On The Atlantic's blog this week, writer Lee Drutman takes a stab at explaining just how powerful Corporate America has become politically in the last 40 years. He writes:
"Today, the biggest companies have upwards of 100 lobbyists representing them, allowing them to be everywhere, all the time. For every dollar spent on lobbying by labor unions and public-interest groups together, large corporations and their associations now spend $34."
This in mind, it's easy to understand why so many people have given up on appealing to their elected representatives for leadership on issues like climate change. How many politicians are going to plug the flow of campaign cash by pressuring corporate "people" to be better citizens?
Instead, some progressive types are working inside-out, via shareholder activism. In the cover story beginning here, Theo Anderson describes how little guys have grown to wield more power over the past few years, and documents some of the changes they've made and challenges they face.
Anderson's story looks at the Nikes and Googles of the world, but maybe there's something here we can learn and apply on a local level. In her exit interview with J. Adrian Stanley, outgoing Colorado Springs City Councilor Jan Martin notes that our local business community has "a lot more influence than the general public will ever understand." Read more about that, and Martin's other lessons learned from eight years in office, here.