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Google Government Politics

Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers? 243

Posted by timothy
from the but-if-by-elect-you-mean-choose dept.
theodp (442580) writes "'The government is not the only American power whose motivations need to be rigourously examined,' writes The Telegraph's Katherine Rushton. 'Some 2,400 miles away from Washington, in Silicon Valley, Google is aggressively gaining power with little to keep it in check. It has cosied up to governments around the world so effectively that its chairman, Eric Schmidt, is a White House advisor. In Britain, its executives meet with ministers more than almost any other corporation. Google can't be blamed for this: one of its jobs is to lobby for laws that benefit its shareholders, but it is up to governments to push back. As things stand, Google — and to a lesser extent, Facebook — are in danger of becoming the architects of the law.' Schmidt, by the way, is apparently interested in influencing at least two current hot-button White House issues. Joined by execs from Apple, Oracle, and Facebook, the Google Chairman asserted in a March letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is not in the economic interests of the U.S.; the Obama administration on Friday extended the review period on the pipeline, perhaps until after the Nov. 4 congressional elections. And as a 'Major Contributor' to Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC, Schmidt is also helping to shape public opinion on the White House's call for immigration reform; FWD.us just launched new attack ads (videos) and a petition aimed at immigration reform opponent Rep. Steve King. In Dave Eggers' The Circle, politicians who impede the company execs' agenda are immediately brought down. But that's fiction, right?"
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Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

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  • by graphius (907855) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @10:53AM (#46799611) Homepage
    We need oversight for government, and we need oversight for corporations. We the people* don't give a crap as long as our ipad can stream entertainment. Sometimes I wonder if democracy is dead.
    • by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @10:59AM (#46799639)
      what are you going to do about it? Remember Occupy Wall Street? It was systematically put down using the anti-terrorism tools from 9-11 that everyone pinky-sweared wouldn't be used on Americans.

      Don't get me wrong. I'm in favor of _more_ federal gov't. Civil rights for Black People in the Southern American States only happened because the Federal Government stepped in with the National Guard. Hell, we had outright terrorism in the south up until the late 50s early 60s. Mega corps are just too powerful to be reigned in with any less than a National Government. It's a double edged sword. But it's the only sword big enough...
      • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @12:57PM (#46800339)

        Civil rights for Black People in the Southern American States only happened because the Federal Government stepped in with the National Guard.

        BULLSHIT. Slavery and Jim Crow were both the RESULT of government laws. Neither can exist in the absence of government. Jim Crow in particular owes its existence to a Louiana law requiring a railroad to segregate its railroad cars against its own wishes, said law being approved by the US Supreme Court.

        You need to learn a lot of history before opening your yap next time.

        • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @01:14PM (#46800451) Homepage Journal

          Fed vs State. Simple.

          Easy for white man to get all emotional about the politics, without caring for the people.

          • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @02:00PM (#46800711)

            People care about people. Governments do not. Any one who thinks the government is his friend is either a crony or a fool, possibly both. Governments' mission is to compel or prohibit; their core competence is coercion in the name of the status quo.

            Before government made black self-defense illegal and enforced bigotry with government guns, blacks at least had a chance. Society was at least slowly intergrating even in the face of government sanctioned lynching, before government stepped in officially and made it illegal, backed by government guns and jails. The US Post office and military were more integrated than most people realize, until Woodrow Wilson came along and enforced segregation. That Louisian railroad was just one of many companies who integrated in pursuit of the amlighty dollar, until governments came along and stopped them with government guns and jail.

            Progressives are an ignorant whiny lot, like all statists. All power to the government! The people, not so much.

    • by Shakrai (717556) * on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:05AM (#46799669) Journal

      Sometimes I wonder if democracy is dead.

      Sometimes I wonder if I was the only one paying attention in Civics and Social Studies. Cliff notes version:

      1) The United States is not a Democracy, it's a Republic.
      2) The devolution of Democracies into fragmented self-interests is a problem that's been studied since the time of Athens. It should surprise no one.
      3) The United States Federal Government was obstinately set up to minimize the aforementioned trend, but several big mistakes (Reynolds v. Sims [wikipedia.org] and the 17th Amendment [wikipedia.org] top the list) along the way and 200 years of mission creep have undermined most of the protections put in place.

