July 30, 2016

Death to Parasites

Cymothoa exigua, or the tongue-eating louse, is a parasitic isopod of the family Cymothoidae. This parasite enters fish through the gills, and then attaches itself to the fish's tongue. The parasite severs the blood vessels in the fish's tongue, causing the tongue to fall off. It then attaches itself to the stub of what was once its tongue and becomes the fish's new tongue. -Wikipedia
Pentagonal Revisionism says that productive members of society should be subsidized, and unproductive members of society should be penalized. According to the usual logic, this means major companies which provide jobs should be given tax breaks and other incentives to continue creating jobs, whereas parasites who can't get or keep a job and who live only by feeding on the success of others should be pushed even further into the margins. In principle, I agree with this point of Pentagonal Revisionism - if you're a productive member of society and your actions are creating wealth and opportunity for others, then you should be rewarded and subsidized - but in practice, I have a very different opinion of who and what qualifies as a "productive member of society," and who and what qualifies as a "parasite."

Are major multi-national corporations productive members of society? Well, it depends on what you believe. I believe that productive members of society live up to their side of the social contract. I believe that productive members of society are free to earn as much money as they can possibly acquire, but I also believe that they're obligated to pay their fair share in taxes to support the physical infrastructure such as roads, utilities, and plumbing, but also public health and education, all of which work to not only keep the people they employ in their host countries safe and healthy, but also to maintain the law enforcement agencies which provide the law and order necessary for stable commerce.

If you're a giant, multi-national organization and you're using money laundering tax laws to get out of paying your fair share and supporting the social contract that provides the stability you need to do business, then you're not a productive member of society. Your choice to refuse to give back to the host country on which you feed directly impacts all kinds of government spending that are necessary to maintain the level of stability and education in your host country on which you depend not only for customers who'll buy what you're selling, but a skilled and knowledgeable workforce who can actually do the work you're asking. This is a major loss of perspective, and no matter how much profit you acquire, you're ultimately setting yourself up for your own failure.

I believe that farmers and ranchers are productive members of society who actually produce the food and animals we eat. I believe that mechanics and truckers are productive members of society who keep our cars working and our roads rolling. I believe that nurses and doctors are productive members of society who keep our bodies working and our feet walking. I believe that architects and builders are productive members of society who create and maintain the physical infrastructure which literally defines modern civilization. I believe that police and firemen are productive members of society because they defend against criminals and catastrophe. The list could go on, but these are all people who deserve to be subsidized for the very real and very valuable work they do to maintain the fabric of society and uphold the social contract which supports the stable society I enjoy.

But a corporation which exists only on paper as a legal entity and which deliberately drains money from the country in which it does business all the while demanding ever more and greater tax cuts, incentives, and exemptions is not a person: it is a parasite, and if it refuses to support the host which nurtures it, then it deserves to be killed with fire.