Corporatism is the natural end-result of Capitalism. . . ?

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From my observations and interactions, people who dislike the idea of free markets tend to call the U.S.’s current economic system a capitalist system. They cite our current “capitalist” society for the allowance of corporate welfare, oligopolies, and the culture of planned obsolescence.

Those who are fond of the free market and its principles, tell me the U.S. does not have a capitalist economic system, but a “corporatist” one. Corporatism.

I bring this up when talking to those who dislike the idea of free markets, and a response I got was something along the lines of:

“Corporatism is the natural end-result of capitalism. When played out long enough, a capitalist society will eventually transform into a corporatist society.”

The rationale for this angle being, I assume, that as time goes on, competition is eliminated or absorbed, governments become more powerful/prevalent, and/or private-controlled fiat currencies are adopted.

So EPAutos readers, what do you think of this stance? Do you agree or disagree? Will capitalism always degrade into corporatism? I’d really like some insight.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Current and upcoming kludges/kluges, workarounds, jury rigs(used to be jerry rig, but “muh racism” social edict was invoked)

    Miles Glacier Bridge made usable with kludge after earthquake damage

    New Mega-Bungee Structural Re-Engineering of Downtown Kludgeopolis during the American Era known as the Brawndo era

    White House after first “Wise Latina” president assumes presidential office during the American Era known as the century of wise latinas.

    jerry-built (adj.)
    1869, in which jerry has a sense of “bad, defective,” probably a pejorative use of the male nickname Jerry (a popular form of Jeremy; compare Jerry-sneak, mid-19c., “sneaking fellow, a hen-pecked husband” [OED]). Or from or influenced by nautical slang jury “temporary,” which came to be used of all sorts of makeshift and inferior objects (see jury (adj.)).

    Jerry (n.)
    World War I British Army slang for “a German, the Germans,” 1919, probably an alteration of German, but also said to be from the shape of the German helmet, which was thought to resemble a jerry, British slang for “chamber pot” (1827), this being probably an abbreviation of jeroboam. Hence jerry-can “5-gallon metal container” (1943), a type first used by German troops in World War II, later adopted by the Allies.

    • Corpartism
      Let us recall the days of Anti (what’s the word for it………….oh yea) Trust…..mmm Laws. You remember, the laws granted to the Insurance industry way back in the 40’s, who since then has expanded (to include just about every major corporation) along with those “Laws” to a gargantuan Mafia like entity that owns everything with one of the if not the Largest Lobby group in the country that pretty much has a strangle hold (now think about this) on everything from “Life” to “Death”, that is the answer to the question “the end result of Capitalism. Remember when you were small/young and playing with a friend or brother or sister who was just a little older or bigger than you, and they wanted to have that one toy that would have made them the biggest and baddest player of the game. This is Corporate America today, we might as well forget about free markets.

      • Those corporatist cronies will never take away the dream of an open society based on the principles of personal and economic freedom. I can see it all so clearly in my mind, working for the free market as an officer of the liberty in the …

        L.P.D. Libertarian Police Department

        I was shooting heroin and reading “The Fountainhead” in the front seat of my privately owned police cruiser when a call came in. I put a quarter in the radio to activate it. It was the chief.

        “Bad news, detective. We got a situation.”

        “What? Is the mayor trying to ban trans fats again?”

        “Worse. Somebody just stole four hundred and forty-seven million dollars’ worth of bitcoins.”

        The heroin needle practically fell out of my arm. “What kind of monster would do something like that? Bitcoins are the ultimate currency: virtual, anonymous, stateless. They represent true economic freedom, not subject to arbitrary manipulation by any government. Do we have any leads?”

        “Not yet. But mark my words: we’re going to figure out who did this and we’re going to take them down … provided someone pays us a fair market rate to do so.”

        “Easy, chief,” I said. “Any rate the market offers is, by definition, fair.”

        He laughed. “That’s why you’re the best I got, Munkovski. Now you get out there and find those bitcoins.”

        “Don’t worry,” I said. “I’m on it.”

