Regular readers of this Corporatocracy series should have a firm grasp on the concept of Corporatism. However, the uninitiated might presume that a corporation is merely a vehicle for protecting the owners of the enterprise from the liability risks of conducting business. Much attention has been devoted to the economic conditions and aspects when examining the corporate structure. But modest effort is found in business journals that discuss the social consequences of consolidating the entire hierarchy of political favoritism, access to capital and protection from competition that is at the heart of the corporatist model.
Corporatism as Theory and Practice by Joseph R. Stromberg offers a historic perspective.
“Corporatism and corporations are not yet the same subject. The key word is “yet.” If there is a relationship, it is historical. Very briefly, corporations — legally privileged from birth, pampered by courts, subsidized by Congress, with a social “in” with the most important state personnel — were likely, as ideal engines for accumulating capital, to produce unbalanced economic outcomes, mass discontent, and political unrest. Combine those engines with inherited dysfunctional institutions such as fractional-reserve banking, eminent domain, primitive military accumulation (e.g., the Indian wars), governmental distribution of resources, a venal party system, and a mighty executive, and you have a recipe for crisis. American elites recognized the danger fairly early. By trial and error they put together “corporate syndicalism” (Williams), “political capitalism” (Kolko), corporatism (varii), or “interest-group liberalism” (Lowi). It remained to be seen who (business or state?) would dominate the partnership. Hoover himself reflected in 1922 on the danger of “a syndicalist nation on a gigantic scale.”
Out of such a context the 21th century version of corporatism maintains little effort to satisfy mass discontent of the populace, because the will to achieve an independent livelihood has been stamped out so wholly by the merged state/corporate system. Viewing this alliance as a partnership vying for dominance is a false outlook. In this new millennium, the globalist economy is under total control by a financial dictate that makes laws, writes regulations, enforces compliance, bankrupts companies not in the club, subsidizes crony ventures, and imposes access to capital as a reward for playing ball.
This is not Capitalism, it is demented Corporatocracy.
Don Quijones writes in Crunch Time for the Global Corporatocracy about the closed door negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the US-EU trade deal (TIPP) and TISA.
“The hyper-secret Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which seeks to bind together the U.S., the EU and 22 other Western-aligned nations under a new system of laws and regulations covering telecoms, water, gas, electricity, transport, financial and legal services, software design, electronic data, tourism, healthcare and a whole lot more, is infinitely worse. The treaty’s text is designed to be almost impossible to repeal, and is to be “considered confidential” for at least five years after being signed.”
Basically, the nature of all these destructive trade agreements is reducible to “The fact that we now live in a world dominated by highly undemocratic and unaccountable supranational organizations (the IMF, World Bank, WTO, EU…) is no mere accident.”
Corporatism 101 is not taught in school or even debated in the mass media. It falls to online publications like Naked Capitalism to feature another persuasive argument by Mr. Quijones, which concludes.
“The rise of investor-state dispute settlements and the broad application of arbitration procedures are the ultimate victory in the global corporatocracy’s decades-long coup d’état. If allowed to take universal effect, the system will impose above you, me, and our governments a rigid framework of international corporate law designed to exclusively protect the interests of corporations, relieving them of all financial risk and social and environmental responsibility. From then on, every investment they make will effectively be backstopped by our governments (and by extension, you and me); it will be too-big-to-fail writ on an unimaginable scale.”
It seems that all the attention provided in business news is diverted away from the totality of integration under the auspices of a pseudo and hostile legal framework that only deepen the aggregate control over the social, political, economic and global functions, is silent by design.
So when Suarez-Villa, Luis, publishes in Globalization and Technocapitalism: the political economy of corporate power and technological domination, page 203, we all should take notice.
“It should not surprise, therefore, that a major objective of the fast neo-imperialism is to establish corporatocratic governance whenever and wherever campaigns of conquest happen to be carried out. Fast militarism thereby comes into the scene, whenever aggression is executive. Military conquest for its own sake is pointless, and the fast neo-imperialism has no real reason for being, unless the imposition of corporatocracy is part of the end game of conquest.”
The re-establishment of a neo-feudalism is not a function of privatization, when market forces are unleashed from the choke hold that keeps real competition at bay. Allowing businesses to vie for consumer favor is healthy under a free market economy. Today, there are few examples where the corporatocracy allows for free trading in goods and services.
This is the important lesson that techno corporatism refuses to accept. As the bondage economy expands, the serfs become expendable. Since the consumer economy is shifting into a financial speculation arena, the elites see little reason for continued subsistence of the bottom feeders, since they are not needed to till their estates.
Knowing this object lesson is the actual answer to the Corporatism 101 studies.
Maybe Bruce E. Levine PhD should be teaching class. Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite, argues that “individuals must recover self-respect, and a people must regain collective confidence that they can succeed at eliminating top-down controls. Get Up, Stand Up describes how we can recover dignity, confidence, and the energy to do battle.”
It all starts with a required understanding that the Corporatocracy economy is inherently destructive to individual liberty. If people are unable to learn this fact, life on earth will sink into oblivion.