Sunday, February 4, 2007

Chamber music

A friend asked me if I was a member of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce. Nope, I have not and probably never will join that organization. They don't really represent my interests.

That's not criticism, just knowledge of reality. The Chamber gives more power to the largest businesses: the hotels, the garment factories, the Duty Free's and the Joeten's. To be fair, those companies have to pay much more money to get that power.

Here, as well as nationally, the Chamber is not really opposed to big government, as long as it benefits them. They're a lot like these new-fangled Republicans we've seen in the last ten years. They should be, there's a lot of overlap. Again, I'm not throwing rocks, just stating the case.

I'd much rather have companies use the Chamber to influence the government openly as a body than see them glad-handing individual legislators. Of course, they do both.

Some twenty years ago, I shared an office with Cisco Uludong. I was trying my hand at PR, he was trying to put together a small business association. I thought he was on to something, but at the same time I doubted it would ever happen. He never really got over the first hurdle: answering the question 'What's in it for me?'

Obviously, the answer is the influence of speaking as a group instead of individually. The time wasn't right, but it was a great idea.

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