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Author Topic: Big Government, Big Business — Conjoined Twins
Daruma28
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Much of the debate between the ideological dialectical divide between the "left" and the "right" found here and anywhere else Americans engage in the great debate of two party political theater rests on a number of premises and presumptions...

That Corporations and The Government are opposite counterbalancing forces in our Capitalist market and economy, and that without the Government regulations, Corporations would run amok.

The "Right" says the problem is not "big business" it's "big government."

The "Left" says the problem is not "big government" it's "big business" with NOT ENOUGH "Big Government.

Which brings us to the basic assumption of arguing about the supposed framework of our economy:

To the "RIGHT" our economy is basically a free market CAPITALIST economy that would work just fine if only we would get rid of the SOCIALIST aspects the "LEFT" has instituted.

To the "LEFT" our economy is basically a case of "Big Business" serving as the mechanism for the wealthy elite to exploit the masses for their own benefit, and that we need MORE SOCIALIST aspects to be instituted (MORE BIG GOVERNEMNT) to rectify the wealthy Capitalists from exploiting the working classes. (Essentially boiler-plate Marxism).

The problem is that both presumptions have a bit of truth in them...just enough to keep most of the people in line with the ideological platform of either side, and gives just enough credence to either side's true believers to cause them to ignore most inconsistencies that always manifest themselves.

With just enough truth, cognitive dissonance can be rationalized away and deliberately ignored.

The truth is that we don't have a capitalist or a socialist economic system. Nor do we have a "mixed" economy.

Big Government and Big Business are essentially one and the same.

We have a Corporatist Fascist State.

And with the "LEFT" and the "RIGHT" eternally fighting over their erroneous assumptions and premises, the Corporatist Fascist power elite continue to do what they do while the "Left" and the "Right" consume themselves in fighting over the finer points of essentially meaningless debate. Which leads many of us to think that we are "FREE" because we are simply "participating in Democracy!"

To make this point perfectly clear: The abuses of "BIG BUSINESS" are only able to occur because of they bought the official stamp of approval from the very members of BIG GOVERNMENT they paid for.

Until the masses wake up to this reality, we will continue to suffer through "business as usual."

This is the very essence of the libertarian argument that the two parties are virtually two sides of the same coin - both "sides of the aisle" are integral parts in instituting, maintaining and expanding our Corporatist Fascist Status Quo.

For a better understanding of what I'm trying to say here, check this article out:

quote:
Big Government, Big Business — Conjoined Twins
Posted by Thomas L. Knapp on Jan 9, 2010

David Corn, writing in Mother Jones, takes issue with the popular sentiment:

quote:
For many decades, Americans have held negative attitudes toward the titans of industry. … But Americans also don’t fancy the counterbalance to corporate power: government. Since 1965, Gallup has asked survey respondents to choose the biggest future threat to the country: big business, big labor, or big government. Big government always wins — by a lot.
As well it should. The wisdom of the crowd may be imperfectly informed, but it’s spot-on in this case.

Government is not and never has been a “counterbalance” to corporate power. In fact, it’s historically been the primary enabler, the symbiotic partner, and a significant beneficiary of that power. The idea that an institution whose employees keep a revolving door spinning between Capitol Hill and the K Street offices of the corporate lobbies, an institution afloat in a sea of corporate campaign donations, an institution groomed to the express task of transferring money from the taxpayer’s pocket to the corporate bottom line, can act as a “counterbalance” to corporate power is absurd on its face.

A corporation, from its birth, is a creature of the state. Absent the intervention of government on its behalf, no such entity could exist. What we call a “corporation,” stripped of its government-bestowed benefits, is nothing more than a joint stock company — a partnership whose owners can trade their stakes in the company, partially or wholly, as unitized shares. Such a company is certainly an advantageous instrument through which to do business, but its mutation into a “corporation,” courtesy of the state, makes it something more.

With the issuance of a corporate charter, what was once a partnership receives an estimable benefit in the form of “limited liability.” It becomes, in effect, an “artificial person” whose body is composed of its stock shares. Liability for the actions of this “person” — even though those actions are in reality the actions of its owners — is limited to those shares.

Imagine that you and I build a robot, program that robot to murder people at random, and set it loose. Further, imagine that we receive government recognition of that robot not as our creation, but as a “person” in its own right. Finally, imagine that when the robot we built starts offing people as we programmed it to, we’e absolved by the courts of any personal liability beyond the value of our ownership stakes in the robot itself. Hey, we didn’t do it … that “artificial person” over there did!