        I put a quarter in the siren. Ten minutes later, I was on the scene. It was a normal office building, strangled on all sides by public sidewalks. I hopped over them and went inside.

        “Home Depot™ Presents the Police!®” I said, flashing my badge and my gun and a small picture of Ron Paul. “Nobody move unless you want to!” They didn’t.

        “Now, which one of you punks is going to pay me to investigate this crime?” No one spoke up.

        “Come on,” I said. “Don’t you all understand that the protection of private property is the foundation of all personal liberty?”

        It didn’t seem like they did.

        “Seriously, guys. Without a strong economic motivator, I’m just going to stand here and not solve this case. Cash is fine, but I prefer being paid in gold bullion or autographed Penn Jillette posters.”

        Nothing. These people were stonewalling me. It almost seemed like they didn’t care that a fortune in computer money invented to buy drugs was missing.

        I figured I could wait them out. I lit several cigarettes indoors. A pregnant lady coughed, and I told her that secondhand smoke is a myth. Just then, a man in glasses made a break for it.

        “Subway™ Eat Fresh and Freeze, Scumbag!®” I yelled.

        Too late. He was already out the front door. I went after him.

        “Stop right there!” I yelled as I ran. He was faster than me because I always try to avoid stepping on public sidewalks. Our country needs a private-sidewalk voucher system, but, thanks to the incestuous interplay between our corrupt federal government and the public-sidewalk lobby, it will never happen.

        I was losing him. “Listen, I’ll pay you to stop!” I yelled. “What would you consider an appropriate price point for stopping? I’ll offer you a thirteenth of an ounce of gold and a gently worn ‘Bob Barr ‘08’ extra-large long-sleeved men’s T-shirt!”

        He turned. In his hand was a revolver that the Constitution said he had every right to own. He fired at me and missed. I pulled my own gun, put a quarter in it, and fired back. The bullet lodged in a U.S.P.S. mailbox less than a foot from his head. I shot the mailbox again, on purpose.

        “All right, all right!” the man yelled, throwing down his weapon. “I give up, cop! I confess: I took the bitcoins.”

        “Why’d you do it?” I asked, as I slapped a pair of Oikos™ Greek Yogurt Presents Handcuffs® on the guy.

        “Because I was afraid.”

        “Afraid?”

        “Afraid of an economic future free from the pernicious meddling of central bankers,” he said. “I’m a central banker.”

        I wanted to coldcock the guy. Years ago, a central banker killed my partner. Instead, I shook my head.

        “Let this be a message to all your central-banker friends out on the street,” I said. “No matter how many bitcoins you steal, you’ll never take away the dream of an open society based on the principles of personal and economic freedom.”

        He nodded, because he knew I was right. Then he swiped his credit card to pay me for arresting him.

  2. “The rationale for this angle being, I assume, that as time goes on, competition is eliminated or absorbed, governments become more powerful/prevalent, and/or private-controlled fiat currencies are adopted.”

    Brandon,
    The competition isn’t the issue. Nor is the government, exactly.
    Not even the fiat currency alone is the problem; we could use rocks and still have no issue, because WE assign the value (or, even if the gove’t does, it’s a FIXED value or it cannot be a currency.)

    The problem is the human factor – the idea that there’s only so much out there, so I must get more.
    It’s not enough that there’s a market for Coconuts; I must CORNER the MARKET, be the ONLY supplier, ONLY distributor, so ANYONE who wants a coconut MUST come to me.
    That means no one is allowed to GROW coconuts on their own land.
    No one is allowed to import coconuts (superior or inferior doesn’t matter.)
    No coconut farmers are allowed EXCEPT me and those who serve me.

    Walmart, KMart, Ford, Dell, Microsoft, whatever – as long as gov’t does what gov’t is meant for, and business does what business is meant for, there’s no problem, I believe.
    But the incestupus relationships that allow for centralization of power corrupt the entire system, erecting barriers to entry in the marketplace, barriers to trade, barriers to commerce, even – e.g., blocking international sales of Windows OS, for example, due to “national security” concerns….

