The Powell Memo with Commentary

The Powell Memo was the precipitating event for the swift rise and astounding success of big business and its control of the United States, starting in the early 1970s. The memo presented a bold strategy for how the corporate life form could take over the key portions of the system, without the other side knowing what was happening. Unless they have read the memo, they still don't.

Below is the first page of the memo with its thesis circled:

The Powell Memo first page

The memo opened with the fallacious but highly effective appeal shown above. Note the key assertion that framed the entire memo:

No thoughtful person can question that
the American economic system is under attack.

This is The Big Lie Gambit. 1 If the reader swallows it they are hooked.

"The American economic system" was not under attack. In truth it was big business that was attacking The People and the common good. Once the reader swallows this first fallacy, the rest of the memo works. It's infective. So much so that the Powell Memo master plan worked. In twenty some years large for-profit corporations had taken over the American system.

Furthermore, thoughtful people can question bold assertions like this. As soon as you see phrases like "no thoughtful person can question" you should reject what follows, because this is a classic form of deception. It's a standard setup for an argument that has little strong logical evidence but lots of weak emotional evidence and mountains of rationalizations and lies. "No thoughtful person can question" essentially demands that you put aside rational thinking and just blindly accept what follows.

The biggest insight to glean from the memo is that:

Those working for the common good have no equivalent of The Powell Memo. In other words, the opposition has a master plan and we don't.

The Powell Memo with Commentary section from the book

The Powell Memo with Commentary is a 7 page section from the Analytical Activism book. You can read the complete section below or in this file PDF .

Background of the Powell Memo

Many system conditions and historical events contributed to the sudden rise to power of the Corporate Proxy Movement in the late 20th century. But the one that appears to have played the crucial role of the “precipitating event” was the now infamous Powell Memo of August 23, 1971. Here is the story of how the seed the Powell Memo planted grew, as told by Ron Hazen in a February 2005 article titled The Right-Wing Express: 2 (Italics and bolding added)  

Consider that the conservative political movement, which now has a hammerlock on every aspect of federal government, has a media message machine fed by more than 80 large non-profit organizations – let's call them the Big 80 – funded by a gaggle of right-wing family foundations and wealthy individuals to the tune of $400 million a year.

The story of the conservative rise that Stein [Author of a PowerPoint presentation called ‘The Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix’ and driver of the Democracy Alliance] portrays begins back in the early 1970s, when there was panic among conservatives, especially in corporate boardrooms, that capitalism was under serious attack, and something drastic had to be done about it.

The National Chamber of Commerce asked Lewis Powell, a former head of the American Bar Association and member of 11 corporate boards, to write a blueprint of what had to be done. The result, says Stein, is one of the most prescient documents of our time. The memo lays out the framework, the goals and the ingredients for the conservative revolution that has gained momentum and power ever since. Two months after penning the memo, then President Richard M. Nixon appointed Powell, a Democrat, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Powell told the conservatives that they needed to confront liberalism everywhere and needed a ‘scale of financing only available through a joint effort’ focused on an array of principles including less government, lower taxes, deregulation and challenging the left agenda everywhere. The conservative right, starting with seed money from the Coors Brewing family and Richard Mellon Scaife's publishing enterprise, moved forward to implement virtually every element of the Powell memo. It is a story of how the conservatives – in spite of political differences, ego, and competing priorities – were able to cooperate and develop a methodology that drives their issues and values relentlessly.

Starting with just a handful of groups, including the Heritage Foundation, in the early '70s, the conservatives built a new generation of organizations – think tanks, media monitors, legal groups, networking organizations, all driven by the same over-arching values of free enterprise, individual freedoms and limited government.

Stein describes how the message machine works. If Rush Limbaugh wants something on vouchers – it's immediately in his hands; if Fox News' Bill O'Reilly needs a guest to talk about the ‘death tax,’ he's got him from one of the think tanks. Stein estimates that 36,000 conservatives have been trained on values, issues, leadership, use of media and agenda development. These are not the elected officials, but rather the cadre of the conservative network. Stein figures that the core leaders of the Big 80 groups he studied are about 2,000 people who make between $75,000 and $200,000 and have all been trained in the Leadership Institute.

