Robert Reich on Infrastructure

Microsoft has duty to citizens as well as to shareholders

I’m a shareholder of Microsoft. Not a big one, mind you, but the money Microsoft has been spending lately lobbying has been spent on my behalf. But I’m also a US citizen, and I have goals other than maximizing the value of my stock.

I think it’s a good thing that we have a Justice Department, and that antitrust laws are enforced against powerful companies. I don’t want to live in a country dominated by the interests of big companies, even the ones I own. In short, I don’t want Microsoft to maximize the value of my shares at the expense of my values as a citizen. When I bought my tiny piece of the company, I wasn’t saying, “Take my money and do whatever’s politically necessary to give me a big return on it.” I was only asking the company to do whatever was technologically and economically necessary to give me a big return.

Microsoft’s political tactics are making an eloquent case that it and other corporate behemoths should be either more directly accountable to the public or busted up.

Source: The New York Times, Op-Ed, “A Shareholder, and a Citizen” Nov 5, 2000

Globalization and computerization widen the wage gap

For more than 15 years, people in the bottom half of the earnings distribution have lost ground. The middle class has been squeezed. The very poor have become even poorer. The wage gap is widening. Most of this is due to two great changes that started in the late 1970s-the emergence of new technologies like computers, and the knitting together of all the world’s economies. Both have been boons to well-educated professionals, but have created disasters for poorly-educated workers, who can now easily be replaced.

The same transformation has undermined the implicit social contract that once existed between companies and their employees, such that when the company did better, its workers did too. Technology and global competition have allowed investors to move capital quickly to wherever it earns the most.

The main answer is to improve education and job skills. The other part of the answer is to renew the compact between companies and their workers. Encourage profit-sharing. Strengthen unions.

Source: Locked in the Cabinet, p. 12-13 Nov 15, 1992

Other gubernatorial candidates on Infrastructure: Robert Reich on other issues:
AK-D Fran Ulmer
AK-R Frank Murkowski
AL-D Don Siegelman
AL-R Bob Riley
AR-D Jimmie Lou Fisher
AR-R Mike Huckabee
AZ-D Janet Napolitano
AZ-R Matt Salmon
CA-D Gray Davis
CA-R Bill Simon
CT-D Bill Curry
CT-R John Rowland
FL-D Bill McBride
FL-D Janet Reno
FL-R Jeb Bush
GA-D Roy Barnes
GA-R Sonny Perdue
HI-D Mazie Hirono
HI-R Linda Lingle
IA-D Tom Vilsack
IA-R Doug Gross
ID-D Jerry Brady
ID-R Dirk Kempthorne
IL-D Rod Blagojevich
IL-R George Ryan
KS-D Kathleen Sebelius
KS-R Tim Shallenburger
MA-D Shannon O'Brien
MA-D Robert Reich
MA-R Mitt Romney
MD-D Kathleen Townsend
MD-R Bob Ehrlich
ME-D John Baldacci
ME-R Peter Cianchette
MI-D Jennifer Granholm
MI-R Dick Posthumus
MN-D Roger Moe
MN-I Tim Penny
MN-R Tim Pawlenty
NE-D Stormy Dean
NE-R Mike Johanns
NH-D Mark Fernald
NH-R Craig Benson
NM-D Bill Richardson
NM-R John Sanchez
NV-D Joe Neal
NV-R Kenny Guinn
NY-D Carl McCall
NY-D Andrew Cuomo
NY-R George Pataki
OH-D Tim Hagan
OH-R Bob Taft
OK-D Brad Henry
OK-R Steve Largent
OR-D Ted Kulongoski
OR-R Kevin Mannix
PA-D Mike Fisher
PA-R Ed Rendell
RI-D Myrth York
RI-R Don Carcieri
SC-D Jim Hodges
SC-R Mark Sanford
SD-D Jim Abbott
SD-R Mike Rounds
TN-D Phil Bredesen
TN-R Van Hilleary
TX-D Tony Sanchez
TX-R Rick Perry
VT-D Doug Racine
VT-R Jim Douglas
WI-D Jim Doyle
WI-L Ed Thompson
WI-R Scott McCallum
WY-D Dave Freudenthal
WY-R Eli Bebout
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MA02 Gubernatorial:
Carla Howell
Jane Swift
Jill Stein
Paul Celucci
Shannon O'Brien
Steve Grossman
Tom Birmingham
Warren Tolman
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