    We can’t sell oil to Japan, for example – though their refineries could better handle the stuff we can produce (heavy crude). We like the light, sweet crude – our refineries were built for that. IIRC, Saudi Arabia was an excellent source for that.
    But we can’t build new refinereis without MILLIONS in expenditures on environmental impacts, union negotiations, land itself (NIMBY, for example), issue after issue after issue….
    Retrofitting shuts down a refinery, assuming it’s even possible – I don’t know the details of that changeover, maybe one of our Texan friends knows?
    So, retrofitting stops production, driving prices up, but also means you need to change suppliers (which leads to MORE trade issues, since now you’re back to “depending on foreign oil…” Etc.) And you lose money during down time, plus you lose product, plus you’re then taxed excessively any time you make a profit… Easier and cheaper to let it play out, and when it’s all SHTF, FUBAR, then you can go to Uncle Shithead and get subsidies to “Respond to the national crisis…”

    It’s ALL A GAME.
    Strip out teh game, get rid of the regulations against REAL competition, while retaining rules against improper business practices (e.g., firebombing or sabotaging a refinery is a no-no, and if anyone is caught, the person who gave the orders spends 50 years in prison. Maybe, since this is also an incentive to misuse, if it’s discovered the whole thing is a set-up: I.E., E-M decided to do “urban renewal” and blame Shelloil, sending members of Shelloil to prison for 50? Any discovery of such, the responsible parties’ descendants pay the price: life in prison. I dunno, need to be draconian, since they don’t believe in God’s vengeance. No God, no afterlife – no reason for morality. And in a society which not only will NOT shun them, but actually ENCOURAGES psychopathy? See Forbes, below – As Madison and Adams pointed out, no law can constrain the immoral. Constitution won’t work for any other sort of people, only works with the moral.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/06/14/why-some-psychopaths-make-great-ceos/

    The immoral won’t obey the law regardless. But without any further cost? “Oh, he’s a psychopath…” “Great, let’s have lunch with him!” “Or maybe Dinner! Hannibal, wait for us….!!!! We have chianti!!”

    This is actually where the NAP falls apart, for me. Many people will, by nature of the human condition, seek to extract more results from less work. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but they also see no problem doing it through harmful means, and then rationalizing it afterwards…. Think of sending men into a nuclear reactor to do maintenance. But the radiation suits are “too costly,” so you just tell the men that they shouldn’t be in there more than 15 minutes.
    Well, if they stay in more than 15 minutes, that’s on them! You warned them!

    Without Hell, or law, or social shunning (which requires people to be moral, as you likely have the cheapest product due to the lack of costs of protective gear…)…. How do we constrain the inherently immoral?

    Ultimately, there’s ALWAYS a resort to force. And the people who ascribe to the NAP, if in an immoral world, will always be losers socially, because they are then hampered by the very (superior) qualities that don’t encumber their sociopathic “bretheren.”
    “Those who hammer their swords into plowshares, will farm for those who do not.” Thomas Jefferson.

    We need to come to an understanding, which immediately puts “us” on the wrong path….
    Look up the creed of “La Raza”, “For those of the race, everything; for those outside, nothing!” Filthy Spics. (I have Spanish ancestry, BTW.)
    No matter what, it’s goign to go the same path… Unfortunately, even nature is selfish, and rewards slacking.
    Geese flying in the “V”? the lead bird does most of the work, the rest follow in the draft. When lead bird gets too tired, he drops back, and a new bird takes lead – and does more work. The flock (gaggle?) gets farther overall, though.
    Scavengers.
    Parasites (symbiosis): Worms in the intestines shouldn’t eat so much as to harm / kill the host.
    Cleaner wrasse, etc: True symbiosis, the wrasse eats parasites on larger fish – so evena moray eel or shark will wait and get cleaned, even allowing the wrasse into its mouth without endangering the wrasse…. But the shark would chomp down on anything else in its mouth. For that matter, birds doing similar get into crocodile’s mouths, IIRC, doing the same thing – cleaning out partially-eaten carrion, like a toothbrush, if you will. Anything else in a croc’s mouth? Well, it can snap bone with those jaws…. 😛