The wealthy conservative families that have been the early bread and butter of the movement and continue their support are relatively well known at this point, including Scaife from Pittsburgh, Lynde and Harry Bradley from Milwaukee, Joseph Coors from Colorado; and Smith Richardson from North Carolina. Important networking goes on at the Philanthropy Roundtable, where groups are showcased.

But the key today to keeping the message machine fed is what Stein calls the ‘investment banking matrix,’ which includes key conservatives like Grover Norquist, Paul Weyerich, and Irving Kristol, who raise, direct, and motivate. Stein estimates there are about 200 key people who invest an average of $250,000 a year and about 135 of them also serve on the boards of the Big 80 groups.

"Each of these groups are 'mission critical,' and they are strategic, coordinated, motivated and disciplined," says Stein, adding that the investment bankers monitor them closely.

And contrary to popular belief among progressives, the conservatives who are part of that machine are of various stripes – far right, neo-conservative, libertarian, evangelical, etc. – but what makes them so successful is they form strategic alliances around common issues they support.

Then there is the conservative media machine, which operated at full power to get George W. Bush re-elected in 2004. Conservatives and their allies were able to magnify their message through a network of right-leaning TV and radio channels, including Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel, which provided Bush and Co. with a 24/7 campaign infomercial - for free. Here was a news network with more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined, constantly repeating, often verbatim, the messages out of the White house and the Bush campaign.

More help for Bush came from the far-less known religious broadcasters. ‘Under the radar screen, the Christian Church community has created a formidable electronic media infrastructure and now plays a major role influencing public opinion,’ says Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. The religious media are producing and distributing ‘news,’ commentary and cultural guides, and their reach and influence are undeniable.

As veteran investigative reporter Robert Parry argues, Bush's electoral victory proved that the conservatives have achieved dominance over the flow of information to the American people - so much so that even a well-run Democratic campaign stands virtually no chance for national success without major changes in the media system. ‘The outcome of Election 2004 highlights perhaps the greatest failure of the Democratic/liberal side in American politics: a refusal to invest in the development of a comparable system for distributing information that can counter the Right's potent media infrastructure,’ according to Parry. ‘Democrats and liberals have refused to learn from the lessons of the Republican/conservative success.’

Memo with commentary

Next, so that you may see for yourself what the Powell Memo itself contained, here are a few key extracts: (Comments in green and italics are added. All bolding is in the original.)

Confidential Memorandum:
Attack of American Free Enterprise System

DATE: August 23, 1971
TO: Mr. Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr., Chairman, Education Committee, U. S. Chamber of Commerce
FROM: Lewis F. Powell, Jr.

The purpose [of this memorandum] is to identify the problem, and suggest possible avenues of action for further consideration.

Dimensions of the Attack – No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack. This varies in scope, intensity, in the techniques employed, and in the level of visibility.

Sources of the Attack – The sources are varied and diffused. They include, not unexpectedly, the Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries who would destroy the entire system, both political and economic. These extremists of the left are far more numerous, better financed, and increasingly are more welcomed and encouraged by other elements of society, than ever before in our history.

The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism come from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians.

Perhaps the single most effective antagonist of American business is Ralph Nader, who – thanks largely to the media – has become a legend in his own time and an idol of millions of Americans. The passion that rules in him – and he is a passionate man – is aimed at smashing utterly the target of his hatred, which is corporate power.

The Apathy and Default of Business – What has been the response of business to this massive assault upon its fundamental economics, upon its philosophy, upon its right to continue to manage its own affairs, and indeed upon its integrity?

The painfully sad truth is that business, including the boards of directors' and the top executives of corporations great and small and business organizations at all levels, often have responded – if at all – by appeasement, ineptitude and ignoring the problem.

“In all fairness, it must be recognized that businessmen have not been trained or equipped to conduct guerrilla warfare with those who propagandize against the system, seeking insidiously and constantly to sabotage it.

Responsibility of Business Executives – The overriding first need is for businessmen to recognize that the ultimate issue may be survival – survival of what we call the free enterprise system, and all that this means for the strength and prosperity of America and the freedom of our people.

The day is long past when the chief executive officer of a major corporation discharges his responsibility by maintaining a satisfactory growth of profits, with due regard to the corporation's public and social responsibilities. If our system is to survive, top management must be equally concerned with protecting and preserving the system itself.

