[SustainableBusiness.com]: Recent
months have seen a fierce and growing counter-attack against corporate
social responsibility (CSR) and ethics reform…. The stars in this
dramatic fight: [California Governer Arnold] Schwarzenegger, squaring
off against corporate reform leader Phil Angelides, the California
state treasurer who for years has used $300 billion in state pension
funds to launch salvos demanding governance and ethical reforms from
corporations.

How could anyone be opposed to corporate reform, you might wonder,
after the raft – nay flotilla – of corporate scandals and CEP perp
walks of recent years? Well, you wouldn’t have been following the
musings of David Hirschmann, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce, who wrote cease-and-desist letters to state pension funds
in New York and Connecticut, accusing them of  ‘working to advance
the social investment agenda of organized labor.’ Or of the American
Enterprise Institute, whose economic policy director declared that
CalPERS ‘is abusing the public trust in a manner as serious and grave
as any I have seen.’

Or of radical right mastermind Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform — ‘Field Marshall’ of the Bush plan and source of the famous battlecry, I
don’t want to abolish government, I simply want to reduce it to the
size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub

— who said, regarding public pension funds: ‘Just 115 people control
$1 trillion,’ he said. ‘We want to take that power and destroy it.’

Which puts a very different perspective on Gov. Schwarzenegger’s
proposal that state
pension funds be broken up into private, 401(k)-style accounts. Broken
up into millions of accounts, that capital won’t have the aggregrated
power to influence corporate behavior in the way that CalPERS has been
able to do.

Here we get to the heart of the Norquistian agenda: to fundamentally
delegitimize government (they actually call it ‘the beast,’ not ‘of the
people, by the people and for the people’!) and the very notion of
people pooling their resources to protect their common
interests.

That, despite this:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more
perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,
provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare,
and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States
of America.

End of soapbox. (For the moment.)


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