That’s corporate “limited liability” in a nutshell. Without that second step of getting our creation endowed with “personhood” by government fiat we’d be screwed. Our victims would come after us for everything we had — our bank accounts, our houses, our 1974 Ford Pintos. They’d get their restitution to the full extent of our assets. But with “limited liability,” all they can get their hands on is the killer robot itself.

That’s not to say that most businessmen are inclined to set killer robots on the loose. They aren’t — they just want to sell a product or service at a profit. But “limited liability” reduces their incentive to do so responsibly by insulating them from the consequences of acting irresponsibly. It’s naive to think that that won’t produce unintended consequences.

Furthermore, “limited liability” artificially inflates corporate profits and capitalization by reducing the apparent cost of investment. Not the real cost — the difference merely gets shifted/externalized onto the victims of any prospective future torts — but the apparent cost is reduced by the amount that would have been saved for, or put into insurance against, prospective future liabilities. It may not be that all “Big Business” is big solely due to limited corporate liability laws. But “Big Business” is certainly bigger than it would have been in the absence of those laws.

As a business gets bigger and disposes of more wealth, its natural next step is to deploy that wealth for the purpose of protecting its advantages and gaining even more advantages. And the natural place to do so is with the institution which helpfully inflated it in the first place … government.

This no new phenomenon. Now Treasury Secretary, then New York Federal Reserve president Timothy Geithner’s pressure on AIG to hide bailout payoffs is just the latest visible tip of a status quo iceberg that’s been afloat for 150 years or more (see, for example, the Crédit Mobilier scandal, or the Erie Railroad Ring, or Teapot Dome).

The “counterbalance” to corporate power is not government, it’s separation of economy and state.


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scifibum
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I'm in favor of doing something to interrupt the cycle of lobby > legislate > profit > lobby. I'm not sure, what, though. Can we prohibit corporations from spending money to influence legislation? Is there any room to bring in better protections against conflicts of interest in government officials?
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Daruma28
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Tough to see a realistic answer here scifi. First off, trying to get people to understand the reality versus the false presumptions so many people accept as the baseline for disagreement is hard enough.

This system is far too entrenched to realistically think anything short of a radical revolution is going to change it.

On the other hand, I'd like to see more people wake up and stop playing the "RIGHT" vs. "LEFT" game they've imposed upon us.

BTW - it starts at the very top - the Privately Owned Federal Reserve System.

All politicians of both parties must bow down and swear fealty to their monopoly on printing fiat currency and continue to prop up their house of cards that is the fractional reserve banking system. That is the deeply embedded root of corruption that has given us our current Corporatist Fascist State.

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scifibum
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I don't know that we have to accept all of that to see there's something wrong with a system in which corporate interests heavily influence the government.

Revolution would suck.

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Daruma28
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It's not that corporate interests heavily influence the government...it's that they are intrinsically intertwined and basically act as one entity while the masses are fighting about one or the other!

Revolution would suck? Sure. But that doesn't mean what we have now is any better either. Our current system is unsustainable, and eventually we will hit a breaking point.

I don't see how it's avoidable at this point.

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NobleHunter
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Avoid it by encouraging a cultural shift so that profit is not regarded as end but instead simply a means: incentive for individuals to provide services to society.

Change commercial law so that certain standards of risk to be met before limited liability can be used.

Limit the government's ability to manage and influence cultural production on behalf of corporations.

Restructure regulations so that their implementation does not benefit or encourage the centralization of economic activity.

Shift away from a consumer society towards another form of justification for labor.

Provide an alternative to consumption and materialism as primary markers of respectability and status.

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Daruma28
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Avoid it by encouraging a cultural shift so that profit is not regarded as end but instead simply a means: incentive for individuals to provide services to society.

This is rather confusing, NH. How do you "encourage" a cultural shift?

Furthermore, how do you incentivize individuals to provide services to society?

Understand that that there are only two means of doing so - the profit motive of individual commerce...and coercion by Governmental power.

Both of which are conditions that already exist and does nothing to address the real problem of Government created cartels at the behest of corporate interests...

Change commercial law so that certain standards of risk to be met before limited liability can be used.

Limit the government's ability to manage and influence cultural production on behalf of corporations.

