Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Big Brother is Watching You: Corporate Hubris in the US of A

Well, not exactly. But if you are living in the US of A, then odds are, a big brother of some sort knows everything about you; he knows whether you pay your loans on time, he knows whether you drive properly, he knows whether you are a sex offender; he knows who you’ve been talking to on the phone….. Big brothers are doing everything except literally watching you.

In my opinion, a human being should be forgiven for committing a minor mistake. We’re all people. We make mistakes. But what the American corporations are doing is entirely erasing that “forgiveness” safety-net that human beings, (in my opinion) are entitled to.

Take for instance the “credit score check” which happens whenever you want to take a loan, or get a cell-phone, get a credit card, buy a car – a process taken for granted by the hapless residents. The efficient are rewarded; the inefficient (those who forget to or cannot pay their loan on time) – they are charged steep premiums. Government does not impose controls; corporations do, in the US of A. But to the average person, it is all the same. Their life is under control, under constant supervision – the people are no better off than the inhabitants of Rwanda or Somalia – under the shadow of the militias in power. Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration, but I do hope my point is appreciated.

The other day, I went to the Social Security office and filled out my social security application form. (Us international students: we don’t get it when we were born) The following was written on the same: “You have a right to deny us your personal information. However, if you do, you shall not be allowed to get paid for your work in this country.”. It’s like god (the entity that some people believe is “responsible” for all life on earth. In the extremely unlikely event that he does exist, I am sure he is feeling pretty silly, looking at how his creations turned out!) saying “You can stop breathing anytime you want. You might not live, but that is entirely up to you”.

And you cannot speak out against corporations here: defamation suits will follow. And the money-might of these corporations more or less ensures that very, very few people actually have the financial and mental strength to withstand the millions of court-room appearances that this would entail.

And don’t let me even get started on the copy-right and patent terrorism. Suppose you invent something new. It’s not a time to celebrate; it’s a time to mourn. For surely, within the equivocal, un-understandable verbosity that lies filed within the US patent office, lies something or the other that can be interpreted to sound very similar to what you would have just invented. Law suits from corporations will follow.

This is the philosophy of the US of A. This is indeed a free country; if you pay your bills on time; if you do not stand in the way of a bad driver on the road; if you do not fall ill, etc. Land of the free, or a corporate dictatorship?

The author is an idiot. He has not really experienced any such dictatorship, but he loves to speculate. The author believes he is like Wodehouse’s Alaric, the Duke of Dunstable, who’s passion is writing acerbic letters to the editor of “The Times” (presumably) in those wonderful Blandings Castle Stories.

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