      What can we do about it? You've got me. My best suggestion is to pray for the emergence of an existential threat, because that's the only thing that will get the American people to set aside their differences long enough to find the sort of common ground it took to come up with the original Constitution. You've actually got two problems to overcome:

      1) The iPad crowd's apathy towards the political process, which is reinforced by:
      2) The tendency of those engaged in that process to assume that those who disagree with them are out to destroy the American way of life.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fustakrakich (1673220)

        To paraphrase: The best argument against democracy (and yes, even democratic republics) is a five minute discussion with the average voter.

        Toss it all out, it is corrupt by nature, and appoint everybody by lottery for one term only. Only then can we get the turnover needed to eliminate the careerism and mitigate the corruption.

        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @12:02PM (#46800013) Journal

          And you will replace "careerism" with incompetence. Can you imagine having a House of Representatives where no one has more than one term's experience? In the end you would literally hand over all power to bureaucrats, lobbiests and staffers, who would be the only ones with any long term experience. You would, in the end, make things worse, not better.

      • by xenoc_1 (140817) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:52AM (#46799953)

        Sometimes I wonder if I was the only one paying attention in Civics and Social Studies. Cliff notes version:

        1) The United States is not a Democracy, it's a Republic. ...

        Oh jeez this again? The classic GOP / Libertarian / Tea weak-minds binary thinking that gets the meaning of both "republic" and "democracy" wrong.

        The US is (supposed to be) a democracy. Just ask any living current or ex-President. Look at any respected list of "countries that are democracies". You do the research. It's simple.

        The US is a republic. As in, "not a monarchy".

        Republics can be democracies or they can be dictatorships, and pretty much anything in between. There is also nothing in the word "republic" which implies "representative". Just ask North Koreans.

        Democracies can be direct democracies, like ancient Athens or a current-day New England Town Meeting or California ballot initiative. Or they can be representative. There is nothing in the word "democracy" that implies "direct-only".

        "Democracy" and "Republic" are orthogonal concepts, they are not antonyms. Even when the US Senate was appointed, it was appointed by state legislatures which were comprised of elected representatives, who were elected by democratic elections. As opposed to being appointed by the monarch or being passed down via aristocratic houses.

        Actually nowadays we are closer to that, with the money=speech nonsense and an increasingly distractable and distracted public who will vote whichever way paid media brainwashes them to do. House Clinton, House Bush, House Kennedy, and the upstart House Paul.

        You may flip the order of the following words around, depending on what you want to emphasize, change some from adjectives to nouns, but all these terms are needed to properly define what the US system of government is:

        Constitutional Federal Republic governed as a Representative Democracy,

        or a
        Federal Constitutional Representative Democratic Republic.

        Choose your emphasis, but you cannot leave any of those terms out without misrepresenting how the system is designed.

        • It's a Federation of States. Not a unitary central government with weak subdivisions that have only specifically designated powers (like for example Uruguay is, where the "departamentos" of my new country of residence are far weaker than US States or even Canadian provinces, are more like counties in US states.)
        • It operates under a written Constitution, rather than an unwritten or partially-wrtten collection of basic law (like the UK has)
        • It is a Republic, not a Monarchy (unlike the UK which is a monarchy even though it is also a democracy)
        • It is a Representative democracy rather than a direct democracy, at its Federal and in most cases at lower levels (same as UK)
        • It is a Democracy rather than a dictatorship. We The People (supposedly) have a voice and a fairly-run, democratic vote, in deciding who represents us.

        Leaving any of that out is at best, ignorant point-missing. Usually it is deliberate agitprop.

        The sky isn't blue, it's where birds fly. What you are saying is every bit as nonsensical and more dangerous.