    And you can’t get rid of human selfishness, either – it’s essential to survival, and part of EVERY animal. Easier to steal prey or food than find/capture and kill on your own.
    Easier to take a (small) share of someone else’s work… Even better, many other sonmeone else’s work… than to make things yourself.
    A nickel per person per month from a million people? Even a PENNY? It adds up. Whereas a tribe of 10 or even 100 people, you now need to get larger “donations” from each person, to gain wealth and power yourself, and you need to be able to back up your demands. That means force.
    And if even 20 people who know you – they’re not faceless strangers in a tribe – you’re vulnerable. You can be “replaced.” Unless you can talk to the gods, or are the strongest warrior, or are the genetic legacy of 20% or so of the tribe (blood ties, power of family)…. You’re likely expendable, and even sometimes if you have one of those special gifts….

    Being too selfish gets you thrown out or killed.

    But with a few thousand miles between you and the faceless victims? They can’t react to you personally, and it’s only a penny or a nickel… Not worth getting excited about it.
    We forget it’s ONLY a nickel for this…
    And a nickel for that….
    And for that, and that, and that and that, and that, and that, and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and – and …
    about 50% of our income now “goes away” in the form of “only a nickel…” at this point. And we don’t even SEE most of it, it comes from the EMPLOYER, and is then extracted from our paychecks directly, and we’re then taxed on the money we’re allowed to keep.

    But which bureaucrat to talk to? Which senator? Which office of the IRS?

    No single snowflake is responsible for the avalanche….
    So better to send ALL snowflakes to the blast furnace, and then there’s NO ONE responsible, because there’s no avalanche….
    What’s left will be moral again….
    And identifiable.

    It will be personal.
    There will be accountability….

    • Jean, competition (lack thereof), government, or fiat currencies may not themselves be the problem. I was just playing devil’s advocate and finding rationale to support their stance. I’m really not sure how they actually would defend their stance.

      “as long as gov’t does what gov’t is meant for,”

      Indeed. We just need everyone to agree on what those responsibilities are…

      It is all a game. The free slate companies get after a bankruptcy doesn’t even anger me anymore.

      Thanks for the gem of insight. “No law can constrain the immoral” and “No God, no afterlife – no reason for morality.”
      But there are plenty of people who don’t believe in a deity who, on the surface, are generally moral. I’m sure we all understand no one is perfect, regardless of their beliefs. But some people manage to not believe in a god and maintain morality, so the difference must lie elsewhere. I’d like you or anyone else to entertain THAT.

      Those who ascribe to the NAP will lose more than just socially. They lead less lucrative, and more frustrating lives. They will probably die out too. Since most resort to violence in one form or another to meet ends, govt will grow to maintain order, making sure no proles get ahead of themselves. Nice guys will always finish last – I’ve seen too much to support that.

      In a couple of your animal examples, the relationships were mutually beneficial. The parasite class of the U.S. will kill its host, as slow a process as it is.

      From there down, I agree 110%. That’s the nature of the USSA beast. Those who set the avalanche in motion have been dead for decades now.

      • There is hope, Brandon.

        Perhaps not for me – or even for you.

        But, some day, the new frontier of the universe will be opened up. Worlds without end. It will be a glorious time. People who believe in the NAP – in human society not based on force – will be able to live that way, somewhere far, far away from those who do not so believe.

        The scale of the universe is such that the possible “hidey holes” (new planets in other solar systems) are limitless. It is like 1492 – only scaled up to an extent the human mind literally cannot even imagine. Billions of possible places to go. Imagine that.

        • Yes Eric, I can imagine that…

          Sounds like a lot of fun, and I envy those who will be able to do it. Potentially, each person could have their own planet.

          How annoying, that we’ll never be able to experience the thrill and wonder of a new planet.

          Perhaps you are right though, maybe the NAP mentality will eventually be the standard among the human species. But a seemingly common trait among us is that we don’t want offspring.

