- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Government as corporate handmaiden: anarchocapitalism is no solution

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on July 12, 1999 at 09:59:07:

This is a response to this:

: : notion of statism as essentially "different" from the transaction of capitalist business as usual.

: Because, I assume from your support of restrictive laws etc and th green party, you agree with the principle of statism (that some people have the 'right' to controls others)

SDF: I don't see what you're quoting, what restrictive laws do I support, with what social end in view? I once argued that statist social democracy would be better ON BALANCE than the sort of regression to feudalism (see below) you're advocating, and now this is twisted for the sake of the least-informative brand of anarcho-capitalist propaganda.

: and perceive capitalism in the same light - your argument against capitalism looks simply like an argument for whom 'should' to do the controlling. Whether it be the current behemoth institution of state,

SDF: So local city government counts as a "behemoth institution"? Ever attended a city council meeting? See, it always boils down to this, anarcho-capitalists think all government is always government by aliens from outer space or some such entity eternally opposed to "ordinary people".

: a mildly deregulated government or raw majorities (or significant groups) with regard to issues, or perhaps a coucil of wise elders?

SDF: From outer space, of course.

: : SDF: A more apposite explanation is that Americans recognize that the state has minimal power in the US when compared to the system of corporate capitalism that rules in the US

: But do they SDF or are you just assuming / hoping thats the way they see it.

SDF: Look, I pay far more in rent each year than I pay in taxes, and almost everyone else gets far more from their jobs than they can get from any government benefit. (I work for the government, however, so it's a little different for me.) It's the same with everyone else I know. Maybe the corporate capitalists themselves minimize their own power in their public statements of propaganda. Oh, I'm sure McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Exxon, Phillip Morris, Chrysler-Daimler etc. are SOOOOOO helpless in front of the power of "behemoth government"....

: : since the state is the handmaiden of the abovementioned system.

: They are not subserviant to it, they are very much the bosses and the protected businesses they feed off collude with them, trying to paint governemnt as 'nice folk' who are sadly under the cosh of wicked capitalists doesnt wash.

SDF: Firstly, it's you who is doing the painting -- I merely said that the folks in government were the handmaidens of the folks in business interests. The fact that the middle management is responsible to the top management in a hierarchy, doesn't necessarily paint the middle management as "essentially good" nor does it paint the top management as "wicked". The melodrama is what's playing within your cranium, not outside it.

Corporations control most of government policy in the US because since everyone (at least in the US) is far more plugged into the corporate system of rents and jobs than they're plugged into any give-and-take with any government entity, corporations decide where the wealth is going to be spread. This explains phenomena such as the rash of stadium-buildings in American big cities, where corporate owners of sports teams are able to extract millions of dollars (funded by municipal taxes) from middle-sized American cities, because if the taxpayers don't pay up, the corporate owners send the sports teams to other middle-sized American cities, and take the share of the local economies associated with said sports teams, to other middle-sized American cities.

It is this movement of capital that drives "free trade" organizations such as the WTO. Capitalist competition is supposed to mean the competition of localities for the business of multinationals, through the locals' offering of infrastructural perks, through the race-to-the-bottom in wages and working conditions that allows Nike its huge profits, through other forms of corporate welfare agreements etc.

Corporations buy our politicians for us, not just for the Presidential race, but for more local races as well. You're not seriously suggesting that these people don't get what they pay for, since they're paying such enormous amounts of money for it.

It's clear that politicians with more money can buy more advertising, become more well-known to more voters, appear more credible as winners. And, given the growing concentration of American wealth in the hands of a few, that access to these few is the way a politician builds up a war chest. Obeisance to the rich few is also the way one gets covered by the corporate-controlled mass media, GW Bush didn't build up a $36.3 million war chest by bumming $1 off of each of 36,300,000 voters, nor was he proclaimed the "front-runner" (nor will he become the next President of the United States with the help of demographers, media pundits etc.) in the same way. And it may be coincidence, but EVERY US President elected after 1973 has been anointed beforehand by the good graces of the Trilateral Commission, the organization unifying the media pundits, the government service personnel, and the ownership of Fortune 500 corporations in one great PRIVATE advisory board (well, it's the PRIVATE Council on Foreign Relations that does that for the US, too).

Thusly government has become a less-accessible commodity for the many. "Privatising" its functions is simply a way of handing the power of "votes" directly to the financial interests that must now control "votes" through the campaign finance system, through corporate domination of the media, through multinational corporate domination of local economies, and through the co-ordination opportunities afforded by the creation of elite communities. This is your basic regression to feudalism. The anarcho-capitalists proclaim the end of "government," which then sneaks through the back door through the proliferation of private security forces and the replacement of indirect corporate rule (what we have now) with direct corporate rule.

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