Restructure regulations so that their implementation does not benefit or encourage the centralization of economic activity.


NH, you're missing the point of the premise of this thread. You're merely restating the "LEFT" side of the erroneous assumption I identified in my first post! The bases for these prescriptions you make are based on the idea that the Government is the counter-balance to the Corporation...

Shift away from a consumer society towards another form of justification for labor.

There can ONLY be one justification for labor - self interest.

You work to support yourself and your dependents. Otherwise, why bother?

Provide an alternative to consumption and materialism as primary markers of respectability and status.

How do you do this?

Understand NH, I sympathize with some of your sentiments, but I believe you're confusing the symptoms with the disease here....

"Influencing the culture" and pointing to Consumption and materialism as primary markers of respectability and status" are merely recognizing HOW the Government/Corporation entity has created the status quo to begin with.

Consumerism and Materialism has been deliberately fostered by our mass media...the corporate owned, government approved, medium of mind control.

You cannot "change" these influences, because the entity that has a vested interest in exerting that control is not going to relinquish it anytime soon.

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NobleHunter
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How to do these things? No idea, but if they were done, I think society would be better.

Profit can remain as an incentive, but it should not be the goal of any activity. The goal should remain provided services to society.

The comments on law are about reducing the interdependence of government and corporations. Ideally, it would restrict both sides of the equations.

These influences, while fostered by mass medias and the modern corporations pre-date them. They also seem vital to modern society, so I have no idea how to get rid of them.

Finally, labour is dictated by self-interest but there are limits on it. What "support" means changes depending on the society. In ours, it seems "support" means accumulating as much stuff as possible. Essentially, the meaning of labor is to get money to buy stuff. Labor used to provide meaning simply by virtue of participating in a vital part of society.

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bringer
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So you don't like the Hank Reardon/Dagny Taggert model?
By that I mean exceptional people who reward merit while fighting of a government that would make men into cattle?

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Pyrtolin
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"There can ONLY be one justification for labor - self interest.

You work to support yourself and your dependents. Otherwise, why bother?"

That's about the single worst justification for work- keeping that attitude will ensure that work is, on balance, a soul-crushing endeavor that takes away from your life rather than fulfilling it. Capitalism only works for those who do not need to worry about survival- those whose labor earns them capital to invest in other projects and does not need to be traded away against survival, which is a commodity of effectively infinite value.

People should work because they have a stake in the outcome, because they stand to profit from the result and because the work fulfills their interests and talents. As it stands right now, there are many fields which are essentially closed to those that are not already wealthy because they don't easily provide the income necessary for survival, or the pressing concerns of survival put the costs required for proper education in those fields far our of reach of those who would otherwise shine in them.

Survival is the most fundamental need by which anyone can be coerced. Only by eliminating it as a concern can you eliminate the possibility of that coercion from any source.

That also answers this question:
"Furthermore, how do you incentivize individuals to provide services to society?"

The answer is that you give them an explicit stake in the outcomes. Everyone who works should have a direct stake in the profit made from that labor that goes beyond wages and salaries, which only serve to isolate them from the actual value of their work.

Similarly, many public services could easily be funded by establishing pools of money that is paid out to people who perform them based on the overall quality of work done and their particular contribution to that work. (Imagine, for example, if police officers (who don't need to worry about basic survival costs, mind you) were paid based on crime rate statistic benchmarks and overall community ratings of their quality of service.)

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
You work to support yourself and your dependents. Otherwise, why bother?
How do you explain wildly successful projects like Wikipedia that nonetheless rely on volunteer unpaid work?
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Pyrtolin
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"We have a Corporatist Fascist State."

"Corporatist" or, when you get right down to it, "mercantile", sure. I basically agree with most of your general sentiment, but continuing to shoehorn "fascist" in does your presentation more harm than good, because no matter how much you might try to cry otherwise, the word in all meaningful usage does explicitly invoke and refer to the entire system that Mussolini coined it to refer to- not just the aspects that it's convenient for you to claim you mean while implicitly cashing in on the rest of the understood meaning. (And if you are honestly not trying to invoke that meaning, then "fascist" is uselessly redundant because "corporatist" already means everything you claim.)

If you are not, in fact, talking about a system that fully copies Mussolini's then using "fascist" is at best inaccurate, and is most often completely dishonest because it's rather disingenuous to be able to speak meaningfully on the issues and not know the accepted connotations and denotations associated with fascism.