A significant first step by individual corporations could well be the designation of an executive vice president (ranking with other executive VP's) whose responsibility is to counter—on the broadest front—the attack on the enterprise system.

But independent and uncoordinated activity by individual corporations, as important as this is, will not be sufficient. Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.

The Campus – Although [the] origins, sources and causes [of “the assault on the enterprise system”] are complex and interrelated, and obviously difficult to identify without careful qualification, there is reason to believe that the campus is the single most dynamic source.

What Can Be Done About the Campus – “The Chamber should consider establishing a staff of highly qualified scholars in the social sciences who do believe in the system. It should include several of national reputation whose authorship would be widely respected—even when disagreed with.

There also should be a staff of speakers of the highest competency.

The staff of scholars (or preferably a panel of independent scholars) should evaluate social science textbooks, especially in economics, political science and sociology. The objective of such evaluation should be oriented toward restoring the balance essential to genuine academic freedom.

The Chamber should insist upon equal time on the college speaking circuit.

Perhaps the most fundamental problem is the imbalance of many faculties.

The methods to be employed require careful thought, and the obvious pitfalls must be avoided. Improper pressure would be counterproductive. But the basic concepts of balance, fairness and truth are difficult to resist….

What Can Be Done About the Public? – Reaching the campus and the secondary schools is vital for the long-term. Reaching the public generally may be more important for the shorter term. The first essential is to establish the staffs of eminent scholars, writers and speakers, who will do the thinking, the analysis, the writing and the speaking. It will also be essential to have staff personnel who are thoroughly familiar with the media, and know how to most effectively communicate with the public.

The national television networks should be monitored in the same way that textbooks should be kept under constant surveillance. This applies not merely to so-called educational programs (such as ‘Selling of the Pentagon’), but to the daily ‘news analysis’ which so often includes the most insidious type of criticism of the enterprise system. Whether this criticism results from hostility or economic ignorance, the result is the gradual erosion of confidence in ‘business’ and free enterprise.

It is especially important for the Chamber's ‘faculty of scholars’ to publish. One of the keys to the success of the liberal and leftist faculty members has been their passion for ‘publication’ and ‘lecturing.’ A similar passion must exist among the Chamber's scholars.

Incentives might be devised to induce more ‘publishing’ by independent scholars who do believe in the system.

The Neglected Political Arena – But one should not postpone more direct political action, while awaiting the gradual change in public opinion to be effected through education and information. Business must learn the lesson, long ago learned by labor and other self-interest groups. This is the lesson that political power is necessary; that such power must be assidously (sic) cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination – without embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic of American business.

Neglected Opportunity in the Courts – American business and the enterprise system have been affected as much by the courts as by the executive and legislative branches of government. Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.

A More Aggressive Attitude – … it is essential that spokesmen for the enterprise system – at all levels and at every opportunity – be far more aggressive than in the past.

There should be no hesitation to attack the Naders, the Marcuses and others 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.

The Cost – The type of program described above (which includes a broadly based combination of education and political action), if undertaken long term and adequately staffed, would require far more generous financial support from American corporations than the Chamber has ever received in the past. High level management participation in Chamber affairs also would be required.

The staff of the Chamber would have to be significantly increased, with the highest quality established and maintained. Salaries would have to be at levels fully comparable to those paid key business executives and the most prestigious faculty members. Professionals of the greatest skill in advertising and in working with the media, speakers, lawyers and other specialists would have to be recruited.

Quality Control is Essential – 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.

Conclusion – It hardly need be said that the views expressed above are tentative and suggestive. The first step should be a thorough study. But this would be an exercise in futility unless the Board of Directors of the Chamber accepts the fundamental premise of this paper, namely, that business and the enterprise system are in deep trouble, and the hour is late.”

(This completes the actual memo and commentary.)

Some examples of the success of the Powell Memo

The Powell Memo led to a number of immediate moves by business to thwart the “attack.” David Korten, in the second edition of When Corporations Rule the World, 2001, page 144, describes some of these efforts: (Italics added)

[The Powell Memo] set the stage for an organized effort by a powerful coalition for business groups and ideologically compatible foundations to align the U. S. political and legal system with their ideological vision.