        • by istewart (463887)

          You have not provided any positive definition of the word "republic," only asserted it as a simple antonym of monarchy. As I understand the "republic, not democracy" meme, those who buy into it (and I am rather sympathetic myself) are bemoaning the fact that the central government is controlled by a specific, entrenched political class who determine the choices set in front of the electorate. This situation is just as dangerous as an unfettered monarch, albeit in different ways. Simple assertions that the s

          • by khallow (566160)

            You have not provided any positive definition of the word "republic," only asserted it as a simple antonym of monarchy.

            Actually that is a proper definition of "republic". Not every definition is positive.

      • Republics also support fragmented self-interests. Probably even more so than democracies.

        The Founders made the US Government a Republic because they feared the tyranny of the majority would trample out the rights and interests of minorities. They made it a Democratic Republic because they also feared the tyranny of entrenched minorities. Checks and Balances were arguably the single most important consideration given to every facet of their governmental design.

      • by tomhath (637240)

        The United States is not a Democracy, it's a Republic.

        Those two are not mutually exclusive. A Republic is one form of Democracy. I suppose you could have a Democracy that isn't a Republic though (democratically elected Monarchy?).

        Of course we've all heard the argument that "Democracy" means direct governing by the people without elected representatives. That's one form of Democracy, Republic is another. It's most accurate to say the United States is a federation of semi-autonomous states which are themselves Republics.

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        Thank you! Thought I'd give a shout-out from another fan of civics.

        I also want to point out that here in Oregon we have direct Democracy and also "Representative Democracy." Most laws are State laws, not Federal, and we have real and direct control of those laws; when we want to. And the rest of the time it functions as a Republic, with elected representatives doing the daily work.

        The 17th amendment stuff is funny. A bit of submarine attack; you're suggesting it would increase Democracy to remove the right

      • by dkf (304284)

        The United States Federal Government was obstinately set up to minimize the aforementioned trend, but several big mistakes (Reynolds v. Sims [wikipedia.org] and the 17th Amendment [wikipedia.org] top the list) along the way and 200 years of mission creep have undermined most of the protections put in place.

        You're claiming that Reynolds v. Sims was a bad decision? Without it, you could have stunning levels of effective disenfranchisement; all the party in power would need to do is to allocate all the strongholds of their opponents to as few seats as they could get away with (preferably one!) and split the remaining ones among the areas that they dominate, rapidly leading to an effective, perpetual one party state with no hope of ever changing it.

        Any functioning representative democracy has to have something si

    • "Sometimes I wonder if democracy is dead."

      Not dead, just taking a deceptively deep sleep. In the US we still have the possibility of democratic action. So far. The problem is that people just don't participate because their lives are comfortable enough or they are too busy just trying to survive. They don't take the easy actions (voting and political participation) and then when pressed they feel they have to take the drastic actions (aiming guns at Federal officers in the dessert). It's stupid and it'

    • by Jawnn (445279)

      Sometimes I wonder if democracy is dead.

      In the U.S.A., it died quite some time ago. The U.S. is more accurately called an oligarchy now. The will of "the people", not to mention their interests, is (distant) secondary consideration. That much is obvious to anyone willing to actually look. Alas, most are not. Instead they allow themselves to be satisfied with the bread and circuses that are so freely handed to them.

      • by thsths (31372)

        > Instead they allow themselves to be satisfied with the bread and circuses that are so freely handed to them.

        Funny, because I thought those cost money. Now in countries with a generous benefit systems, you get lodging, food and cable TV included in your benefits...

    • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @12:08PM (#46800037)

      I'm not sure why there's all this hand wringing over corporate influence on the political process, I'd much prefer corporations having a say than some of the more powerful ideological interests that influence politicians.

      I say this because corporations are basically greedy.

      Greed doesn't care about your skin colour, your gender, your nationality, greed isn't interested in reframing the social dialogue in order to deconstruct gender roles that are constantly evolving anyway, greed won't murder you or drive you out of a job because you think the wrong way or hold the wrong opinion. All greed cares about is its own self interests. I trust greed, I know what it is and what it wants, and I can reasonably reliably predict what it's going to do next. Greed is in fact the great equaliser that is the holy grail of most progressive politics.

