Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our new corporatist state!! Warning: might be dull.

First of all, I don't know what I'm talking about. It's just a bunch of half understood concepts jumbled together at 11:00 pm.

And I don't make many political posts, because they're usually pretty shrill and they aren't interesting after a week or so (and I am writing for the generations to come to show them what it meant to be fuckin' classy), but dang, the 700 billion is some crazy ass shit.

It's just so bonkers that we're on the edge of becoming a corporatist socialist state, and it's not really being discussed in those terms. And just so we all know what I mean by corporatist, I DON'T mean it in the sense of the folk "EXXON BLOOD FOR AMERIKKKA PIGS" neologism that a hippie can paint on a large puppet.

No, I mean historic corporatism, the economic system of Fascist Italy, and an way of organizing capital that exists in some lesser form in more or less every modern economy. In corporatism, the state might become the main client or minority partner in firms that serve a crucial role in the functioning of the state (this vastly simplified). In pure corporatism, industries are organized into cartels called corporations, and firms, while still owned privately or by shareholders, act as much as agents of government planning as they do as independent actors pursuing their own interests. Firms are guaranteed a certain share of government business, and the capitalists are allowed profit, while risk is absorbed. The government controls capital through licenses, patronage and in some cases, direct partnership.

It's interesting, because we have under Bush seen a social form of corporatism, in the form of Faith Based Initiatives. In pure corporatism, the state, through a process of licensing and deputization of social, religious, or popular organizations as actors of state policy, effectively co-opts their leadership by establishing the state as the source of their legitimacy.

So: profit and "good" risk stays private, while real risk is assumed by the collective. It's socialism for rich people. And like any economic system where the government attempt to fill in the gaps, reliable economic data gets smothered and we end up a lot more blind about about the state of the economy, local capital needs, even sociological trends. A bubble forms, it pops, everyone is screwed. An extreme example of this is the U.S.S.R. A more mild example was is the current Japanese economy, which has never really recovered from the 90s doldrums.

Now, outside garage sales, there are no pure free markets in the world. There are no pure socialist states. The people of Earth all must follow some degree of regulation, just as they all pay taxes and receive some benefit, whether simple capital improvement, or services, or full cradle-to-grave social benefit. Good, bad, what the hell, it's the modern state and it's here.

And while we throw around a lot of rhetoric about being the freest market in the world, we've been, de facto, a mildly corporatist state since the advent of modern capitalism.

So, here's what I'm thinking: let's stop pretending, Republicans, that your party represents borderline anarchism, and Democrats, that your party has anything to do with Jeffersonian anything. Let's drag our corporatism out into the open, and see where it leads us.

Vive Il Corporativismo!

Crap, that was long and boring.

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Blogger said...

Shit. The puppet was almost done! I went with "Cooperate America raped my neighbor" Impactful I think, though maybe not quite as attention grabbing as $700 billion is. Besides, being Canadian, the rape is thus far only "alleged".

8:44 AM  

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