‘Pro-Business Capitalism’ vs. ‘Corporatism’

I am Pro-Business.

I believe in making money and a profit. I am a capitalist after all.

Corporatism is not the same as capitalism.

Anti-Corporatism DOES NOT mean Anti-Business.

Corporatism is not an old fashioned American can-do business attitude either.

Corporatism is the merger of Corporation and Communism.

Corporatism = Corporate Communism

Business seeks to support and enhance individuals willing to put forth an effort for a common goal.

Corporatism stifles and subjugates individuals. Just as government regulation stifles freedom, so do the corporatist powers.

Increasingly, corporatism has become linked with technology, which provides the tools and means to expand and dominate, and the economic motive for doing so.

Having lived thru and been a part of the Open-Source Movement, I can tell you the collective knowledge of individuals far outpaces that of the corporatist machine.

The death of the Open Source Movement was symbolized by the death of the original Napster. Corporations did not like the free flow of information, even though record sales were at all time highs.

*Corporatism, money and lawyers are a toxic mix.

*Individuals and smaller companies don’t stand a chance against modern corporatism. Everywhere, they are losing ground.

*Corporatism isn’t synonymous with capitalism, Big Business, or familiar notions of the corporation. This is different.

*”The acceptance of corporatism,” John Raulston Saul said in “The Unconscious Civilization”, “causes us to deny and undermine the legitimacy of the individual as citizen in a democracy. Corporatism is an ideology which claims rationality as its central quality. The overall effects on the individual are passivity and conformity in those areas which matter and non-conformism in those which don’t.”

*Corporatism could, if it chose, create workplaces that fostered loyalty, security and nurtured creativity. They had the freedom to take political, ethical or moral positions. Some even did.

*These corporations stopped taking responsibility for their workers, or for the cities in towns in which they functioned, focusing increasingly only on their marketing missions and whatever it took to get them accomplished.

*Control of these companies has gone from individuals with idiosyncratic missions to amorphous boards of directors, stockholders, analysts and executives.

*Corporatism permits only two goals: growth and profit. All other ethics and notions are subordinate, sometimes even considered malfeasance.

*Prior to corporatism, individuals had more freedom and opportunity. There was room for small businesses. “Can-do-capitalism” that has been such a tradition in the United States occupied one economic niche, smaller businesses and entrepreneurs another.

*Corporatism is something different, something new. It goes far beyond the usual concept of Big Business.

*Corporatism brings a whole set of values to competitiveness, relationships with workers, and morality. Corporatism is the corporation unchecked, the corporation becoming a political force as or more powerful than the government in place to oversee it.

*Individuals and individualism have taken a battering at the hands of this brand of corporatism, especially in the past two decades. Tens of thousands of retail businesses have shut shutdown because of the spread of Wal-Mart,a company whose ambition is to set up shot every 30 miles across America. Many millions of Americans have been down-sized, laid-off, re-engineeered, human sacrifices to the new corporatism. Dead-end jobs with no prospects, benefits or security have become a staple of the American workplace. Almost everyone is a free-lance worker.

*Communities have lost factories, business, sports teams. Writers, painters, other creative entrepreneurs are driven from creative market by cultural corporations only interested in huge numbers. Media has been almost totally corporatized, no longer able to fulfill traditional roles – like watching corporations.

*The Net is hardly Utopia, but perhaps one reason it’s experienced such rapid growth in so short a time is that it gives individuals the ability, at least for now, to create their own environments, to speak freely, and to preserve their dwindling individuality. The open source movement is a perfect example of a media/social/technolgical-movement that’s booming, even mainstreaming, online (it’s no accident that many of the Seattle protesters used free software to connect), but has no equivalent offline.

*Our knee-jerk political system tends to reduce all issues to left versus right, but this issue is bigger and much more complex. Corporatism has no ideology now but to grow and prosper at all costs, and in any context. No other mission is possible, and increasingly in the Digital Age, technology is the pathway as well as the result. In a corporatist society like ours, other considerations – workers? security, idealistic impulses, stirring visions – get lost in the details of marketing, data-gathering, bureaucratic manipulation.

*Leftists clinging to Marxist rhetoric may denounce corporations as fascistic – old ideas struggling to confront new realities – but corporations aren’t ideological enough to be fascistic. They are profoundly anti-democratic, but mostly as a by-product of their devotion to profit. Run by marketeers, they simply acquire markets, moving from one to the next like some unstoppable glacier, grinding everything in their paths.