      I mean putative corporate dystopias can hardly hold a candle to some of the actual real life ideological dystopias which have existed.

      And so I don't get worried about corporations influencing governments. As long as they're kept at one anothers' throats (capitalism) things are working more or less the way they should.

      • by khallow (566160)
        There are several problems with this point of view. First, those who are greedy may throw their support to a harmful ideology (such as happened with German business and the Nazis prior to the Second World War). They can cause great harm in their own right, such as the Congo Free State or the British East India company.

        Third, they can hold ideologies and attempt to pursue their greed in a way steered by their ideological blinders. For example, the Russian sell off of oil assets was expected to be a massiv
        • Just to mention two of your three objections to my comment are in fact objections to ideologies (and are hence the same objection), so we're in agreement there, and third I never said greed was the best of all possible motivations. However, if I may quote the great jester of our time, Terry Pratchett:

          "A thumb pressed against two fingers, and the lean figure of Dr Cruces, head tutor, looming over the startled boys.

          "We do not murder," he said. It was a soft voice; the doctor never raised his voice, but he had

  • The implication seems to be that we cease google and face book as state assets... nationalize them.

    No. We're not some pathetic third world dystopian shithole... yet. And until we are, modern, civilized, and rational countries don't go around stealing the assets of companies or individuals. Its moronic. You do that and you discourage improvement. That's what happens in countries that never get better. They got desperate at some point and they stole from the people. The people responded by not improving anyth

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      yet what you seem to be advocating is that corporates can steal the assets of the state!

      If a corporate gets large and/or powerful enough that it becomes a governmental player, then it needs either regulation to prevent it from becoming that powerful (eg, broken up), or nationalised in the interests of the well-running government for everyone.

      Nationalising these businesses is not stealing from the people - 99% of the people don't have a stake in Google being a privately run company anyway. If the government

      • No I'm not.

        If I build something then it isn't the state's.

        By all means, tax me at the same rate you tax everyone else... but you don't get to take something from me just because you want it.

        Get in that mode and you'll discourage people from building great or valuable things. Because they'll know that some weasel eyed dickless asshat will come along and cease it at gun point.

        You either let people keep what they build or you society will go backwards.

        • by ranton (36917) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:53AM (#46799957)

          You either let people keep what they build or you society will go backwards.

          Any absolute statement about topics like government or economics are almost guaranteed to be absurd (notice I said almost guaranteed).

          Free market capitalism is great. It has created the most powerful economies the world has ever known. Even state run economies have only been successful when they take full advantage of global free market capitalism.

          But capitalism still needs to be kept in check. You can't just take advantage of its benefits and ignore the perils. Nothing is free. Capitalism is used because it is in the best interests of society, not to benefit only the best and brightest. When situations arise that are no longer in society's best interests, it is our responsibility to react. We have had to break up other monopolies in the past to keep competition strong, and we will have to do it many times in the future.

          Breaking up Standard Oil and Bell Systems did not collapse capitalism, so I really doubt that breaking up or nationalizing a few tech companies will destroy it either.

          (note I am not commenting on whether anything needs to be done about Google or Facebook, just that saying we should do nothing no matter what is a silly argument)

        • You either let people keep what they build or you society will go backwards.

          Doesn't that rather depend on whether the things they build are any good?

        • by gbjbaanb (229885)

          but we're not talking about what you build, we're talking a corporate that has grown so big they are a danger to free governance of everyone.

          By all means, you build something and stick to building it - we've got no problem with you. But once you get to interfering with government, trying to influence democratic process with your buckets of cash, then we have a problem that needs addressing.

          Regardless of that, we need regulation of big businesses as the market forces that allow self-regulation to occur brea

          • Ah, here we are then.

            Tell me... who is allowed to donate money to politics and who is not? I ask because I suspect there is some revenue source near and dear to your political faction that must be exempted from your rule.

            I've seen this too many time to not be cynical about it. Every faction says the other's revenue sources are wrong but its are fine.

            Its pretty much uniform self serving horseshit.