Among Powell’s recommendations was a proposal that the business community create a business organized and funded legal center to promote the general interests of business in the nation’s courts. This led to the formation of the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) in 1973. Housed in the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce building, it was the first of a number of corporate sponsored ‘public-interest’ law firms dedicated to promoting the interests of their sponsoring corporations. The PLF specialized in defending business interests against ‘clean air and water legislation, the closing of federal wilderness areas to oil and gas exploration, workers’ rights, and corporate taxation.’ Some 80% of its income was from corporations or corporate foundations.

In a 1980 speech, PLF’s managing attorney Raymond Momboisse turned reality on its head by attacking environmentalists for their ‘selfish, self-centered motivation…; their ability to conceal their true aims in lofty sounding motives of public interest; their indifference to the injury they inflict on the masses of mankind; their ability to manipulate the law and the media; and most of all, their power to inflict monumental harm on society.’

Business interests funded the establishment of law and economics programs in leading law schools to support scholarly research advancing the premise that the unregulated marketplace produces the most efficient—and thereby the most just—society. Business funded all-expense-paid seminars at prestigious universities such as George Mason and Yale to introduce sitting judges to these economic principles and their application to jurisprudence.

Corporations began to create their own ‘citizen’ organizations with names and images that were carefully constructed to mask their corporate sponsorship and their true purpose. The National Wetlands Coalition, which features a logo of a duck flying blissfully over a swamp, was sponsored by oil and gas companies and real estate developers to fight for the easing of restrictions on the conversion of wetlands into drilling sites and shopping malls. Consumer Alert fights government regulations of product safety. Keep America Beautiful attempts to give its sponsors, the bottling industry, a green image by funding anti-litter campaigns, while those same sponsors fight mandatory recycling legislation. The strategy is to convince the public that litter is the responsibility of consumers—not the packaging industry.

The views of these and similar industry sponsored groups—thirty-six of them are documented in Masks of Deception: Corporate Front Groups in America—are regularly reported in the press as the views of citizen advocates. The sole reason for their existence is to convince the public that the corporate interest is the public interest and that labor, health, and the environment are ‘special’ interests. The top funders of such groups include Dow Chemical, Exxon, Chevron USA, Mobil, DuPont, Ford, Phillip Morris, Pfizer, AnheuserBusch, Monsanto, Proctor & Gamble, Phillips Petroleum, AT&T, and Arco.

The Growth of US Think Tanks due to the Powell Memo

The Powell Memo of 1971 precipitated an explosion in the growth of US think tanks, starting with the founding of the conservative Heritage Foundation in 1973. This marked the birth of a new type of politically aggressive and openly ideological “expert” organization. 4

Business interests funded the formation of new conservative policy think tanks such as The Heritage Foundation and revived lethargic pro-establishment think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, which experienced a tenfold increase in its budget. In 1978, the Institute for Educational Affairs was formed to match corporate funders with sympathetic scholars producing research studies supporting corporate views on economic freedom. [See the graph for the effect the memo had on the growth of think tanks. ]

In 1970, only a handful of the Fortune 500 companies had public affairs offices in Washington. By 1980, more than 80 percent did. In 1974, labor unions accounted for half of all political action committee (PAC) money. By 1980, the unions accounted for less than a fourth of this funding. With the inauguration of the U. S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981, the ideological alliance of corporate libertarians consolidated its control over the instruments of power.

Business roundtables are national associations of the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the largest transnational corporations.

The first Business Roundtable was formed in the United States in 1972 [the year after the Powell Memo]. Its 200 members include the heads of 42 of the 50 largest Fortune 500 U. S. industrial corporations…. The head of General Motors sits with the head of Ford and Chrysler—and so on with each major industry. In this forum, the heads of the world’s largest U. S. based corporations put aside their competitive differences to reach a consensus on issues of social and economic policy in America.

Once positions are defined, the Roundtable organizes aggressive campaigns to gain their political acceptance, including personal visits by its member CEOs to individual Senators and representatives.

