Scale, enterprises, institutions, governments

Within the limits of zoning and land-entitlement laws you can do whatever you want with a house that you own. You can paint it pink if you want. You can construct an addition if you want. You can replace all the lawn grass with other kinds of vegetation if you want.

Within the limits of pertinent laws you can do whatever you want with a small business that you own. You can produce or sell the items you determine will be best for the business to thrive. You can choose to advertise or not; hire employees or not. Etc. You can own a small business privately and privately make most decisions related to the company.

A Fortune 500 company is so large that the decisions made by the management have a significant social impact. Bad decisions can impact millions of workers, millions of customers, millions of people living in the communities where the company’s facilities are located. The decisions of multinationals can even impact the economy as a whole.

An argument can be heard that it’s problematic to have corporate enterprise decisions with potentially large-scale social impacts be made privately. Most socialists would tend to make that argument. But they often can only think of one solution to the problem: Socialize the enterprises.

The other solution to consider is: Don’t allow enterprises to get to that scale.

Don’t allow any institutions to get to that scale, including governments.

Corporations that get too large tend to become empire-like. Governments that get too large tend to become empire-like.

After seeing the imperial behavior of the Soviet Union, some socialists said: A new idea about ‘socialization’ is direct worker ownership and control. But the multinationals are too big to be socialized as co-ops. And if they are nationalized it just adds to the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the central governments.

It’s debatable which is worse . . . dominant-scale corporations or dominant-scale governments.

A sane society would disallow both.

A co-editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a Green movement activist for almost thirty years.