*It doesn’t take Machiavelli to grasp that in order for corporatism to prosper and grow, it has to confront the Net’s culture and potential in the same way it confronted the other one – by lobbying the government for regulation, by entering technologically -driven markets with a flood of new products, by offering services and enticements no one can compete with, by ruthlessly blocking, acquiring or shutting down potential competition – all the things Microsoft has been trying to do.

*Corporatism de-humanizes everyone, from the pharmacist who has to close down when Rite-Aid moves in to the kid working in a fast-food franchise to the consumer on hold for hours, awaiting tech support that never comes.

*Perhaps the real political campaign of the Millenium won’t unfold on the irrelevant streets of New Hampshire, where politicians and co-dependent journalists gather every four years to bolster their own sense of importance. Maybe it began on the streets of Seattle.

*Excerpts pulled from “Seattle Postscript at Slashdot.org”


8 Responses to ‘Pro-Business Capitalism’ vs. ‘Corporatism’

  1. GraemeAnfinson says:

    Dustin, you make good points but capitalism will always lead to corporatism.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We are not moral enough to maintain a truly Capitalistic (free enterprise) culture. Honesty, integrity and a deep respect for our environment and others is a prerequisite, and is fundamentally lacking. Short term expediency is the norm.

  3. Nik says:

    # GraemeAnfinson Says:
    February 27th, 2006 at 7:09 am

    Dustin, you make good points but capitalism will always lead to corporatism.

    My response: capitalism leads to corporatism if is allowed to. Our United States Constitution would prevent corporatism if we actually followed it as the supreme law of the land! Unfortunately, most citizens don’t know the first thing about the constitution. This guy does – http://www.ronpaul2008.com

  4. Neil says:

    Legitimate Free Market Capitalism, the kind that has zero government involvement, will never lead to Corporatism, and this is because the forces of the free market (competition, the need to constantly maximize efficiency, advances in technology, all other vertical processes involved, etc.) will always regulate any business, corporation, or industry away from any type of corporatism harmful to the maket (because of the reasons above), and that much is obvious to any knowledgeable Capitalist

  5. Graeme says:

    Neil, you’re looking for a utopia. Read “the great transformation” by Karl Polanyi. Wikipedia sums up his argument well-

    “In The Great Transformation, Polanyi argued that the development of the modern state went hand in hand with the development of modern market economies and that these two changes were inexorably linked in history. His reasoning for this was that the powerful modern state was needed to push changes in social structure that allowed for a competitive capitalist economy, and that a capitalist economy required a strong state to mitigate its harsher effects. For Polanyi, these changes implied the destruction of the basic social order that had existed throughout all earlier history, which is why he emphasized the greatness of the transformation. His empirical case in large part relied upon analysis of the Speenhamland laws. In The Great Transformation he also presented his belief that market society is unsustainable because it is fatally destructive to the human and natural contexts it inhabits.”

    smashing the state requires smashing the capitalist market.

  6. […] vs. ‘Corporatism’ ‘Pro-Business Capitalism’ vs. ‘Corporatism’ FreeRepublicans.com I am Pro-Business. I believe in making money and a profit. I am a capitalist after all. […]

  7. Arjay says:

    I get what Neil is saying, that ZERO GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE could lead to a fairer and more legitimate capitalism where corporatism does not emerge. To do that, though, would mean government on any level would have to be business neutral, and I deem that impossible, because government on every level would need to stay out. That means, no more freebies for businesses. No more tax incentives to relocate. No more tax cuts, the markets can adjust to contemporary levels, and then they’re left there forever. No more lobbyists seeking the attention of government to pass certain legislation. While Neil would rejoice no more regulation, he should also realize, no more corporate welfare or favors, which means the end of trickle-down supply-side voodoo economics. As a socialist, I’m all for anything which kills corporatism, fascism, hypercapitalism, whatever you want to call it.

  8. I wholeheartedly agree with both Neil and Arjay. Big business corporatism succeeded not on their own merits but by using political advantage to kill early small market capitalists in the early 20th century. The Statists struck then and are now striking again to control what should be in control of the individual consumer.

    I recommend this reading as well:

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