          Real fun to think and talk about. Maybe we’ll get lucky. Until then, my universal travel will be limited to the cool stuff in video games, movies, and media.

          http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/alien-civilization-670×440-130702.jpg

          http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/3900000/Alien-City-science-fiction-3999006-1280-700.jpg

          • Hi Brandon,

            Here’s what I suspect: The theory (if not practical application) of FTL travel is already known. Has been since the late 1940s.

            Where does a proton’s electrical charge come from? There is no known energy input. Check into this for some interesting “down the rabbit hole” theories about physics. There are a number of good books available, including one by a former Jane’s Defense writer on “zero point” energy.

            Keep in mind that just 500 years ago, the conventional wisdom held that the earth was flat, that to sail over the horizon meant certain death. Just over 100 years ago, there was no such thing as powered flight. And as recently as 60 or so years ago, most people – including many educated people – believed the sound barrier was insuperable.

            • ‘dark energy’ and ‘dark matter’ are the kludges in accepted physics that prove the kooks were correct. The question is how to harness it. I am afraid that school broke me, I find it difficult to think in the terms that would let me do it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand a kludge when I see it. All sciences and kookdom are heading towards a merge point. It’s going to take more scientists to cross over to being kooks and more kooks to cross over into being scientists. Regardless the courses of both are heading towards a merge point.

              I know ‘zero point’ in some form or fashion is real. I know things aren’t exactly as I was taught. I’ve done some experiments myself on a very tiny scale and got anomalous results. Nothing special, just a perpetual motion holder on the mV scale.

              500 years ago, even thousands of years ago -some- people knew the earth was round. Most of human civilization has been about keeping knowledge secret. Secret knowledge dies easily.

              This technology we have is fun, but ultimately it’s crude.

            • eric, I have some connections with people who work/worked at the skunkworks for LM. I think the consensus by most of them was that FTL would probably take more the form of something like the Stargate.

              I have no opinion, can’t do the math.

  3. Thanks for the replys, all.

    Mike, it so hard to be an optimist. But I’ll try that approach if I want to convince someone. Though I usually don’t talk to these people with the intent or thought of possibly changing their views. I just do it for perspective or interest.

    EricG, or anyone, what cultures/societies have had true capitalism? There always seems to be a power/leader in any group I can think of. (PS, when a Hilter example works, it works. The “law” is used to censor appropriate comparisons.)

    Phillip the Bruce, your graph description is perfect. I have your comment saved to my “favorite quotes” document. I’d love to see a name for this chart, and a position of various countries or states on it.

    Eric, the consumer discontent with basic cars is an example of the disposability/planned obsolescence culture we live in. It should be expected for people to have different preferences for the level of luxury in their cars, but the floor and the price keep being raised. It is interesting.

    • RE: “Mike, it so hard to be an optimist. ”

      No doubt about that.

      Anyway, you asked, “what cultures/societies have had true capitalism? There always seems to be a power/leader in any group I can think of.”

      It may or may not be not be capitalism, but you might want to check out Bionic Mosquitoes bits about the past to find a lack of a, “power/leader in any group”. He charts that shit back to the Middle Ages. And whoa boy, The Dark Ages weren’t all That dark at all.

      usually I’d point you to a direct post but lately I feel kind of beaten down, here’s a general direction,… the dude is Da Bomb for history [someday I hope he tackles how the Vikings “discovered” America 1000 freaking years before Columbus did… there’s some interesting links online about that. …Until there isn’t. It seems like lots of people would like to wipe that idea out of existence, facts be damned. …But I digress, here’s the link you want

      http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/

  4. Only “educated” Americans and Europeans believe that corporatism is the natural end result of a pure market economy. They believe this because they read books written by knaves like Naomi Wolf and others (university professors, for instance) who make a killing peddling their neo-Marixst clap trap to the very segment of society that has benefited the most from the market economy: the upper-middle income.

