Dilemmas of Corporate Power in a Democratic Society - Essay Example

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Democracy can simply be defined as the government of the people by the people and for the people. It is a system of government that is politically responsible for electing and replacing the leadership through fair and free elections. …
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Dilemmas of Corporate Power in a Democratic Society
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Dilemmas of Corporate Power in a Democratic Society Democracy can simply be defined as the government of the people by the people and for the people. It is a system of government that is politically responsible for electing and replacing the leadership through fair and free elections. The citizens of a country are expected to fully participate in politics and civil life without abuse of their human rights. Democracy is also a rule of law whereby the laws and laid down procedures apply equally to each and every citizen (Spragens, 1990).
The increasing average power for capital elites for both profit and not-for-profit organizations requires an evaluation of the relationship between group power and the political elite on personal freedom. This is because the aspects of the problems of group power within a government have remained hidden behind accidents of legal form. The growth of group power from legal control has progressed due to the following factors. First, the ability and tradition of powerful organizations to remain unincorporated and, therefore, escape many of the liabilities of the corporate person. Second are the restrictions of equitable measures which have prevented the courts from punishing abuse of power by organizations in reference to their members. Thirdly, there has been excess freedom of organizations to disguise themselves as charitable foundations which has made many business activities to be clothed as charitable foundations (Friedmann, 1957).
Private power has been employed by lawyers and politicians to infringe on the freedoms of individuals and the balance of public decisions which may become susceptible in the face of such power. According to Dabbah (2003), on the basis of liberal democracy, this problem is twofold and constitutes a real dilemma. Citizens have the right to have their freedoms entitled to them which they are free to exercise. Thus, these freedoms should not be forced or imposed on others. Power in liberal democratic societies in the public realm is only recognized by those who hold it legitimately according to the law, while in the private sphere, power does not go beyond the limited prerogatives allotted within the firm to its owner. Beyond these limitations, private power in a liberal democracy is seen to be abusive, and sanctions must be put to avoid people taking decisions that have effects on others without their consent (Dabbah, 2003).
On the basis of similar principles, government’s power exists in order to guarantee against interfering with others freedoms. The limitation is that abuses forbidden for individuals are not allowed for rulers either. This is a dilemma. There exits two bridges in a democratic society that should not be crossed: one in which the illegitimated power of individuals arises and the other one which legitimate power becomes illegitimate. The question is: where do these boundaries lie? There is an apparent inconsistency between two perspectives on the role of competition and antitrust law. The idea of competition lies in the freedom of firms to conduct their businesses in the ways they consider best suited to satisfy their personal interest.
In fact, most of the educational materials of corporate origin reflect corporate interests and corporate perspective. Citizens must learn to think critically and seek balanced governance by first limiting the intrusion of privately self interested perspective into the public education system and bring a greater presence of a critical and reflective intelligence into the media. The defense of democracy in the domain of media requires effective opportunities to hear many voices, especially non commercial voices. The advances in technology especially the internet will contribute to opening effective channels to diversify the voices heard in other media forms. Both internet and non-internet oriented initiatives must be sees as necessary tools towards achieving meaningful, participatory democracy in electronic capitalism (Paehlke, 2004).
Dabbah, M. (2003). The Internationalization of Antitrust Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Friedmann, W. (1957). Corporate Power, Government by Private Groups And The Law. New York: Colombia Law Review Association.
Paehlke, R. (2004). Democracy’s Dilemma: Environment, Social Equity and The Global Economy. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Spragens, T. (1990). Reason And Democracy. North Carolina: Duke University Press. Read More
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