Perhaps some were inserted later, but even if so, the horse is out of the barn and no degree of protesting is going to change that fact; that's just how language works and evolves over time.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Change commercial law so that certain standards of risk to be met before limited liability can be used.

Number one on the list should be eliminating corporate personhood. That's a legal loophole that leads to horrible results.

I'd prefer to do away with limited liability completely as well. Investment should be done responsibly and with engagement, otherwise it's little better than gambling.

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KidB
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It's true that corporations and the government collude - I agree with the essay in that respect.

But that's not the whole story. They collude only insofar as it benefits them to do so. Which sometimes is a lot, and other times...not so much.

Government is also often at odds with the corporation, and even in direct opposition to it. If government and business were a monolithic entity, there would be no need for lobbyists.

The two are not friends, but they have learned how to exploit one another fully. It's a co-dependent relationship.

Even if you regard "the complex" as a single unit, any institution has internal rivalries - just as every government does and every business does.

The art of civilization is in properly administering the checks and balances. It gets you nowhere to say "they're all the same" and be done with it. Get rid of our big government and big corporations, and someone else with both "bigs" at their behest will eat us for lunch. That's what happens. That's how we got here, and why America's previous owners are confined to reservations, getting sick on our crappy agro-chow.

Our industrial base would practically vanish if we simply eliminated the corporation. But you can reform without destroying everything. Two-steps forwards, one back, it's the best we can hope for this century.

That's why I find "anti-government" talk to be somewhat irresponsible - specifically, it is an abdication of the responsibility to use the tools we have rationally and pragmatically.

Have you noticed? Government and Big Corps have expanded more rapidly since Reagan and the "laissez-faire" crowd that followed (Clinton included). Societies less afraid to call themselves "Socialist" are much better at tamping down the worst abuses of the corporate state - the poison food and the unbreathable air, for instance.

The conservative movement, by calling government "a problem," has systematically destroyed the notion that the people own the government, and replaced it with the meme that the government is a parasite. Only a society completely spoiled by industrial comforts could have such a delusions! No one in the Founder's generation saw it that way - government is what every free citizen practiced as a way of life. No, not individualistic self-government, but rather civic life. They saw fit to regulate their own communities (often to terrible excess).

The point is - you fall victim to the same bromides and half-truths as "Left" and "Right" if you think that "the conspiracy" exempts us from considering the proper role of government at all.

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TommySama
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"This is the very essence of the libertarian argument that the two parties are virtually two sides of the same coin - both "sides of the aisle" are integral parts in instituting, maintaining and expanding our Corporatist Fascist Status Quo."

In the introduction to "For A New Liberty," Rothbard explains how the right/left spectrum used to mean state/less or no state. But after socialism was introduced it shifted to state/state, which made it much more difficult to call for action that didn't involve the state.

In any case, capitalism is a crummy economic system.

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whitefire
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quote:
it should not be the goal of any activity
I think NH is talking about profit for profit's stake - IE. Profit from stock ownership

quote:
Number one on the list should be eliminating corporate personhood. That's a legal loophole that leads to horrible results.
I would agree with the idea that people should be responsible for their actions but when someone makes a mistake, but what happens when mistakes lead to:
quote:
Our victims would come after us for everything we had — our bank accounts, our houses, our 1974 Ford Pintos
Especially if we ourselves are "victims" of others actions. Personal responsibility for business actions only works if everyone involved is reasonable allowing reasonable restitution if something goes wrong.
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whitefire
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quote:
How do you explain wildly successful projects like Wikipedia that nonetheless rely on volunteer unpaid work?
I do think that people do have a vision for doing something great with no profit motive. That gives me hope. But for every wikipedia there are lots of googles. For every person picking up litter along the road for free there are 10 working in the sewer for a good wage.
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whitefire
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quote:
Similarly, many public services could easily be funded by establishing pools of money that is paid out to people who perform them based on the overall quality of work done and their particular contribution to that work. (Imagine, for example, if police officers (who don't need to worry about basic survival costs, mind you) were paid based on crime rate statistic benchmarks and overall community ratings of their quality of service.)
This sounds great, except where does that pool come from?
What happens in really bad neighborhoods where the police don't want to go because they don't see a way to make the community better?
To a point, we already do this - they're called gated communities, with private security, who are paid well for making sure they stay good communities.
Like I said about litter vs sewer. Sometimes you have to compensate people for doing crappy jobs, just because they are crappy jobs. The fact that they need done isn't the motivator, and neither is making a profit. A person isn't going to clean a sewer better so he can make a profit - he's going to do the minimum required to get the heck out of there!

