Posts Tagged ‘ownership’

Ownership and Protection

December 31, 2010 1 comment

In the previous post I considered the ways that one’s principles must be disregarded when functioning in a leadership position. This sort of role switching or multiple personality expectation runs constant through a multitude of human interactions and roles. In many ways we are required to perform these alterations of character in order to function successfully in society. For better or worse, we exist in a world where we must be dynamic in order to fulfill the varied expectations of our plethora of encounters in the world.

Do we like this? No way! All of this is very hard work, in fact its downright exhaustive and deadly as witnessed by the mortality rates of many corporate and political leaders. These statistics reveal the effects of this system on the individual but how does the corporation as a whole respond? Do corporations or large groups respond in a certain way? How does the collective group make adjustments to create stability in such turmoil?

In The Master Switch, Tim Wu seems to paint a series of images that suggest the corporation respond with monopolization and protectionism. As competition rises and a corporation invests larger amounts of capital into a challenge an adjustment occurs that in many ways reflects the sense of ownership created by these sacrifices. The figures who drive corporations steer companies into a position of ownership that swats away competition and seeks a level of control which gifts a sense of comfort via security. Wu highlights the response of Western Union, AT&T and movie studios as large examples and moves on to suggest that Apple and Google may be sliding into this role.

It should not come as a surprise that corporations develop this protectionist perspective. We cannot forget that corporations are composed of human beings. Furthermore, this collection of humans is under a special form of pressure in the form of corporate expectation. As my earlier post suggested, individuals functioning as actors for corporations often need to disregard personal principles for the sake of the company.

This is an inherently dehumanizing process and yet one that remains essential to the success of both actor and corporation. It is logical and understandable that a move to monopolization occurs- great sacrifice creates an expectation for pay off. After all, in both the corporate and personal world a major sacrifice which fails to flower can be viewed as a major weakness. In light of this let us not forget that human beings run our corporations and the human need for self-preservation makes monopolization and protectionism a natural response.

Government intervention can assist society both in making progress and protecting markets. Interventions in the form of funding to programs with broad social benefit (construction of country-wide phone lines, roadways and the development of the internet) are excellent examples of projects where public money can be used to assist the creation of a market that will benefit society as a whole. These investments ease the entry into a market and create an environment where development can occur. As an additional bonus, a corporation that does not have to make major investments will not develop protectionist tactics.

The best strategy to avoid personal and corporate protectionism is smart government intervention. By taking care of the major investments, the government can ease access into a market and create a platform for innovation. In situations where a social benefit is evident it is worthwhile that a government utilize public dollars to assist public good.

%d bloggers like this: