crony corporatism


This was 5 years ago…

I’m so tired of this bullshit. Individual capitalists maximize their own self-gain through the accumulation of profits, while the state as an institution enacts policies that look out for the longevity of capital as a whole, specifically when the choices of disparate capitalists cause crises or civil unrest. Some Keynesianism here, some worker concessions there. That isn’t socialism – those policies are created to prolong capitalism and prevent socialism (i.e. prolong capital accumulation and top-down ownership over the means of production, and prevent worker self-management and broader economic democracy). The state, through its structural functions, maintains the status quo and keeps capital accumulation going into the long-term. You can call this “corporatism” or “cronyism” or whatever the hell else, but it will never change the fact that the preconditions of “pure capitalism” will always give rise to a legitimizing apparatus with a monopoly on violence to maintain the class stratification of “pure capitalism”, and after probably two days you’d end up with “cronyism” (read: capitalism as it has always existed) all over again.

A lot of misconceptions about what is and is not a result of capitalism exist because economists like Adam Smith have presented the system as a natural state of affairs in which the ‘invisible hand of the market’ controls everything.

Obviously the ‘invisible hand’ is based around the actions of individuals in a market, but ‘the market’ as a whole is often referenced as a reason for decision making. Price gouging occurs? It’s the market. Oil prices go up? It’s the market.

By pushing the idea that people act in accordance to ‘the market’ rather than the profit motive, it’s easy to avoid criticizing companies or individuals responsible for destructive or otherwise harmful decision making. It implies that these decisions are inevitable and have to happen to stabilize the market—which is obviously inherently very unstable. Then when the market does fail, actions are again, often not attributed to people, but to the economy as a whole having its bumps and turns.

This chaos has been attempted to be curbed, but we now ultimately go through a cycle of watered down reform failing, being taken away, failing, and being implemented again…etc. That’s because these reforms and regulations don’t identify capitalism as the source of the problem, they just try and put a bandaid on what is inherent to its functioning.

Then we get the whole ‘crony capitalism’ or ‘corporatism’ false explanation for actions resulting from the profit motive, which is, again, a way of presenting markets as a natural state of affairs that have merely been manipulated to work against people’s interests. Except it’s people, under capitalism, motivated by profit, making these decisions. They are not a separate entity or more corruptable than anyone else. They’re doing what the system encourages as a means of success.

So in order to help people understand why and how capitalism works the way it does, we have to look at its core incentives and structure. Not just capitalism in practice, but in theory.

You know, there was a time when I might have objected to the use of the word “propaganda,” because it is inherently a sensational term, and we already have an overabundance of sensationalism in politics. And perhaps you’ve never had any such qualms, or perhaps you have them yet.

But since NSA report after NSA report has exposed lie after lie from DC, can anyone really object to a description of many (I’ll not say “most,” because of the vast bulk of mundane reports [e.g. CBO statements] also published) of our government’s communications as “information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view”? I rather think not.

Most people aren’t afraid to criticize capitalism, they just pretend it’s a messed up version of capitalism.

For right and left libs it’s crony capitalism/corporatism/etc.

The thing is when you’re critiquing the profit motive you’re critiquing all “types” of capitalism. The profit motive doesn’t disappear when you reform it.

wardyrose  asked:

I'm having a FB conversation with a libertarian about why I can't accept libertarian ideals. We got to the point where he claimed my criticisms aren't for capitalism, that some propaganda machine is telling me that society's ills are caused by this imposter system people call capitalism, that he wants the true pure capitalism ™, which would be the best thing ever. Waiting for him to respond to my question on wtf he'd call this, what we had in the past, and wtf that pure form would look like.

It’s ironic that he argues that propaganda is being used against capitalism to equate it with the imposter corporatist system, because “we have corporatism, not true capitalism” is itself very much a piece of bourgeois propaganda intended to keep people within the defined limits of political discourse while making them feel edgy and subversive – basically the Matrix fan theory that there were two layers to the Matrix, to get people who escaped the first layer to think they succeeded in challenging the machines’ authority, all while still remaining completely within the Matrix boundaries.

“True capitalism” inevitably sets up the conditions for “corporatism” to flourish. When you have a small class of elites controlling the larger productive capacities (something characteristic of both “true capitalism” and “corporatism”), they’ll inevitably mingle with the political process to shape policy to align with their interests. Private/public collusion has been relatively constant since capitalism’s not-so-humble beginnings. In this sense, right-wing libertarians are correct in that we’ve never had “true capitalism” – capitalism where the state does not interfere in the process – but they deliberately ignore how essential the state is for capitalism to function properly. “Big government” (minimum wages, corporate regulations, welfare) is the state desperately trying to reconcile capitalism despite the latter’s innate flaws and tensions. Without the implementation of some “big government” concessions, people would’ve called for complete overhaul of this system ages ago. Furthermore, private property rights over the collective means of production and the subordination of labor to capital are systemic qualities maintained through the state, which grants them legitimacy and a police force to crush protest and popular struggle against concentrated power.

You’re totally right, too – when called out on the capitalism/corporatism distinction, the argument shifts around to either “we once had it” or “we never had it”. If we once had it, it was the glorious days of the Founding Fathers™ where “small government” was the way (despite, ya know, the rampant imperialism and repression of anyone who wasn’t a property-owning white dude); in that case, right-wing libertarianism becomes an obvious case of reactionary propaganda. If we never had true capitalism, then it’s because the state has always interfered and we just need to “get it out of the way” or smash it – more realistic in its understanding that we’ve always had “corporatism” but less realistic in its understanding of history and the way capitalism actually functions. Either way, we have capitalism when it’s convenient for a narrative (when you’re using a computer, for example – “capitalism made that!”) and we have corporatism when it’s convenient for another narrative (when you’re demanding systemic change, for example – “we’ve never had capitalism so how can you oppose it?!”).

Tell him that leftists don’t seek out “big government” or top-down managing of the economy – both of those things are fundamental aspects of the capitalist epoch, the former being the band-aids and Elmer’s glue designed to hold this crumbling system together and the latter being the defining feature of capitalism (private/top-down ownership over the means of production). Tell him that traditional notions of ACTUAL “small government” came from socialists, specifically through libertarian Marxism and anarchism (which has consistently had an anti-capitalist foundation, until Murray Rothbard thought he could make a fine bit of propaganda in the form of “anarcho-capitalism”). Tell him that of the variety of ways social deliberation can be handled, autocracy (decision by one or a small subset) and democracy (decision by most or all) are the two broad umbrellas they all fall under, and capitalism relies on autocracy in pretty much all of the social deliberations that deal with power, influence, and access to resources – in other words, concentrated power and “big government”.

I used to be a “we never had true capitalism” right-libertarian so I understand where he’s coming from, but the sooner he understands how fundamentally propagandistic it all is, the closer he’ll get to embracing genuinely anti-authoritarian ideas.

anonymous asked:

What's the difference between corporatism and crony capitalism? Are they the same?

They’re the same. The latter is a euphemism corporatists hide behind. Corporatists want more government intervention in markets, not less. By inventing and injecting terms like crony capitalism into the discourse they get the mob to champion the regulatory controls they desire. Because “capitalism” is the problem, not corporatism.

Read about the economic model of fascism and it will start to become clear. Read about the Fabian Society of the U.K. in the 1930s and their founder’s support for the corporatist economic models of Mussolini and Hitler. They sought to fuse corporatism with the social control of the socialist welfare state to engineer a caste system. The end result would amount to a contemporary form of feudalism where elites and their armies of technocrats lorded over the masses. It is an Old World ideology born of Old World thinking with roots in the belief of an elitist aristocracy.