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
In any case, capitalism is a crummy economic system.

Care to site some evidence on this?
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NobleHunter
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quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
In any case, capitalism is a crummy economic system.

It's like democracy in that respect.

quote:
Like I said about litter vs sewer. Sometimes you have to compensate people for doing crappy jobs, just because they are crappy jobs. The fact that they need done isn't the motivator, and neither is making a profit. A person isn't going to clean a sewer better so he can make a profit - he's going to do the minimum required to get the heck out of there!
On the other hand, with another set of cultural assumptions, he could strive to do a good job because that is the role he has in society. Or have some other motivation.

The idea of profit as an end comes from an anecdote about an Oil Baron from New Brunswick. He was supposedly asked what he considered an oil refinery to be. Rather than claim it was a means of providing jobs or producing products, he claims that it was a means of making profit. I find that to be a problematic assertion.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by whitefire:
quote:
Similarly, many public services could easily be funded by establishing pools of money that is paid out to people who perform them based on the overall quality of work done and their particular contribution to that work. (Imagine, for example, if police officers (who don't need to worry about basic survival costs, mind you) were paid based on crime rate statistic benchmarks and overall community ratings of their quality of service.)
This sounds great, except where does that pool come from?



Taxes, obviously. Same place it does now, however the allocation is done based directly on overall performance rather than prearranged wages.

quote:
What happens in really bad neighborhoods where the police don't want to go because they don't see a way to make the community better?
Then the police lose out on a good deal of money, because they're down on both metrics- lower approval and high crime ratings. They don't get paid and the money stays in the pool till they make an effort to actually do their work properly.

quote:
Like I said about litter vs sewer. Sometimes you have to compensate people for doing crappy jobs, just because they are crappy jobs. The fact that they need done isn't the motivator, and neither is making a profit. A person isn't going to clean a sewer better so he can make a profit - he's going to do the minimum required to get the heck out of there!
My whole point is to maintain a compensation system for such jobs, and to better apply market forces to ensure that they get done. If few people want to do a certain job, those that do take it up will have much less competition for the funds available to pay for the work.
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TommySama
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"It's like democracy in that respect."

More or less what I was getting at.

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whitefire
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Pry - do you really think cops will take a beat in a bad neighborhood if they are being paid on those metrics (approval and crime rate), getting paid poorly while guys who get plum beats get paid well?
Even if you adjust the metric to take into account risk, and relative increase/decreases in crime there just isn't any upside.
There are some jobs the market just won't or can't take on. For the "bad neighborhood" cop to get any results (and therefore pay) he would have to invest too much time/effort/risk to be worth it.
I don't know about you, but I don't want someone like blackwater security patrolling Detroit.
Also, if tax allotment is based on results how do you determine jurisdiction vs taxation base. By county, municipality, state, national?

Lastly, the whole premise assumes that the police have any meaningful control of crime rates. What about the schools, businesses, churches?

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whitefire
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"he could strive to do a good job because that is the role he has in society."
Really?
I'm not suggesting that profit is the motive, maybe its providing for a family, buying a new car, going on vacation, or having more money to give away to charity.
I'm just saying that some jobs need done and there is very little motivation for doing more then the minimum required. Some people might take great pride in what they do, that's true, but its like spending time and money on restoring and supping up a Yugo. There's just no reason to.

[ January 13, 2010, 01:39 PM: Message edited by: whitefire ]

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KidB
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quote:
How do you explain wildly successful projects like Wikipedia that nonetheless rely on volunteer unpaid work?
Wikipedia is horrible. It's a moderated blog masqueading as an encylopedia, full of fabricated history and lies.
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whitefire
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To get back on topic, I keep imagining what a world would be like where every business wasn't a corporation.
Like the days when Mr. Baker was a baker, Mr. Cooper was a cooper, and Mr. Smith was a smith.
I wish I knew what those days were actually like, but I'm not 250.
I do wish that everyone would be more responsible for their place in the economy. How many of us ask whether we're adding to the bottom like or making someone else carry us?
Corporations are part of the nanny state too. People think it is the business responsibility to provide jobs, but the best employees are the ones (in my experience) who see what needs done and do it.
I personally think we as a society would be better off if we encouraged people to find something they like doing and are good at and find a way to do it. Additionally I think it would be good if the government made it easier to do that.
Both those options take away from corporation and government power so I doubt it would happen. Maybe only in an anarchist utopia.