            The courts have already said its all legal under the first amendment. You don't like it... then lets talk about a

            • Every single citizen should be able to donate a LIMITED amount of money politically, and the money can only come from their personal accounts. Corporations should be forbidden to donate to politics at all, with heavy and severe corruption charges for anyone that does it.. If a corporation wants to flex its citizen power, its members can do so directly, but it should not be allowed to focus and amplify.
        • And yet, if you become large enough, you begin to warp the lines of power. Something somewhere has to give if democracy is to be preserved.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Hognoxious (631665)

      The implication seems to be that we cease google and face book as state assets...

      Can't we nero or constantine them instead?

      If you're using a speech-to-text program can you tell us what it is, so we don't accidentally use it?

  • by elwinc (663074) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @10:59AM (#46799643)
    The Supreme Court's 'Citizens United' decision makes it possible for billionaires to pour unimaginable amounts of money into each election cycle. Some of thse billionaires lean right, like the Koch brothers, and some don't like Google's owners. Personally I would like to see Congress pass laws reversing 'Citizens United,' but until that happy day, we're kind of on the sidelines as the big players battle it out.
    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:38AM (#46799855)

      Some of thse billionaires lean right, like the Koch brothers, and some don't like Google's owners.

      Google's owners lean right, but talk left. Like many other tech companies, they donate to liberal advocacy groups, while using tax shelters to shift their profits overseas. They are all for big liberal government programs as long as some else pays for them. The only difference between Google's owners and the Koch brothers, is that with Google you get an extra layer of hypocrisy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Shakrai (717556) *

        They are all for big liberal government programs as long as some else pays for them.

        You've just described 100% of the American electorate.

    • Personally I would like to see Congress pass laws reversing 'Citizens United,'

      You do understand that when the Supremes declare something unconstitutional, Congress is not allowed to pass laws reversing it, right?

      • by vux984 (928602)

        Those laws reversing it are properly called "Constitutional Amendments".

        • by khallow (566160)
          US Congress can start a constitutional amendment process, but they can't make it happen by themselves.
          • by vux984 (928602)

            US Congress can start a constitutional amendment process, but they can't make it happen by themselves.

            Splitting hairs.

            They can't do anything by themselves. Even a regular bill needs to go through the senate, and end with a presidential signature... etc.

            • by khallow (566160)

              Even a regular bill needs to go through the senate, and end with a presidential signature... etc.

              The Senate is part of the US Congress. And they can pass veto-proof legislation with supermajorities in both branches of Congress. So legislation is not at all the same as a constitutional amendment.

  • Solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StripedCow (776465) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:05AM (#46799667)

    Just allow companies to only grow up until they have, say, 1000 employees.
    After that, they can only split.

    What this solves:
    No more conglomerates, companies form modular structures, output of 1 company can be reused by another company at a useful granularity.
    This leads to much more competition, where previously only monopolies or quasi-monopolies were possible.
    This, in turn, reduces and redistributes power.

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      ok, so I then hire a bunch of "interns" or "part time employees" or some other way around the law. that is a kind of arbitrary rule that screws over the regular man while the people with money can skirt the law, oh I can only have 1000 employees? well ill just make a new company, that i run, and hire all the employees. Or I will only hire temp employess, from the temp agency that I own and run.
      • by ranton (36917)

        ok, so I then hire a bunch of "interns" or "part time employees" or some other way around the law. that is a kind of arbitrary rule that screws over the regular man while the people with money can skirt the law, oh I can only have 1000 employees? well ill just make a new company, that i run, and hire all the employees. Or I will only hire temp employess, from the temp agency that I own and run.

        You forgot the bigger elephant in the room ... automation. While this kind of regulation would likely topple society, it would bring huge advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. Instead of hiring 10,000 employees, companies will have to hire a few hundred more engineers because regulations will stop them from having humans do the work.

        • by ganjadude (952775)
          Im not sure how I missed that one when I was just making that argument the other day when I was discussing the increase in minimum wage. Eventually it becomes cheaper to buy a bunch of machines to do the same job as the people
    • Just allow companies to only grow up until they have, say, 1000 employees.