The Roundtable took an especially active role in campaigning for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Recognizing that the public might see free trade as a special interest issue if touted by an exclusive club of the country’s 200 largest transnationals, the Roundtable created a front organization, USA*NAFTA, that enrolled some 2,300 U. S. corporations and associations as members. Roundtable members bombarded Americans with assurances through editorials, op-ed pieces, news releases, and radio and television commentaries that NAFTA would provide them with high paying jobs, stop immigration from Mexico, and raise environmental standards. [All of which turned out to be grossly untrue. In fact, just the opposite happened.]

Two months after writing the memo Powell was appointed to the US Supreme Court, where he served for 15 years until just before his 80th birthday. One might expect that he would have been strongly conservative. But according to Wikipedia, “He developed a reputation as a judicial moderate, and was known as a master of compromise and consensus-building.” Powell apparently had no idea at the time that his 14 page memo would so thoroughly change the course of American history.

Finding the right high leverage points

Why did the strategy in the Powell Memo work so well? Because it pushed correctly on the right high leverage points.

How did Powell find those points? Not by modeling the system, as we are about to do, but by pure intuition. As proven by the effectiveness of the strategy he laid down in the memo, Powell was one of those rare people who could analyze a complex social system problem properly without use of a formal model. Because such people are so rare, the environmental movement cannot count on finding one. Even if they were available, there remains the question, how can we prove which person is capable of duplicating this feat and who is not? The only way to determine that would be to examine their past record. However, there is no one alive who has pulled off a feat similar to the one Powell did, it is that rare. This leaves the environmental movement with the only other way to do the same thing—with a formal analysis of where the high leverage points are.

But there is a second reason a formal analysis must be done: The problem has become much more difficult to solve. In my opinion, if Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr. (1907 to 1998) was alive today and was a progressive trying to solve the transformation problem, he would find himself unable to do it again. This is because the problem has grown far too complex to yield to an intuitive analysis, due to the cleverest, most formidable opponent that Homo sapiens has ever known. This opponent has countered all the easy solutions available to environmentalists, has changed the rules of the game to be even more in its favor, and most important of all, has a huge learning curve lead on environmentalists, who may never be able to catch up.

Why can’t environmentalists beat corporate proxies at their own game by simply pushing on the same high leverage points as corporate proxies? Why can’t they fight fire with fire? Because environmentalists cannot push as hard. They have much less money, numbers, and influence than corporate proxies. In addition, environmentalists prefer to tell the truth and not resort to falsehood. This is because at heart they are rationalists and humanists seeking the high road of the race to the top, not degenerates and corporate proxies who are all too eagerly exploiting the race to the bottom, where anything goes because the end justifies the means.

In order to succeed the environmental movement needs an entirely new way of thinking. They must find totally different high leverage points from those the opposition is using and push there. The top one was identified in the second chapter. It is the general ability to detect political deception. There is no known way to easily counter pushing there, because if the dueling loops model is correct, then there is no other reinforcing loop that can give a politician more supporters than the race to the top. This is because the truth has no higher master. Remember these words, because they may become the intellectual battle cry of the next incarnation of the environmental movement, the one that is based at last on science and experimental proof, and logical inspiration, rather than on intuition and emotional inspiration.

It is important to understand that the truth has no higher master is logical inspiration, not emotional inspiration. This is required, because a race to the top must be based on logical appeal. Dependence on emotional appeal has a shaky foundation, and is too easily a long slippery slope that leads to engaging in the race to the bottom, usually without even knowing it.

Let’s return to our discussion of leverage points. However important it may be, ability to detect deception is not the type of leverage point this analysis is concerned with. We are instead trying to find the optimum leverage points for the environmental movement to use to transform itself from pushing on low leverage points to pushing on high leverage ones. After it does that, then it can begin to push on the general ability to detect political deception high leverage point and others.

For example, one transformational high leverage point is rather obvious. It is the same one Powell identified for corporate proxies to use. It is united action.

We now proceed to find those transformational high leverage points by modeling the transformation that the Powell Memo so successfully initiated.

(This ends The Powell Memo with Commentary PDF section from the book.)

 

Footnotes

(1) The Big Lie Gambit is described in the sidebar at the top of the page.