    In any case, this is a tough crowd to convince of anything. They are very indoctrinated. But one retort you can try is to point out that the natural course of capitalism is not monopoly but dynamism caused by the interplay of extinction and renewal of ideas, methods, beliefs, businesses, entrepreneurs, innovations, and so on. Evolution, in other words. Marx did not understand the dynamic element of capitalism and if he had he might have got a real job. Just ask your interlocutors to look around and take account of the changes that they’ve witnessed around them in their own lives. Use technologies as example, but it could be anything. Then ask them to envision if a world of central planning and top-down management could produce the amazing changes that have occurred in such a short amount of time. Be an optimist, not a doom-and-gloomist, and some people might start paying attention. Good luck.

    • Marx would NEVER have gotten a real job, he wanted POWER and CONTROL and saw money (economics) as the root of bribing the masses to do his will.
      He was correct, of course, most people are too disinterested in anything that isn’t immediately helping them to give a flying fig about anything long-term.

      But he basically didn’t WANT to work – he wanted to be REMEMBERED, and realized (like most scavengers) it’s easier to take from what others have made, than to make something yourself.

    • mikeLL

      Its almost ludicrous to think/imagine the possibles/probabilities of there being something other than a world so unlike that which you purport. If you will read my reply, hopefully you will understand and agree, the idea that human race is capable of turning around this “think” that everything that’s not (mine) is the first objective of life.

  5. True capitalism would mean no government at all, every interaction would be considered a transaction on some level. As soon as someone declares themselves ruler (and establishes “enforcers” to back up their claim) capitalism tends to devolve into mercantilism. This is because of the nature of some (most?) businessmen to seek unfair advantage over their competitors. Of course the stakeholders in the business are willing to put up with these shenanigans because they see personal gain (see also psychopathic CEOS -http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/06/14/why-some-psychopaths-make-great-ceos/). The government is sold a bill of goods when it comes to mercantilist policy, with promises of jobs protection and revenue from exports. In reality the citizen/consumer suffers while the connected prosper.

    The last 100 years or so have been defined by the progressive idea that the masses can not only be swayed, but completely controlled (to the point of acting against their own self-interest), so the “leaders” both in business and government, need to actively manage the economy, environment and even human bodies to create order from chaos. Stalin and Hitler took this thinking to the extreme, but ultimately likely, outcome. As our government continues to grow beyond the economy’s ability to sustain it, let’s hope we come to our senses before it comes to the final solution.

    Apologies for invoking Goodwin’s law…

    • Troof – I had a discussion a few years ago with my bleeding-heart, tree-hugging employer. I was complaining about something, I don’t even remember what, and he replied that it was because we had a free market. I said that we don’t have a free market. He said that it was freer than most in the world. I said that relative freedom was not the same as actual freedom.
      Think of a graph, with the origin, or 0 point, as freedom – NO interference in the market by gunvermin. As soon as you move off that point, by means of taxes, regulation or any other gunvermin interference, you no longer have a free market. If you move 1 direction, it is socialism. The other direction is corporatism (aka Fascism). But they are not straight lines, they are curves. At some point, socialism meets corporatism, and there you have totalitarianism.

    • Yep!

      I’d add – and this is just my personal view, not purveying it as a mathematical axiom – that the “Hamiltonian” lust for money as such (and the power that comes with) has become the dominant American mindset.

      We’re all dragged along by this pernicious undertow.

      Brent, for example, posted recently about the cost of real estate. It is high not because it has to be but because most people buy (that is assume debt) to the maximum extent possible, in order to buy the largest/fanciest home they can. This pushes out the building of more modest (and modestly priced) homes. Same with regard to cars. Government regs. and mandates have certainly made them more expensive, but so have all the got-damned gadgets and other overkill built into most new cars, because most people seem to want it.. because most people are not content with a simple/basic car anymore.

      • Throw leisure into the mix as well. If you have ‘enough’ money, then you can coast, instead of just working harder to make more money.
        I’m not even sure money in and of itself is that big of a draw – just helps you get power or leisure, whichever you prefer.
        Course it is good bait for a trophy wife.

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