's natural resources) is priceless."

Well, big is an ugly blight and it's time we, from the bottom up, broke up the biggest organizations. That doesn't just apply to business either. The military is too big. Intelligence agencies are too big. The biggest religions are too big.

There's a major movement towards re-localization, doing, making and sourcing things locally. This is the direction we need to go. To make the move from big to small possible, we need a movement that supports legislation-- a giant movement made up of millions of people who make things happen from the bottom up.

I've just started a new website, smallacts.org, that is based on the idea that small acts can make a huge difference. Every day millions of Davids take on Goliaths with small acts that they have no idea will make a big difference. I'm hoping people post the small acts they've done or that they've received or that they know about.

Howard Zinn said, "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."

I think that billions of small acts that make a difference are performed by ordinary people every day. They do them because of love, of hope, of desperation ... because they can.

On Democracy Now, Pete Seeger said, "I honestly believe the future's going to be millions of little things saving us."

Little things!! Small steps by nobodies who have no idea that their little actions will change the world. They're what we need and with them, we can take down the mega-corporations and mega-organizations that are ruling and ruining the world.