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whitefire
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"Wikipedia is horrible. It's a moderated blog masqueading as an encylopedia, full of fabricated history and lies. "
Even so, a lot of people worked hard on it with little motive other than making wikipedia better.
I think most people agree that its good elements outweigh its bad ones.

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KidB
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Corporate "personhood" doesn't mean as much as people think it does. The fact that a corporation is a fictional "person" does not automatically result in the legal protections it enjoys, nor does removing "personhood" magically improve the situation. "Personhood" is really just a shorthand way of referencing a whole set of traits which define the corporate form.

I'm not sure that it makes much sense to take on "personhood" en masse, since even as "persons" they are already treated differently.

Since "Personhood" was not the result of any one single court decision, but rather decades of litigation, simply repealing "it" is more or less impossible.

A better solution is to create a stronger federal baseline of corporate regulation, rather than leaving it to the states to set their own standards. State incorporation and the "race to the bottom" - competing for more permissive laws - is really what led to our current situation.

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KidB
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quote:
Corporations are part of the nanny state too.
I agree. I think the United States ended up in a worse situation in this respect than, say, Europe or Japan, as a result of the Cold War, where corporate muscle was relied upon to wage economic warfare.
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Pyrtolin
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One of the big areas where it becomes a problem is corporate speech- the idea that free speech protections should even remotely apply to corporate entities, when the opposite is actually true; as entities which depend on the government for their existence, their speech (which is generally to say political spending) should be actively restricted and regulated to prevent conflicts of interest.
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KidB
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Py,

Very true. Advertising, of course, does not enjoy the same 1A protection as other forms of speech - but even still, it is not regulated enough.

Here's something very specific, though, that would make a world of difference, and it would not require pulling the rug out from under everything completely: bring back the requirement that a corporate charter state a specific business purpose, limited to a single or a small number of related activities.

Many years ago, corporations could only state one purpose (like "building houses" or "farming"). Now, they can state "any legal purpose" and use their powers to engage in whatever activity they like. This is one way they get too big.

We could also pass Glass-Steagall type prohibitions to keep their size and diversity to more moderate, manageable levels.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
One of the big areas where it becomes a problem is corporate speech- the idea that free speech protections should even remotely apply to corporate entities, when the opposite is actually true; as entities which depend on the government for their existence, their speech (which is generally to say political spending) should be actively restricted and regulated to prevent conflicts of interest.

I think the US benefits from the marketplace of ideas, more than it does from the actual economic marketplace. Quieting voices is seldom a good thing.
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KidB
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quote:
I think the US benefits from the marketplace of ideas, more than it does from the actual economic marketplace. Quieting voices is seldom a good thing.
Should the government be actively funding and supporting certain voices at the expense of others? Because that is what our current system does.
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Daruma28
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@ Komrade Pyrtolin -

That's about the single worst justification for work- keeping that attitude will ensure that work is, on balance, a soul-crushing endeavor that takes away from your life rather than fulfilling it.

So says the foremost proponent of marxist economic theory on this site. [LOL]

Apparently you fail to make the connection between: "People should work because they have a stake in the outcome"

...and: "You work to support yourself and your dependents."

There is no more important stake than your own living and those that depend on you to provide for them. The rest of your argugment, as usual, relies on the false dichotomy of comparing "capitalism" and "social justice" when in fact much of your arguments about the unfairness are directly attributed to our corporatist/fascist economy.

To put it simply - whether you enjoy your work or not, the fruits of your labor - your earnings, should go to benefit you and your dependents. One would not have resentment seeing their earnings used to pay for their own children's food, clothing and shelter. That is a self-interest motivation that is both powerful and good for society as a whole.

On the other hand, we get "social justice" advocates such as yourself that are always whining about "fairness" who use the power of the state to forcibly confiscate a portion of everyone's earnings to pay for those parents who don't even bother to try and provide for their own children...and you have call that "fairness."

