The news of the Los Angeles Lakers, Shake Shack and other large corporations taking money meant for small businesses has outraged most Americans. What’s more, lawsuits have been filed claiming that the big banks moved big corporations to the head of the line.
Now those corporations are rushing to “give the money back.”
If you think these corporations are returning the money because they suddenly had a crisis of conscience, guess again. They’re giving the money back as they scramble to clean up the PR nightmare they’ve created. They gave back because they got their hand caught in the cookie jar after shoving small businesses out of the way.
Would these corporations have acted the same way if they knew from the start their actions would be revealed? I propose many of them would not have behaved so poorly if they were governed by one word: transparency.
After all, isn’t transparency what motivated their sudden rush to “do the right thing”? Transparency creates accountability. It’s no coincidence that fiscal conservatives always clamor for transparency regarding government spending while liberals always demand transparency regarding corporate salaries, bonuses and golden parachutes to line their executives’ private planes.
The free market is built around transparency – consumers buying from sellers offering the best product for the best price and employees working for employers offering the best salaries with the best benefits. Information allows for the best decisions. Look no further than the review pages of Yelp and Amazon to see this principle at work.
Amazon and Yelp provide transparency by letting consumers know if businesses take care of their customers and practice good ethics. Shouldn’t we the people know if banks and big companies are doing the same thing, especially with taxpayer’s money?
To be clear, I’m not at all opposed to CEO and business owners reaping the fruit of their just rewards. They are the ones who invest all the money and capital, risking financial failure that many have already experienced. In the end, the free market should be left to decide how much industries should pay employees and investors.
But when it comes to how taxpayer money is used, I’m a stickler for transparency and clear accounting.
The taxes from everyday Americans aren’t a slush fund for crony capitalists to use at their warped discretion. What’s more, I don’t think we’re asking too much to ensure we know how taxpayer money is used when it comes to banks and big businesses.
So where do we go from here? Is it possible to bring much needed transparency to the relationship between banks and big corporations, especially when it comes to government handouts and how tax dollars are used?
I believe it’s possible. What’s more, I believe we can use a great technology like blockchain to bring transparency and accountability to government and crony capitalists.
Blockchain is a rapidly developing technology that can provide secure, yet open record accounting. While most people confuse blockchain as crypto currency like Bitcoin, blockchain is actually the technology that makes currency like Bitcoin work.
In simple terms it’s an accounting ledger that can’t be altered and shows all transactions or activities between various entities.
Blockchain is already being used in industries like real estate, and it’s rapidly expanding and bringing positive disruption to every other industry because of the security and accountability it provides.
So, while the benefits of blockchain benefit more and more industries, let’s make sure it’s also used to bring transparency and accountability to how our tax dollars are really used.
Because while I’m very concerned and hesitant about the trillions in debt we took on to provide relief to the middle class, I see the need and understand it’s a matter of survival for many families in this pandemic.
But I’m absolutely outraged at the idea of saddling my kids with a ballooning debt crisis so that big banks can kick small businesses to the curb while secretly helping their corporate buddies get a sweetheart loan to ride out this crisis in comfort.
As the Bible says, “what’s done in the darkness will be brought to light”, and transparency through technology like blockchain can be a pretty bright light.
Zachery Bryan is an actor, movie/tv producer and entrepreneur. He began his entertainment career early as a series regular on the ABC hit sitcom, “Home Improvement.” He currently produces film and television via his production company, Lost Lane Entertainment.