Why They Hate Us: Understanding the Root Cause of Corporate Treason

Hey, NOT ALL corporations are economic traitors! (flickr user Kendra Kellogg)

Hey, NOT ALL corporations are economic traitors! (flickr user Kendra Kellogg)

It’s time to end the War on Corporations. A good place to start would be to stop lashing out at treasonous non-state actors like some kind of economic police force, and start addressing the root causes of this phenomenon. Ideally, we would also try to stamp out Corporate-phobia in America, an ugly sentiment that ignores the legitimate grievances of corporations, and in some cases drives them to engage in economic treason.

Anti-corporate hostility reached new heights this week following the announcement that Burger King was acquiring Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons in order to relocate its headquarters to Canada for tax purposes, a process known as an “inversion.” The move comes a month after U.S. pharmaceutical company moved its headquarters to Ireland via inversion in order to enjoy a lower tax rate.

Prominent lawmakers, including the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, piled on:

Senator Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) called for a boycott of Burger King. There’s a lot of hate flying around right now, which is understandable. After all, President Obama has called for a new era of “economic patriotism.” Why won’t the corporations just suck it up and do what he says? That’s a fair question, but perhaps we should be asking a different, more profound question: Could U.S. policy be driving corporations to treason? U.S. policies toward corporations are nothing short of dehumanizing. For example, they are subject to the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world and are routinely denounced as less than human. not people The government’s efforts to attack corporations, as opposed to reaching out and trying to understand what motivates them, are reflected in American society at large. Corporations are “othered” by intolerant segments of the population, and their beliefs labeled “evil” by scaremongers, which can present a dangerous moral hazard, especially when all corporations are lumped into one group, rather than differentiating the traitors from the vast majority of peaceful corporations. Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 4.18.34 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 4.16.29 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 4.17.11 PM As Michael J. Boyle, an associate professor of political science at La Salle University, recently explained in the New York Times, such behavior “tends to obscure [a] group’s strategic aims and preclude further analysis. Resorting to ritualized rhetoric can be a very costly mistake if it leads one to misunderstand an enemy and to take actions that inadvertently help its cause.” It’s time for the United States, as a government and as a society, to admit that our policies and our rhetoric have played a role in driving American corporations from our shores. If we are to ever know peace, maybe we should stop waging war against a faceless enemy, and start embracing the views of Hollywood celebs.