August 23, 2011 will bring the 40th anniversary of one of the most successful efforts to transform America. Forty years ago the most influential representatives of our largest corporations despaired. They saw themselves on the losing side of history. They did not, however, give in to that despair, but rather sought advice from the man they viewed as their best and brightest about how to reverse their losses. That man advanced a comprehensive, sophisticated strategy, but it was also a strategy that embraced a consistent tactic – attack the critics and valorize corporations! He issued a clarion call for corporations to mobilize their economic power to further their economic interests by ensuring that corporations dominated every influential and powerful American institution. Lewis Powell’s call was answered by the CEOs who funded the creation of Cato, Heritage, and hundreds of other movement centers.
"...Powell’s solution was for corporations to act like real corporations by using their wealth and ownership to take control of the universities and media and use that control to further corporate interests by causing the universities and media to extol the virtue of corporate dominance and by influencing the law to support corporate interests. But his central theme was that business must cease its “appeasement.” CEOs should show:
“no hesitation to attack the Naders … who openly seek destruction of the system. There should not be the slightest hesitation to press vigorously in all political arenas for support of the enterprise system. Nor should there be reluctance to penalize politically those who oppose it.”
Powell: Do what we do Best – “Produce and Influence Consumer Decisions”
Powell’s specific prescriptions for how corporations should use their economic power to achieve dominance are filled with hortatory expressions about quality.
“Essential ingredients of the entire program must be responsibility and "quality control." The publications, the articles, the speeches, the media programs, the advertising, the briefs filed in courts, and the appearances before legislative committees -- all must meet the most exacting standards of accuracy and professional excellence.”
But Powell knew corporations’ real strength – manipulating the public through advertising and marketing.
“It is time for American business -- which has demonstrated the greatest capacity in all history to produce and to influence consumer decisions -- to apply their great talents vigorously to the preservation of the system itself.”