I had this posted on my Facebook profile for awhile, but figured it deserved to show up here.
This is an interesting collection of quotations I collected from various websites by searching for specific terms related to corporations.
I think through these quotations, you get a sense that our problem today had planted its seeds about two centuries ago, and has only grown into a bigger problem over an evolutionary path. That doesn’t mean we should fight it with any less vigor, however.
“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
–Thomas Jefferson, 1814
“We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood. . . . but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
–Abraham Lincoln, 1864
“Great corporations exist only because they are created and safeguarded by our institutions; and it is our right and our duty to see that they work in harmony with these institutions. . . . The first requisite is knowledge, full and complete; knowledge which may be made public to the world.”
–Theodore Roosevelt, 1901
“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”
–Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933
“The institution that most changes our lives we least understand or, more correctly, seek most elaborately to misunderstand. That is the modern corporation. Week by week, month by month, year by year, it exercises a greater influence on our livelihood and the way we live than unions, universities, politicians, the government.”
–John Kenneth Galbraith, 1977
“I’m not going to apologize for all this — that’s the free-market system.”
–Al ‘Chainsaw’ Dunlap, after firing 11,200 Scott Paper workers, 1996
Indeed it is, Al. Quite a “free market.”