The influence of major corporations is everywhere. If you go to a sporting event, the sponsors are major corporations. If you go to the grocery, the vast majority of items available to you comes from plants owned by major corporations. Even our media is corporate owned. The result is that these large corporations can pass along whatever myths and half-truths they want. In fact, here are 7 myths that are particularly disturbing.
1. "Lite" And Low-Fat Foods Are Good For Us
Go into your local grocery store and in nearly every aisle, you will see products labeled as low fat or lite. The intention is to get us to buy these products by continually sending the message that they are somehow healthier than other items on the shelf. In truth, most of these items are full of sugars, artificial flavorings, and other unhealthy ingredients that are intended to replace the flavor that is lost.
2. GMOs Are Harmless And Don't Require Labeling
In recent years, corporations have worked very hard to squash any legislation that would require that they label foods with GMO ingredients. They insist that the processes they use to genetically modify food is comparable to the same methods used by farmers in previous centuries to improve their crops by replanting seeds from the most successful crops. This comparison is absolutely ridiculous. The ancient process of seed saving is not at all comparable to genetically modifying plants so that they are easier to grow. The continued prevarication on this subject makes it hard to believe that GMOs are harmless.
3. Consumption Leads to Happiness
This may be the biggest lie of all. Large corporations want us to believe that we have to have all of these things that they manufacture in order to be happy. Even worse, they take this message and they target it at children who are unable to discern between want or need, and who do not have the life experience to understand the true motives behind advertising and product placement. The result of this myth is that people work themselves into a state of misery trying to buy all of the things they have been tricked into believing they need.
4. If Left Alone by The Government They Will Regulate Themselves
Corporate leaders would like us to believe that if they were simply left alone they would be wonderful environmental stewards, provide safe workplaces for their employees, and provide consumers with only the best foods, services, and products. They claim that regulation simply makes it more difficult to do business and stay competitive on a global scale. However, history has shown time and time again that lack of corporate regulation leads to disaster. The Wall Street crash of 2008 is just one example of what big business can do.
5. They Are The True Job Creators and Sources of Prosperity
Many corporate apologists like to divide people up into the category of makers and takers. They cynically define poor people and those in need of services as takers, and corporate CEOs as makers. The makers of course being defined as those who create jobs and distribute wealth to the deserving hardworking people. This is an attempt to divide people so that they can draw attention away from the fact that it is actually major corporations that take a large portion of our tax dollars and that any true prosperity is created by the citizens who work hard for these companies, and not the top-level executives.
6. They Are "People"
Thanks to Citizens United, corporations have now been given personhood and afforded first-amendment rights just like you. Unfortunately, unlike you, major corporations have billions of dollars that they can use to effect political change in ways that we can't. The result is that they simply buy politicians through huge political donations and use lobbyists to press for legislation that benefits them, often at the cost of citizens' rights and well-being.
7. That a Minimum Wage Increase Will Drive up Prices And Cause Job Loss
In spite of the fact that the minimum-wage earner does not make enough to live on, corporate leaders insist that a livable minimum wage is simply not possible. They claim that they would have to cut jobs or significantly raise prices on their goods and services. This is nothing more than a cynical attempt to continue lining the pockets of executives at the expense of the workers. It has been proven time and time again that paying a living wage will not result in price increases or job loss.
There are three reasons these myths continue unfettered. They are greed on the part of corporate leaders and politicians, apathy on the part of citizens, and fear from people within these corporations who are afraid to rock the boat and push for true reforms. It will take educated, informed citizens who are ready to demand change to ensure that these myths are no longer perpetuated.