Those that work hard to provide for their own certainly want to tell folks like you to take your sense of "social justice" and shove it up your ass for advocating that we who provide for our own must provide for someone who doesn't want to provide for themselves.

but continuing to shoehorn "fascist" in does your presentation more harm than good, because no matter how much you might try to cry otherwise, the word in all meaningful usage does explicitly invoke and refer to the entire system that Mussolini coined it to refer to- not just the aspects that it's convenient for you to claim you mean while implicitly cashing in on the rest of the understood meaning.

Now your quibbling over semantics...and of course, as a proponent of progressive leftist ideology, I'm sure you hate my attempt to "reclaim" the accurate definition of fascism, since it is the favorite leftist "scare word" to use against the "right." Sorry - if one uses the definition of fascism as used by it's proponents at the time it was implemented, it most certainly does accurately describe our current status quo. Just because we do not have brown shirts actively physically assaulting dissidents in the streets does not mean we do not live in a fascist state.

Fascism is NOT a "right" or a "left" ideology. In fact, it depends on keeping the masses divided along those lines to become established.


@ KidB -

If government and business were a monolithic entity, there would be no need for lobbyists.

No, while I'm calling it the same entity - that's a "big picture" metaphor - much like calling organized crime, "the Mafia"...but even in the mafia, you have separate families that compete with each other in some areas, while they collude in others.

Lobbyists is the direct mechanism for which the Government is able to sell influence to the highest corporate bidder. That doesn't make it any less of a racket.


Very true. Advertising, of course, does not enjoy the same 1A protection as other forms of speech - but even still, it is not regulated enough.


I'm still amazed kid that you can still only see part of the picture while steadfastly refusing to recognize the larger one here: IT IS PRECISELY THROUGH "REGULATION" THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS ABLE TO GRANT CARTELS TO CORPORATIONS.

"Regulation" is the rationalization used for corporations to buy influence so as to raise significant barriers to entry of any new competitors in any particular market, and/or to drive out existing competitors.

State incorporation and the "race to the bottom" - competing for more permissive laws - is really what led to our current situation.

You got it precisely backwards.

Look Kid, the biggest corporate influences in our society today are all bought and paid for at the Federal level - big media, big agriculture, big oil, federalized education...

..It is precisely through the Federalization and centralization of so many industries and government entities that "regulate" them that has given corporations the most influence in our culture, our society and our legal system.

As long as you continue to play the left/right dialectic game - which certainly encompasses your entire effort to "blame reagan" more than "clinton" or whatever.

For the fascist corporatist state to further entrench itself into power, it needs both a left and a right to advance. As long as you cling to the illusion that the "left" is "not as bad' as the "right" you are most certainly falling into the role of useful idiot for the status quo.

[ January 13, 2010, 04:51 PM: Message edited by: Daruma28 ]

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NobleHunter
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I think you're confusing laissez faire regulation with more interventionist types. The current scheme of regulation (and other forms of restraining corporate activity) seems to be based on giving them as much freedom as possible. Let them do whatever they can do to make a profit.

If radical new constraints were put upon corporations, such as KidB's suggestion of single purpose charters, it would decrease the size of corporations - and their power - without giving the existing players an unfair advantage, as some of the existing rules do.

This isn't about right/left; this is about one approach to restrain and control corporations.

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Daruma28
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Noble...much of the 'regulation' I'm referring to is not even patently obvious to the unwitting average person.

While most folks would think that on it's face, "regulation" of Big Tobacco is a 'good' thing, since "Everybody knows Tobacco is BAD BAD BAD!" what they don't realize is that these very entities that "regulate" tobacco actually impose sigificant barriers to entry into a market that is otherwise a pretty easy one to get into (tobacco is an easy plant to grow and harvest).

Thanks to regulations and fees imposed by the government, just about all tobacco in this country is grown, produced, marketed and sold by 3-4 major corporations.

They more than willingly pay the "tobacco settlements" to the States. The Governments get to fool the masses into thinking they are "doing something about the problems of tobacco" while they are in fact granting cartel powers in the tobacco marketplace to these few giant corporations.

And that's just one example...this is how our REAL world Government/Corporatist fascist state works, writ large across almost every facet of society.

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TommySama
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"While most folks would think that on it's face, "regulation" of Big Tobacco is a 'good' thing, since "Everybody knows Tobacco is BAD BAD BAD!" what they don't realize is that these very entities that "regulate" tobacco actually impose sigificant barriers to entry into a market that is otherwise a pretty easy one to get into (tobacco is an easy plant to grow and harvest)."

