If I lie to a corporation about my personal information, nothing happens. If I lie on the census, the penalty is $500. The census has a noble intent, but if I happen to believe public money won't in fact be more equitably and efficiently allocated based on my postcard, why must I be threatened to fill it out?
If you lie to a corporation about your personal information, that might be called "insurance fraud," for which there are absolutely ramifications. Much like an insurance company, the government compels us to pay a certain amount in to promote good behavior and indemnify against the societal risks of bad behavior. That's called social contract. "But what if I don't want to" has never been a compelling argument to me, which is one of the reasons I've never found libertarianism convincing. If you don't want to follow the social contract, then the social contract breaks down. When the social contract breaks down, and corporations (as well as individuals) are allowed to act in their own unfettered self interest, then you get the East India Company.
The East India Company may be a fair example of commercial abuse of power in the 1800's, but it basically was the government in India
That's the point. If you remove government oversight, you don't get better business. You get government by another name.. The difference between modern liberal democratic government and corporate government is that one is ostensibly using monopoly on power to enforce social boundaries and thereby uphold social order and manage use of national resources; the other uses that monopoly on power to maintain profit at all cost, no matter how brutal. I know which rubric of public management I'd be willing to trust more if I "followed the money".
Speaking of monopolies. You opened a previous portion of the discussion describing how Walmart might increase market share simply by improving their overall customer experience. The implication, I presume, was to illustrate how beautifully the market self-regulates through positive interactions to make both sides prosper. But it ignored malfeasance, because malfeasance illustrates how in the absence of regulation, the market cares only about profit by all available means. The means I supplied are absolutely tactics pursued by corporations to consolidate market share and increase profits without having to consider the quality of their product or user satisfaction. And the absence of end user harm cannot be conflated with the presence of end user benefit, especially if we recalibrate our idea of who the end user is. While I, some random Joe on the street might not care about corporate espionage so long as my computer still runs, if I was, say, the inventor of a certain kind of computer chip and I appreciated the revenue that my intellectual property generated, I might be kind of sore if somebody stole that intellectual property, and might appreciate the regulations that curb such bad behavior. As for monopolies, they decidedly don't result in cheaper diapers.
All this is to say, I really truly don't understand this dogmatic trust in corporation over governance. There's too much evidence being swept under the rug indicating how corporations would act in absence of regulation. In my eyes, mistrust is maybe the strongest regulatory weapon we as individuals have at our disposal. That goes for both government and the market. Why do we have to couch it as a binary choice between one or the other?
As for the opinion piece that we're discussing:
The purpose of the article is to ask if our mistrust in corporations is proportional to corporate misbehavior, compared to government or individual behavior.
Pish posh. The purpose of that piece is to present the author's opinion as common sense using a sort of gee-whiz, down-home-country-lawyer reliance on The People's love of a good, simple narrative. It opens:
I would initially expect most people’s attitudes to be pretty closely tied to their personal experience, more so than their book learning or what they hear on the internet.
And then expels paragraphs of hand-wavy opinion such as
I would not, and neither would most people. Maybe a few very unusual people would. But we can hardly be resentful and distrustful of someone for just behaving the way the vast majority of normal people would behave.
without ever relying on so much as personal anecdote. Even the portion on history doesn't refer to any particular historical example. The author practically begs his audience not to consider concrete examples or counterpoints lest it deflate the argument.
Never mind the fact that in the introduction, the author questions the sense of mistrusting the corporation over personal acquaintances, asserts that out of the three provided groups, the corporation is by far the most trustworthy, and then never addresses the enormity of that claim. I should trust the corporation more than my wife? My friends? My mother? It's an absurdity so enormous that the author seems to rely on us just kind of... accepting it?
And here's what I really don't understand. You're obviously very intelligent. And you're obviously well-attuned to historical precedent, and not afraid to buttress your opinions with examples. If I asked you not to consider history or legal precedent, you'd wonder why I'd redirected your attention. Moreover, you strike me as somebody who tailors his argument to the audience- the right tool for the right job to maximize efficiency. This opinion piece you posted- it bothers me because it asks its audience not to consider things too carefully. It requires tremendous faith not only in corporations, but in the authority of an entire stranger (not at all one of the "people I know in my personal life") without that stranger's ever having to demonstrate that authority. To whit, it's written for an audience of stupid people. And you chose this article over others to present to this audience on this site.
Then again, it generated discussion, so who am I to finger wag.