ATT consuming Time Warner? Google (or Alphabet) buying companies of all industries and planting roots in nearly every realm of life? We live in a quickly changing society in America. Not much looks the same as it did even 10 years ago, much less 20 years ago. The writing for change has been on the wall long before it was inked into new legislation. The nation our forefathers found? Long gone. The nation our fathers inherited? A dim representation remains, though it is quickly fading. Among the staples in American society which are being pulled out, capitalism has not escaped its fate in today’s society. Before I continue, please understand that while I am a capitalist overall, there are points and unavoidable results from capitalism with which I take issue. But no matter where you land on the topic of capitalism, it is undeniable that it has been one of the defining tenets of America throughout its history. This post is not about the justification of capitalism, but about the irony which may spell its own doom. Capitalism, when carried to its fullest conclusion, if untempered – either by God, government, or man – can lead to something much less capitalist and much more resembling a dictatorship. As capitalism, and those who enjoy its freedoms, ride the wave to the top, it can ultimately crush itself under its own weight when it capsizes.
With ATT returning to its old form in the late 20th century and Google trying to carry out (and successfully so far) its mission to own the world, proponents of capitalism may think it right for these companies to continue their dominance in the business sector as a result of their successful business practices. After all, what could be more capitalist than a man or woman earning what they work for, reaping the fruit of what they sow? What supporter of freedom would balk at what they are doing? I think the very supporter of freedom itself should cry out for the madness to end.
If we carry out to the fullest conclusion what ATT and Google are doing, and in some ways have already done, as they grow so large and stretch into many other realms of our lives, they not only corner markets but overall define the markets by pushing others out of it. It becomes bad enough with a company “owning” a particular market, but for them to begin controlling 2, 3, or more markets as well? This should make everyone uneasy. As companies or governments own more and more of a market, history shows us that companies abuse their power to unreasonably squeeze its consumers. With these two companies having such a presence in what has become necessities for life in America (phones, internet, and more), the abuse of their power could truly affect and hurt us all, undoubtedly limiting our freedoms. As eluded to earlier, for capitalism to work it must be tempered by God, government, or man.
For it to be tempered by God, I mean mainly that the leaders of organizations must be God-fearers and consider what is best in His eyes. Unfortunately, our society is such that there are few God-fearers left among companies that appear “successful.” How about being tempered by man? People in America today require so much of what ATT and Google offer (specifically in communications) that they are not able to simply boycott those companies anymore. One can try, but at some point in your attempted workarounds, you will have to cross paths with these companies. Also, people and small businesses cannot compete with them because there is no opportunity to compete as the larger companies will absorb them or put them out of business. This last point works against capitalism and begins to show its doom which it brought upon itself. The very thing in capitalism which enables people and companies to succeed and see fruit for their labor eventually works against the whole system and causes capitalism to crush itself. This is why it must be tempered, but in a situation where man cannot help keep the system and companies in check and in a society where Godlessness is king, we are left with needing the government to do its part.
But where is the government now to do what it did decades ago to ATT when it practiced these same things? (If you are not sure what happened, let me know and I can append to the post to explain.) I am not a fan of big government, but this is one of the things it should be doing to protect small businesses and its citizens. The government is one of the only earthly entities big enough to hold these mega-corporations in check and allow for continued competition so that fair prices/practices and small businesses can thrive. I abhor government over-stepping its bounds into areas it has no business dwelling (religion for example?), but this is one of the things I believe it should be doing. Otherwise, we end up with corporations bigger than the government, swaying decisions and legislation, and inevitably dictating the lives of citizens. When many thought socialism and communism were capitalism’s biggest threats, capitalism spells its own demise without proper balance and merely opens the way for other economic systems to step in. We must back the boat down, lest capitalism be capsized by its largest players and destroy a foundational aspect of America.