First the steel industry, the dinosaurs, collapsed – 34 corporations in almost as many months. But that was no big deal – they were ancient history. No Master of the Universe – Enron, WorldCom, Tyco or LTV – ever managed the actual production of a commodity. What an odd idea.

No, the future was in disembodied voices on cell phones, voices commanding machines to action, e-mail, e-commerce and paper. Mountains and mountains of paper. No people, no fuss, no muss – just money. Almost as high as the mountains of paper.

Where did the mountains of money come from? Who cares! We’ve got accountants.

In the Masters’ 226 years of rule, not since Cotton was King and the owners of people seized all three branches of government in this ever-so-cumbersome representative democracy, have times ever been so good for the Masters. Not even in the years before the Civil War, did the Masters dream of such wealth, power and control.

Naturally, the United States government thought it was great – didn’t they privatize and downsize, deregulate everything from electricity to trade to safety. Didn’t they remove all the rules on banking and bookkeeping? Didn’t they use taxpayers’ money to ship jobs overseas where barefoot children turn out shoes?

And didn’t they just give away another boatload of money to the Masters in federal and state tax breaks? Even better, now there is more money to be made from public education, just like health care. Bush and Bush clones in the Congress recognize “good times” and make them happen. They are happening type of guys.

Even Russia is just another market, not a grim enemy in a miserable, dimly lit country who just never seemed to “get it.”

Democracy – the rule of law, one person, one vote – that is the old economy. Besides, democracy is expensive – it is on the debit side of the spreadsheet, not the revenue side.

Never in history have The Masters had it so good. They control the whole damned show from pensions to health care, from WalMart to Kmart bluelight specials. It is regulation-free, union-free. Laws? What laws, say the Masters. Laws only apply to unions, workers and noisy organizations like the NAACP or NOW.

So, why is everything, every corporation they touched crumbling? Don’t get caught standing on the steps of the bankrupcy court, you might get run over in the rush. Why is the President of the United States worried about “the confidence of the American people in the free enterprise system?”

Denise Winebrenner Edwards is a member of the People’s Weekly World Editorial Board. She can be reached at


Conn Hallinan
Conn Hallinan

Conn Hallinan is a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus. A retired journalism professor, he previously was an editor of People's World when it was a West Coast publication.