      I'd be interested in seeing whether something like the Hoover Dam or a supertanker could be built with a workforce of 1000 people. Or how much an automobile would cost if the largest auto plant were only 3% the size of the current largest plant. Or how much computers would cost if the largest chip fab were 3% of its current size...

      Or have you never heard of economies of scale?

    • Facebook only has about 6000 employees now, and I believe it grew to most of its current size with under 1000 employees.

      Also I suspect your proposal can be circumvented by establishing multiple companies owned by the same individual which cooperate together. Or (equivalently) by outsourcing certain business units to contractors.

    • by Cyfun (667564)

      No, this will just cause companies to hire the rest on as "contractors," which is worse because those people will usually get screwed over on benefits. This is what Exxon Mobil does. They only have about 75,000 employees, but are one of the most profitable companies in the world. Although they do take fairly good care of them... but can you imagine if a company like Walmart did this? Hell, they pretty much already do!

  • Interesting that the OP is so deeply concerned with tech companies' lobbying against Keystone XL, but not concerned with the Koch brothers, whose organizations have spent a nine-digit amount of dollars on campaigns and advertisements (often misleading or just plain false) to influence campaigns, with an eye toward issues of interest to the Koch brothers themselves, like getting limits on campaign donations removed and, just to pick a random example, getting the Keystone XL pipeline approved.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shakrai (717556) *

      but not concerned with the Koch brothers

      What's the deal with this Liberal/Progressive/Leftist obsession with two people that the vast majority (85% in one poll I saw) of the American people have never even heard of? It's like the Democrats are already trying to rationalize why they've lost the 2014 mid-terms. It wasn't the platform, the electorate's exhaustion with the party, the bad economy, or even the usual historical trend away from a two term President.... it was those Machiavellian brothers and Citizens United!

      Seriously, it's counter-pro

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        It's like the Democrats are already trying to rationalize why they've lost the 2014 mid-terms.

        They want the Koch brothers silenced just like they want Rush Limbaugh silenced. It is unimaginable to them that others might disagree with them without the root of that disagreement being pure greed.

        They just cannot believe that half the country disagrees with them, even though clearly half the country isnt "the 2%" They truly believe that "the 2%" are greedy and the other 48% that also disagree with them are "too stupid to vote in their own self interest." This is of course a catch-22 .. their logic is

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      what is with everyone having a boner for the koch brothers?? what I mean by this is how can anyone stand there with a straight face and invoke them, without also pointing out that obama has pretty much been fundraiser in chief, hollywood spends billions a year on democrats, and the democrats have their own savior in george soros?

      I would LOVE to take all of that money out of politics as well, ALL of it, the koch money, the hollywood money, the soros money, and the FB and google money.
  • ...same as the old one. I mean, those who worry so much most likely aren't worried that Facebook and Google will become the architects of the law, they're worried that they will cease to be the co-architects.
  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:28AM (#46799817)

    one of its jobs is to lobby for laws that benefit its shareholders

    really? How does an oil pipeline have anything to do with anything Google shareholders care about?

    Similarly, how does immigration reform benefit Facebook shareholders, who I assume, would be more interested in reducing immigration - especially cheap-ass tech workers than only benefit Facebook executives in keeping pay of those shareholders down.

    • by khallow (566160)

      How does an oil pipeline have anything to do with anything Google shareholders care about?

      It makes Google's power generation holdings more valuable, if there is a net shift from oil to electric powered vehicles.

      Similarly, how does immigration reform benefit Facebook shareholders, who I assume, would be more interested in reducing immigration

      Your assumption would be incorrect.

  • by jmd (14060) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:42AM (#46799881)

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

    Actually I would argue that the period after WWII where a middle class emerged was an anomoly rather than a norm. And we Americans got so complacent we lost it and the oligarchy wrestled the power back into their hands. And the only reason that period happened was because 2 world wars and 1 depression temporarily destroyed capitalism's grip over people.

