Targeting the Real Problem at its Core.. Corporatism

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA

While perusing the internet late night on what was a relatively slow day for substantial news I happened upon the following article in The Daily Caller. The well written article was all about how the Tea Party and Freedomworks President Matt Kibbe are teaming up "to promote responsible, sound business practices, and beginning next year, the two will begin encouraging supporters to boycott big business that lobbies for a “progressive” agenda."

As a strong advocate of free market laissez faire capitalism this sounds all good and well. After all what is more American than a market unfettered by unnecessary and restrictive regulation, government subsidies, and crony capitalism. A market that would determine the winners and losers based solely on consumer demand for a companies product and the competitiveness of each company in a given market. It works for me, and I would fathom to guess it works for most Americans that believe in a true market based economy.

As I  read further I became increasingly aware the efforts of  The Tea Party and Freedomworks are really  focused on boycotting businesses that support Obama's progressive agenda. In other words...
"Their primary focus will be on companies that lobbied for legislation like cap and trade and healthcare reform – two cornerstones of the Obama agenda.
“Big business has had huge impact on public policy,” Borelli told the Daily Caller. “It’s time to make business pay the price for lobbying for big -business politics..."
See more of this article here.

Okay, I buy the Obama administration's policies are not conducive to a truly free market based economy. And I am most definitely opposed to cap and trade as it will directly benefit our global competitors. As to ObamaCare double that. However, it seems to me the article is more about bashing the Obama administration than addressing the larger problems.

What I am struggling with, and I recognize it may just be me, is how in the hell did the Bush administration  and the RINO's escape criticism for their failed brand of free market capitalism? Is anyone in the conservative movement actually analyzing our economic realities? Perhaps they are more interested in tying all of our problems to the progressives without even looking at or recognizing the problem is not limited to just the progressives. What's the explanation for the 2001 -2009 years that helped set the stage for today's realities?

The more I thought about the article in The Daily Caller the more intrigued {and distressed} I became. So I spent some time researching information on the internet that made some sense and did justice to the concept of a capitalist based free market system. At lest as I've always envisioned and understood it should be.

The result of my late night search turned up a November 2008 article published in The Thinker entitled "On Corporatism and Capitalism." This article more clearly defines the problems with our current mixed economy and how a true free market competitive capitalistic system is in direct conflict with our current Corporatism.

As the article is well written, concise, and with pertinent links I an reproducing it at Rational Nation with full credit and acknowledgement to Jeffry Ellis at The Thinker.

Regular readers of The Thinker will note that I’ve spent a bit of time lately defending free-market capitalism, in light of the recent financial crisis and $700B bailout. In this post in particular, I asserted that the most vocal opponents of capitalism — especially those who are blaming the current financial mess on “unbridled capitalism” — have refused to acknowledge and address capitalism’s underlying values. They have failed to practice intellectual empathy in this debate; they have made no effort to understand capitalism from the viewpoint of its proponents. Consequently they are opposing not true capitalism, but their own unfair caricature of capitalism. They have fallen victim to the straw-man fallacy.
This month’s Cato Unbound topic touches on what I’ve been saying. The lead essay is now up, wherein Roderick Long (bio here) takes on the question of whether it is fair for libertarians to be characterized as corporate shills and big-business apologists:
No and yes. Emphatically no—because corporate power and the free market are actually antithetical; genuine competition is big business’s worst nightmare. But also, in all too many cases, yes —because although liberty and plutocracy cannot coexist, simultaneous advocacy of both is all too possible.
Long blames three factors for the ongoing confusion between corporatist plutocracy (i.e., undue corporate influence over the political process) and a libertarian laissez-faire brand of capitalism:
  1. Widespread agreement among liberals that laissez-faire capitalism and corporate plutocracy are the same thing. [They are NOT.]
  2. A widespread tendency among conservatives to cloak corporatist policies in free-market speech, further confounding the two.
  3. A tendency among many libertarians to reflexively dismiss many criticisms of corporate power as anti-market speech, when some of the criticism may indeed be well founded. This leads many libertarians to inadvertently defend features of corporatism.
The net result of these three factors, says Long, is that:
Those who are attracted to free markets are lured into supporting plutocracy, thus helping to prop up statism’s right or corporatist wing; those who are repelled by plutocracy are lured into opposing free markets, thus helping to prop up statism’s left or social-democratic wing.
Those who advocate free-market capitalism should be more diligent and explicit — both in their own thinking, and in educating others — in making the case that free market capitalism and corporatism are INCOMPATIBLE WITH EACH OTHER. You cannot have true free market capitalism when corporations can lobby and make deals for protection, and subsidies, and bailouts, and favorable tax codes, and for any other mechanisms that tend to defeat or interfere with competition. Anyone who says otherwise is either misunderstanding free market capitalism (whether willfully or out of ignorance) or is cloaking their own corporatist agenda in free market rhetoric.
Isn't time this nation confronted the real problems of our economic system and stopped cloaking them in the rhetoric of the free market pretenders? Just askin.

Cross posted to Rational Nation USA.
Via: Memeorandum 


  1. This boycott idea is entirely misguided. Don't get me wrong, I'm down with punishing those who push for crony capitalism, it's just that the way it's structured, it can too-easily be smeared as a purely anti-Obama.

  2. "How in the hell did the Bush administration and the RINO's escape criticism for their failed brand of free market capitalism?" The conservatives and true free market people better learn this lesson fast because it was the reason why the Republicans were so thoroughly defeated (and later the Dems) and why now we have an open Marxist in the White House. If we continue with this misguided notion that corporism is capitalism, we're going to a repeat in 2012.

  3. I generally agree with the tenor of this post and the post it cites. Let me offer a few comments, corrections, and clarifications:

    1. Boycotts are childish and ineffective. I've never seen a boycott actually work in my entire life. Maybe South Africa, but that was coupled with severe political and economic sanctions. If I boycotted every business in San Francisco that supported leftists or their ideals, I'd starve to death.

    2. When there are economies of scale in an industry, competition usually dries up. So it is not a given that free markets are the bane of big business.

    3. The housing and financial crisis began around 1996, not 2001, with Clinton's National Housing Strategy.

    4. Long's three factors are brilliant. For example, this crisis was not caused by unbridled capitalism, but rather was the direct result of government intervention to subsidize housing, and spur job growth and GDP. The Fed's loose monetary policies, regulatory mistakes by bank regulators, unwise mortgage and MBS purchases by GSEs, and subsidies by HUD all got the fire burning. The private sector just followed their leader.

    4. I'm all for punishing the Billionaires for Obama. If they're so fond of taxes, we should tax them everything they've made. But this feud has to end some day.

    5. The dialogue is healthy. The big mistake of the last Republican Congress was feeling it was their turn at the trough now. We can't let that happen again. But when the Tea Party is fighting Obamacare by telling the elderly their Medicare will be cut, I'm screaming at my TV that Medicare SHOULD be cut. This political nightmare will never end as long as we behave like a democracy and not a republic. Pay as you go entitlement programs have got to end along with the mentality that created them. But what politician is going to do it?

  4. Nick - Your points are brilliant as well. I agree with each of them, they are sound.

    Unfortunately you are correct in your question, "what politician is going to do it," Sacred cows die hard, if ever.


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