If the United States were an autocracy




We curse, criticize, and malign presidents because they are beholden to interest groups; and, many times the decisions taken by the presidents are not totally their own, but have been forced upon them by giant corporations and the super rich (either directly or through the corrupt actions of Congress). To the common people, within and without the US, POTUS or President of the United States, may appear to be the most powerful person in the world, but in reality, it’s the moneyed class who is the real master.

Who’s the boss?

In February 2011, President Obama had dinner with Silicon Valley CEOs. Each CEO could ask Obama one question. When Apple’s Steve Jobs was presenting his question, Obama intervened to ask why can’t Apple make its products in the US. Without mincing words, Steve Jobs shot back: “Those jobs aren’t coming back.”


In 2011, almost all Apple products sold: 30 million iPads, 70 million iPhones, and 59 million other products, were manufactured overseas. One of those overseas country, is China. Manufacturing abroad has many other benefits besides doling out indecent pay to the workers. Once, when Apple redesigned its iPhones’ screens and wanted the production start immediately, the foreman was asked to produce 8000 workers at midnight and he carried out that command. The workers were given a cup of tea and a biscuit and were ordered to start the work.

This is impossible in the US – not because of the virtue of people like Steve Jobs, or that they treat US workers like human beings, no: it’s just that some remaining laws (how long will remain in effect we don’t know) still protect workers from being turned into slaves.

What would have happened if the Chinese workers had started their work in the morning instead of at midnight? If the iPhones would have come in the market a little late, would planet earth have missed its orbit?

(Imagine the helplessness of those workers awakened from midnight sleep! In this situation, if a religious cleric from any religion would have gone there to console, to give hope and some monetary benefit, undoubtedly he/she would have succeeded in attracting some of those workers to his/her fold. Exploiters of any kind play a big role in perpetuating religion.)

In 2014, for every million euros of profit Apple made, it only paid 50 euros as tax!. In August 2016, the European Union asked one of its member states, Ireland, to collect back taxes for 10 years amounting to € 13 billion (approx. $ 14.5 billion) plus interest.

Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern lamented:

Every Viennese cafe, every sausage stand pays more tax in Austria than a multinational corporation.”

“That goes for Starbucks, Amazon and other companies.”

Another thief, Facebook, is also in the same boat. IRS (Internal Revenue Service) in the US has issued a total of 7 summons to Facebook (who has ignored all of them) for tax evasion of $3 to 5 billion, prior to the company’s move to Ireland.

The president would be acting differently if United States was a true democracy. But that is not what it is; it’s a corpocracy where the concern for the common people doesn’t register on the radar of decision makers. Just one example: NAFTA.


NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), a trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the US has been bad news on many fronts for not only people in US, but also for the Mexicans. The basic goal of NAFTA, as observed by Harry Gray, the C.E.O. of United Technologies, was to create “a worldwide business environment that’s unfettered by government interference.” Kay Whitmore of Eastman Kodak was overjoyed because NAFTA may “lock in the opening of Mexico’s economy so that it can’t return to its protectionist ways.” Two decades ago, Noam Chomsky had accurately pointed out, that treaties such as NAFTA and GATT should be called “investor rights agreements” and not “free trade agreements.”

In the US, many workers were coerced to accept lower wages and avoid joining unions, or else: “If you vote in a union, we will move south of the border [i.e., Mexico].”

At the signing of the NAFTA treaty, President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, had promised, “more growth, more equality, better preservation of the environment, and a greater possibility for world peace.”

Bill Clinton said:

“For this new era, our national security we now know will be determined as much by our ability to pull down foreign trade barriers as by our ability to breach distant ramparts.”

The US has never been interested in world peace and equality; because if it was, it would have achieved those goals long ago–it has had the means and capability to do so. Nor is it interested in preserving the environment. The only thing the US can be proud of is questionable growth; it’s phenomenal: US wars are on the rise, police killings of blacks have increased, huge disparity in wealth exists and is still growing: CEOs of the top 500 companies made 340 times more than the average worker in 2015!


In this unequal situation, often minority communities bear the brunt of economic injustice disproportionately.

The reports released by tech giants revealed discrimination practiced by them in their employment policies. The total number of blacks employed by Facebook, Google, and Twitter is 758 blacks, that is, only 1.8% of the combined workforce of 41,000 employees working at these three tech giants. Yahoo is not any better. (Hispanics fare little better than blacks.)

The percentage of blacks in the United States is 13.2%.

(Women also face barriers to reach top positions – they make 51% of US population and 59% of labor force but in high tech industry their percentage is only 29.1 and in Yahoo it is 37%, and their percentage in technical and leadership positions at these companies are much lower.)

The longtime high-tech entrepreneur Mitch Kapor, co-chair of the Kapor Center for Social Impact, pointed out that even though the tech industry claims that it is based on meritocracy, the fact is that it seems like “mirrortocracy.”

In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his Nobel acceptance speech talked about racism, poverty, and war in some detail.

Two years earlier, he had said something similar:

“There are three major social evils in our world today: the evil of war, the evil of economic justice, and the evil of racial injustice.”

Two years later and just two months prior to his assassination, King addressed workers in Memphis, Tennessee:

“… You are reminding … the nation that it is a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages. … The vast majority of Negroes in our country are still perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. … Now you know when there is mass unemployment and underemployment in the black community they call it a social problem. When there is mass unemployment and underemployment in the white community they call it a depression. …”

If the US were an autocracy

For a long time the government in the US has been losing its power vis a vis the moneyed class. Now we have reached a stage where the government has to beg giant corporations to manufacture in the US in order to lessen the unemployment here, and to bring back offshore money. Many others, like Facebook, do not produce anything but mint tons of money without paying their share of taxes.

If President Obama were an autocrat with zeal to better common people’s condition in the US: How would he have handled the criminals who use this country to live a lavish life, use its people as consumers, don’t give back much to this country, manufacture in other countries, and, deposit their profits outside the US?

Obama would have screamed for his security guards upon hearing, “those jobs aren’t coming back,” and would have ordered them to arrest “this son of a bitch.” He would have then seized all his property, nationalized Apple Inc., checked his physical condition, and would have rendered him to China to work and survive. Others like Jobs would have met the same fate.

Obama would have called out CEOs of Google, Facebook, Tweeter, and other tech companies, and accused them of asking for favors from a black president, but of not hiring colored people. He would have then ordered them to hire members of minorities more than their number of population ratio to bring them at par with whites and Asians in the tech industry. All the income derived from these companies would be spent on projects to help the poor people living below poverty line live a decent life.

Then the CEO pay be at par with the average worker’s pay.

Of course, all their wealth would be confiscated.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

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