(2) The article on The Right-Wing Express is so full of insightful material that we suggest that all serious problem solvers read it. For a further close look at the context surrounding the Powell Memo and the role of the memo, see The Powell Manifesto: How A Prominent Lawyer's Attack Memo Changed America. Some writers feel the influence of the Powell Memo is mostly a myth. For an example of this point of view, see The Legend of the Powell Memo.

(3) The definition of an ideology is from When Corporations Rule the World, by David Korten, second edition, 2001, page 72.

(4) Source of graph of Growth of Think Tanks: Think Tanks, Public Policy, and the Politics of Expertise, by Andrew Rich, 2004, page 15.  The text under the graph is paraphrased from The War of Ideas: Why mainstream and liberal foundations and the think tanks they support are losing in the war of ideas in American politics, also by Andrew Rich, The Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring 2005. In this article Rich stated that “The founding of the conservative Heritage Foundation in 1973 marked the birth of a new type of politically aggressive and openly ideological expert organization.”

RELATED INFORMATION
Authentic Reproduction of the Memo

Here is an authentic reproduction of the complete Powell Memo PDF with no commentary, created by Thwink.org.

This is as close as you can come to the actual typewritten memo. Only a hard to read scan is publicly available. The reproduction was created from a scan of the actual memo plus a webpage version of the memo which had the text.

A typewriter like font was used. The original Powell Memo ran 34 pages. This reproduction has reduced that to 20 pages in the interest of saving paper and enhancing readability.

The footnote style of the day depended on the characters available on typewriters. Powell used asterisks. These have been faithfully reproduced.

Italics and larger fonts for section headings were also not available on typewriters. Powell used underlining. This has also been reproduced.

The purpose of this careful reproduction is to allow you to see for yourself, in full authentic detail, what the Powell Memo said and how it said it.

The Big Lie Gambit

The Powell Memo plays one of the biggest cards in the deck of mass deception techniques: the Big Lie Gambit. On the first page the memo puts forth the big lie with its subtitle and the circled thesis. The psychological strategy is to immediately penetrate the reader's rational defenses while they are just starting to read the memo, when interest is at its highest and skeptical thinking is typically diminished. This powerful ploy consistently works on most members of its target audience, if used skillfully.

The Big Lie Gambit is described in the Wikipedia entry on the Big Lie. The key quote is from Hitler's Mein Kampf:

All this was inspired by the principle—which is quite true within itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.

Further Information on the Memo

Here's a long article about the Powell Memo. (A special thanks to Gordon Draves for this link.)

Here's a collection of documents PDF relating to the preparation for writing the memo and the immediate reaction that followed. Page 4 contains this letter: (italics and bolding added)

Dear Lewis:

Again, I would like to say what a superb job you did in preparing the memorandum for presentation to the U. S. Chamber of Commerce on yesterday. It is an excellent presentation of the vitally important case for American Business to go on the offensive after such a long period of inaction and indecision in telling the American people the facts of life as they unhappily exist today. It was good of you to take the time to come to Washington and talk over these matters with Arch as well as Chuck Harbaugh and Joe Gambatese.

I will keep you informed of further developments, and I do appreciate more than I can tell you your willingness to work so effectively on this important project.

With best wishes,

Sincerely,
Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr.

Here's another collection of documents PDF on the longer reaction, 1972 to 1976.

The success of the Powell Memo master plan in the US led to disasters like rising unemployment, rising income inequality, the Great Recession of 2008, and the Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010. More setbacks for The People are inevitable unless we can figure out how to counter the Powell Memo. For an introduction to this topic, see A Little Story about Corporate Dominance and the Occupy Movement.

Our Most Popular Pages

These average 9 minutes. They give a quick introduction to the Dueling Loops model and how it explains the tremendous change resistance to solving the sustainability problem.

The most eye-opening article on the site since it was written in December 2005. More people have contacted us about this easy to read paper and the related Dueling Loops videos than anything else on the site.

Why are large for-profit corporations so dominant? What are the side effects? What's the root cause of corporate dominance? What's a solution that would work?

The answers are all here.

Do you every wonder why the sustainability problem is so impossibly hard to solve? It's because of the phenomenon of change resistance. The system itself, and not just individual social agents, is strongly resisting change. Why this is so, its root causes, and several potential solutions are presented.

The most astonishing short read (7 pages) on the site, if you've never heard about it. The memo was written in 1971.