Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars The birth of a Nation has its roots in necessity and despotism?, 26 Sept. 2009
This review is from: The Roots of Contemporary Imperialism: The Founding Fathers, the U.S. Constitution, and 200 Years of Corporate Dictatorship (Paperback)
The Roots of Contemporary Imperialism: The Founding Fathers, the U.S. Constitution, and 200 Years of Corporate Dictatorship
by Valerio Volpi (Author)
Publisher: University Press of America
ISBN-13: 978-0761846604

The polemic within this work can be summarized as follows: the corporate conglomerate within American society has become so powerful that it dictates US government policy at all levels. The recent ascent of corporate dictatorship is a direct legacy of the political aspirations, and can be traced back to the founding fathers who began the American Imperialist tradition.

Individuals have no power against corporations who control all the important aspects of society. Taxation and accountancy, legal protectionism, political direction and medicine are all designed to ensure the corporate ideal flourishes under the pretext of the freedom of the commercial market. You can't oppose the individual's rights to freedom and at the same time oppose the rampant behavior of Big Business such is the way the two are intertwined in the American psyche. No matter how good your case, corporations will always get the nod from the Supreme Court.

What can be done to balance out this injustice that pervades the American way of life? The final chapters discuss possible mechanism to rebalance the equation. This basically includes regulation: of the banking industry; funding for political lobbying; the media... in fact all the mechanisms corporations used to get to their pre-eminent position.

As an after thought there is the suggestion that a constitutional amendment be made to insist that the law reflect that corporations not be considered as the same as individuals, or as the author puts it, "natural persons", as this would establish a much needed balance of individual voice over the prevailing culture of money speaks.

There is no precedent for this idea to take root, and clearly if the system is as corrupt and unbalanced as Volpi believes, those in power are not going to be persuaded to allow change. The utopian dream is likely to remain a concept rather than an attainable cause worth working towards.

Volpi cites voluminous sources to back his assertions, so many in fact that he perhaps overstates his argument. Often when a case is put forcibly, particularly within an historical perspective, the neutral observer will sense that an argument is weakened by overstating what are clearly retrospective observations.

I think the thread of an argument is all the stronger if the readers are credited with their own judgment. A barrage of references is unnecessary if the narrative is strong. A strong narrative is created by the author and also assisted by his editor. I think this work could be opened up to a general readership if the text were revisited with these criticisms in mind.

Perhaps the text is only aimed at the academic reader, and if this is the case I think it is a pity as much of Volpi's observations have a great deal to say about where the American dream has originated. It also helps us consider why and how American politics has been railroaded by vast and all enveloping corporations with their vast lobbying capacity.

One man one vote? You must be joking....
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Location: Scotland

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