In his new book, The Origins of Political Order, Francis Fukuyama writes that, "Inequality has never been a big problem in American political culture, which emphasizes equality of opportunity rather than outcomes. But"--and this is a very big "but", because, following the Industrial Revolution inequality was a very big problem in America, one that nearly derailed our democracy and came to a head repeatedly before it burst under the pressure of the Great Depression.
...with a global recession followed by a stuttering shock wave of corporate scandals as rock-ribbed enterprises were exposed as hollow husks run by conscience-free predators who were even less community-minded and altruistic than gangsters. The ravenous supermarket chains had gutted the entire logistics and retail sector, replacing high-street banks and post offices as well as food stores and gas stations, recklessly destroying community infrastructure; manufacturers had outsourced production to the cheapest oversea bidders, hollowing out middle class incomes on which consumer capitalism depended: The prison-industrial complex, higher education, and private medical sectors were intent on milking public purses that no longer had a solid tax base. with which to pay.
If corporations wanted to be legal citizens, the politicians riding the backlash declared, they could damned well shoulder the responsibilities of good citizenship as well as the benefits. Social as well as financial audits were the order of the day. Directives outlining standards for corporate citizenship were drafted and a lucrative niche for a new generation of management consultants emerged--those who could look at an organization and sound a warning if its structure rewarded pathological behavior.Don't be Evil