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Saturday, April 7

The 1%’s Most Dangerous Lies

AlterNet Pernicious myths about the role of corporations are ruining the economy. 
Here's how to fight back
CORRECTION Occupy Wall Street
Robert Neuwirth types on an old-fashioned typewriter as part of an art project in Zuccotti Park before a march to celebrate the protest's sixth month, Saturday, March 17, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)  (Credit: AP)

This originally appeared on AlterNet. It's the final essay in a five-part series analyzing the foundations, history and purpose of the corporation to answer this vital question: How can the public take control of the business corporation and make it work for the real economy?
The wealth of the American nation depends on the productive power of our major business corporations. In 2008 there were 981 companies in the United States with 10,000 or more employees. Although they were less than two percent of all U.S. firms, they employed 27 percent of the labor force and accounted for 31 percent of all payrolls. Literally millions of smaller businesses depend, directly or indirectly, on the productivity of these big businesses and the disposable incomes of their employees.

When the executives who control big-business investment decisions place a high priority on innovation and job creation, then we all have a chance for a prosperous tomorrow. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, the top executives of our major corporations have turned the productive power of the people into massive and concentrated financial wealth for themselves. Indeed the very emergence of “the 1 percent” is largely the result of this usurpation of corporate power. And executives’ use of this power to benefit themselves often undermines investment in innovation and job creation.

William Lazonick is professor of economics and director of the UMass Center for Industrial Competitiveness. He is president of the Academic-Industry Research Network. His book, "Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States" (Upjohn Institute, 2009) won the 2010 Schumpeter Prize.  More William Lazonick

Ken Jacobson is a journalist covering business, economics and technology. He served as an investigator on the Democratic staff of U.S. House of Representatives’ Science and Technology Committee between 2007 and 2011. He is currently acting as senior editor for the newsletter Manufacturing & Technology News.  More Ken Jacobson

Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet contributing editor. She is co-founder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.  More Lynn Parramore
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