Home > Uncategorized > The GOP Tax Law is Based on Shareholder Primacy… a Myth that Billionaire Donors Created and Perpetuate

The GOP Tax Law is Based on Shareholder Primacy… a Myth that Billionaire Donors Created and Perpetuate

December 16, 2017

Diane Ravitch’s post yesterday bemoaned the seemingly assured passage of the “tax reform” bill written behind closed doors by a handful of GOP senators.

“Shareholder primacy” is the ultimate source of the GOP mindset. Here’s a quote from an Alternet article by Ken Jacobsen from 2012:

(The) doctrine, known as “shareholder primacy,” now reigns in the corporate world today, and it has so increased the power of those whom it has benefited that it will not be easy to dislodge. Those who propagate it believe, or would have us believe, that it is based in law; in fact, it is supported by no more than ideology. They believe, or would have us believe, that it reflects incontrovertible and eternal truths; in fact, it is an expression of transient self-interest. They believe, or would have us believe, that it honors long precedent – but, as we have seen, its ascendency is recent, and, rather than honor it undermines precedent. Yet despite these contradictions, corporations and their allies have been exceedingly successful at selling their viewpoint to the American people.

After reading this five years ago, I saw many articles that made connections between this mindset and other education related issues like: pension reform; the movement to break-up public sector unions; the suppression of wages in all fields, including STEM (which was the source of the so-called “STEM crisis” in schools); family leave policies; the off-shoring and outsourcing of employment from the 1970s onward; the offshoring of corporate profits; and, most recently, the movement to privatize public schools in Puerto Rico following the hurricane there.

Unfortunately the donors to both parties want the public to continue believing that shareholder primacy is an “incontrovertible and eternal truth”. If we want to put an end to notion of shareholder primacy, we need to make it clear to students at all levels of schooling that shareholder primacy is an “expression of transient self interest” and not a legal requirement imposed on corporations by legislation or some natural laws of economics. Shareholder primacy is a mental formation developed by and reinforced by the same donors whose “thought leaders” helped the GOP draft the “tax reform” legislation… and they are the same “thought leaders” who helped both parties develop their test-centric education platforms.

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