  • Look at how much of your data - that you posted thinking it was "private" or "personal" - they have already given away to the government. To say that they are partnered with the federal government is an understatement. Facebook might be the greatest gift the government has ever received from a company, excepting the massive contributions that come to all sides from the health insurance industry.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:47AM (#46799925) Homepage

    Google can't be blamed for this: one of its jobs is to lobby for laws that benefit its shareholders,

    Yes, they can, and should, be blamed for this. Pro-social corporations should be rewarded for their behavior. Anti-social corporations should be punished. This is a pretty basic part of free market theory and the power of the purse. Stop repeating this sociopath-loving dogma as though it had any relation to healthy free market economics. Public backlash against despotic corporations is a very important correcting force in the free market.

  • IPO shareholder or other shareholder information is the text where it says that the company exists to lobby for benefit of shareholders?

    watf? is this again the same shit about how "a stock company has to be doing 100% and use all the dirty tricks to get maximum profit or else they're illegal since stock companies by the law have to try to do that" shit?? a stock company can exist for variety of purposes and goals, "making profit at any cost" is rarely in their stated goals or strategies.

    (and since googles f



  • Maybe we could go after the industries that paved the way, first.... Big Pharma, Oil, Defense, etc...

    You have a point about Google but unless the others are dealt with, does it really matter? If the contest is between the corporations then, so far, Google remains the lesser evil.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @12:22PM (#46800117) Journal

    I was an anti MS zealout and linux fan boy back in 2000. Hence why I choose my name. I was trying to find a post where I rant about MS after the DOJ sided with MS where I threatened to quit IT if MS won!! etc

    But today it is different. Mainly because I prefer 3 mobile players rather than 2. 2 search engines rather than 1. Yes it is still bad for competition but this hatred for Microsoft stealing and monopolizing everything is so 10 years ago.

    It is like being afraid of IBM today. Weird.

    Even if you Android and Linux full time a 30% marketshare for Windows Phone will ensure Google wont get too evil and incredibly lazy and wont' set W3C standards to its own version of IE6 in Chrome. Apple is pretty small outside the US and Canada. No one in China even knows about the iPhone and Android is like Windows of the 1990s in PC's over there with 95% marketshare in the smartphone market.

    Many slashdotters are still mad at MS and refuse to touch a win based OS. Fine, I feel the same about Sony. However things change and any company whether it is IBM, Microsoft, or even Google can be evil. Remember when Apple was cool again a decade ago and Steve Jobs was a nice guy who could do no wrong with opensource? Gee look what happened when Apple got power? YIKES. Not so cool and hip anymore.

    I think competition where no one can set the standards is what is needed. Another facebook may come along someday if it can do something people demand. Myspace was all the rage too you know. I still wonder how facebook beat myspace?

    Google search ... that is heard to beat. They are too powerful and the cost of entry is too great to compete. Google though in its current state is nimble and quick to update. Once it settles down to an ugly corporate behemonth with MBA's afraid of change where cost accountants run the show it will then become vulnerable if and only if someone can make a superior product with much much limited resources.

  • The customers voted by opting to use their products (or by letting to be used as such), thus giving these companies their power.

  • Before them, it was the koch brothers, before then it was bilderberg, before that it was dupont, and standard oil, etc..... going all the way back to alexander hamilton and his federalist cronies lobbying for big business intrests of the day.

    Here is a fact about today's society. We are ruled by the television, who has what rights is deterimined by PR men, and sold to you with celebrities, they determine what is and is not culturally acceptable, and they can and do change standards everyear to suit their wil
  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert@lauren c e m a rtin.org> on Sunday April 20, 2014 @05:02PM (#46801567)

    1 have strict limits on the amount of funding that can be given to a given elected official (say X million per year TOTAL to include non cash gifts (use the tax value) and gifts to persons within 3 jumps of a give official) also ALL GIFTS ARE TO BE MADE PUBLIC AND POSTED TO A STANDARD LOCATION (official website??).

    2 term limits lets say 3 terms and if you can be proven innocent of any crimes you can spend your third term in office and not jail.

    3 Elected officials should be forbidden any after office jobs in industries that benefited from a given officials lawmaking (do 2 jumps on this part)

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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