Yeah. In Minnesota shredded tobacco had ridiculous tax hike. From the Minnesota Daily:

quote:
The federal tax increase affects all tobacco products, but loose tobacco is facing the most significant change — from a $1.10 per pound tax to a whopping $24.78 per pound tax.
Cigarette taxes increased from around $0.30 to about $1. Why did shredded tobacco get hit hardest? I bet those companies don't have enough money to bribe politicians.
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scifibum
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"Why did shredded tobacco get hit hardest?"

In all likelihood, because it was being taxed at a drastically lower rate compared to cigarettes prior to the hike.

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KidB
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quote:
I'm still amazed kid that you can still only see part of the picture while steadfastly refusing to recognize the larger one here:
Heh. Surely you know by now that I feel the same way about you. [Razz]

quote:
IT IS PRECISELY THROUGH "REGULATION" THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS ABLE TO GRANT CARTELS TO CORPORATIONS.

No need to shout. I can hear you just fine.

What if I were to say that "it is precisely through dogs that the police confiscate marijuana" or "it is precisely through smelting that people make guns to hold up banks", should I outlaw dogs and smelting?

More interestingly, what if I simply said "it is precisely through LAWS that the government is able to grant cartels to corporations."

The statement is equally true. Are we against "laws" now?

You can use regulations to curtail OR enhance corporate power. It just depends on what laws you pass.

You mistakenly believe - as most mistakenly believe - that corporations are more heavily regulated than in the past. Not so! The historical trend from the days of the founders to the present has been a steady reduction in the kind of bright-line restrictions and limitations placed on corporations. Oh, sure, there's more "red tape" and lengthy statutory BS, but the strict rules which used to restrain the size and scope of corporate activity have been heavily eroded.

There's more regulatory micro-management, but less actual restriction on so-called "freedom of contract."

quote:
"Regulation" is the rationalization used for corporations to buy influence so as to raise significant barriers to entry of any new competitors in any particular market, and/or to drive out existing competitors.

Um...what? An example please - there are too many possible interpretations to this statement, and I don't want to argue with a straw man.

quote:

Look Kid, the biggest corporate influences in our society today are all bought and paid for at the Federal level - big media, big agriculture, big oil, federalized education...

..It is precisely through the Federalization and centralization of so many industries and government entities that "regulate" them that has given corporations the most influence in our culture, our society and our legal system.


That's just not true. There are no federal incorporation laws except in very limited circumstances. The big corps which you list are regulated by states - usually Delaware.

quote:
As long as you continue to play the left/right dialectic game - which certainly encompasses your entire effort to "blame reagan" more than "clinton" or whatever.
I don't blame Reagan more than Clinton. I have specifically said otherwise more times than I can count. In many ways, I blame Clinton more -- but I see them as part of the same trend.

And no, I think you are perpetrating a certain "useful idiocy" by continuing to impute some left-wing motive to my views.

quote:
As long as you cling to the illusion that the "left" is "not as bad' as the "right" you are most certainly falling into the role of useful idiot for the status quo.

I don't. I have no such illusion. I really wish you'd stop saying this. I have never said it.

You're being inconsistent Daruma. If you acknowledge that left and right are the same, then why do you accuse me of condemning "the right" over the left when I take on Reagan?

Please do me a favor and assume from now on that I'm NOT a partisan party hack. You're wasting time putting forth views I did not espouse.

[ January 13, 2010, 07:18 PM: Message edited by: KidB ]

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KidB
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quote:
While most folks would think that on it's face, "regulation" of Big Tobacco is a 'good' thing, since "Everybody knows Tobacco is BAD BAD BAD!" what they don't realize is that these very entities that "regulate" tobacco actually impose sigificant barriers to entry into a market that is otherwise a pretty easy one to get into (tobacco is an easy plant to grow and harvest).

Thanks to regulations and fees imposed by the government, just about all tobacco in this country is grown, produced, marketed and sold by 3-4 major corporations.

Okay, there's an example. Sorry I didn't read down before.

Never havign grown tobacco, I'm not familiar with the fees involved. However, I think you're missing the much bigger issue - the extent to which the big companies - as corporations - have been allowed to defend their "bigness" through our statory laws and fincial infrastructure (things which every taxpayer).

There is nothing preventing us from breaking up big conglomerates of any kind except the political will to pass the laws which will do it.

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