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well, there isn’t another alternative. The judiciary should oversee the govt., but in America, the govt nominates people to the judiciary, which is a big no-no w.r.t. separation of executive and judiciary.
Actually there is an alternative: regulation through market participants. You don’t like what a corporation is doing, don’t buy their products. Corporations can only exist by offering people something they want to buy.
Of course, if you continue in supporting the illusion of government oversight you open another way to profit: they can regulate away their competition and buy themselves subsidies or government contracts.
That is a bullshit platitude. I don’t patronize Wal-Mart anymore, so now they are bankrupt right? “Vote with your wallet” only works if the entire customer base does it collectively and I don’t see that happening. There’s always enough idiots out there to keep corporations in power and profiting. No, change has to be effected at the legislature. Somebody in congress has to have the balls to stand up and fight for the people rather than his own advancement.
Your logic: Most people are stupid. The government is composed of people, ergo most of those people are stupid. Change only works when most people aren’t stupid but change will come from someone who is not stupid.
How is this any different from “voting with your wallet”?
I didn’t say most people are stupid. I said there’s enough idiots to keep them going. It’s completely different. Enough is not equal to most, but thanks for twisting my words in a failed attempt to invalidate my point and then taking it a step further to conclude that I was also referring to congress as well.
My logic: Individual consumers that happened to be well-informed are too few and far between to make “voting with your wallet” a viable tactic. There are just too many ignorant and commercially dependent people to actually take real action against corporations. Legislation, albeit not the ideal solution, is the best tool we have at our disposal.
Greevar, from 1955 to 2010, consumers put 88 of the 100 *largest* corporations out of business. The 12 who survive either sell commodities that don’t go out of style – specifically oil – and financial companies which would be out of business were it not for government bailouts. Not everyone shares your values with regards to WalMart. Especially not poor consumers. Nor poor workers for whom selling their wares (even via an exploitative employer) is their best opportunity to provide for their family and move up the socioeconomic scale.
>Somebody in congress has to have the balls to stand up and fight for the people rather than his own advancement.
If you understood anything about democracy, you would jettison this fantasy. Politicians are smarter than you. They need, in order, votes, then means to get votes (money.) Both require appealing to special interests. They will never fight “for the people”, though they will always say that to the dupes who will continue believing them. There are always enough idiots to keep over 90% of incumbents in power every election cycle. So much for voting them out.
I feel like there’s an important point missing in this argument… If you’re worried about not enough people banding together to enact change via the market, what makes you think those same people would change anything via the voting booth?
It sure as shit ain’t rich people who are making WalMart’s shareholders rich…
If you don’t like Wal-Mart, and you don’t have to patronize it, then what’s the problem? You want to stop other people from shopping there? What are you, some kind of control freak?
To the extent that corporations have *illegitimate* power, it is precisely *because of* government regulations. These regulations are written by corporate lobbyists to advantage the big and well-connected over their competitors. The costs of compliance with regulations alone are enough to bankrupt many small businesses, and that’s the point.
Government regulations cement the privileged status of big business and shield it from competition.
If corporations wanted free market, laissez-fair capitalism, they wouldn’t be spending billions every year on lobbyists and funding the political campaigns of big-government conservatives and liberals. They would all be backing Ron Paul for president.
YOU don’t patronize walmart because you think they should diaf. The problem is lots of people DO like walmart. You don’t like that, so clearly the ‘free market failed!’ to behave the way YOU want, and merely behaves the way MOST OTHER PEOPLE want, you call for government force.
I like walmart. I don’t like the food hole. I buy where I want to. The problem isn’t that you don’t have choice. You have choice. The problem for YOU is that *I* have choice. That is what you want to ‘remedy.’
The principle of “vote with your wallet” means that rich people get more of a voice than poor people, because their wallets are bigger. Which is exactly what you see.
America has two competing ideologies: “one man, one vote” and “one dollar, one vote”. At this point in time, the latter is winning. Government, imperfect as it is, is the only institution that even pretends to champion the first ideology over the second, which is why asking the government to regulate corporations still makes more sense than asking them to regulate themselves, because government is only owned 95% by the corporations, not 100%.
One nifty thing about money-as-power is that after you use it someone else has it; whereas those who control votes can use them over and over.
They get more of a “voice” only if government officials decide to reward them in exchange for votes or money – see my post about why democracy is a structurally unsound system which always incents public officials to favor special interests.
The solution therefore cannot be more government. That is the pithy point of the cartoon which may have gone over your head.
You can’t “vote with your wallet” to put a yoke around the necks of your fellow citizens. The same cannot be said of voting in the political sense. Politics is a zero sum game. Commerce is not.
So rich people can buy more stuff. If they got rich by legitimate means (i.e. not by stealing from or defrauding others), they’ve earned it. They should have “more votes” because they have pleased more people in the marketplace. They have done more good for others, who voluntarily parted with their money. Their gain has been our gain, not our loss.
And who cares what government “pretends” to do? If you think your vote gives you as much influence over the government as the executives of Goldman Sachs and Lockheed, then you need to grow up.
Quite right. You can choose to give any business your money or not to give it to them. Only government can extort it from you or imprison you if you choose not to.
Greevar couldn’t be more wrong. The objective isn’t to eliminate Wal-Mart, it’s to ensure your dollars don’t go there. Obviously, there are more people getting what they want from Wal-Mart than people unhappy with it.
Most people do not have a choice since Walmart used overseas slave labor to bring cheaper prices and put other stores out of business.
You just keep living in your libertarian free market dream land.
That might work if there where any choice left.
You see different brands in your supermarket but the reality is that their is only 1-2 actual companies behind those brands.
The most reasonable thing to do would be to form alternative institutions not based on the violence of the state and the greed of the rich, to wit, cooperatives, communes, partnerships, and so on. Instead of trying to control the government and the corporations, make them irrelevant.
I’m glad you recognize the violence of the state.
But they’ve tried kibbutzes, which failed miserably as every other communitarian system has. Luckily they were formed in a capitalistic society which did not permit them to commit mass murder, the way of other communitarian organizations.
Capitalism is a system by which people compete to enrich others. It works because it aligns self-interest with public interest. I can make a profit because I serve the public well. Of course I could also commit fraud and make a profit, which is why we need government to protect only *negative* rights.
“which is why we need government to protect only *negative* rights.”
Meanwhile back in reality…
Property rights often threaten human rights. My right to own a water source may threaten your right to drink water, eat and live.
My right to ‘intellectual property’ threatens your right to knowledge.
As far as all communitarian systems failing, you really need to get out more. Same for capitalism being non-violent.
John, are you suggesting that that socialistic (non-privatized) kibbutzes are self-sustaining? That Mao, Stalin, didn’t kill tens of millions? The denial of property rights to food, water, shelter earned by individuals through labor was how communitarian murderers such as Stalin and Mao killed their opponents.
Any capitalist water source owner would sell water in exchange for other goods or services. Peaceful trade enriches capitalist “pigs”, war and death are useless to them.
Capitalism is the competitive pursuit of public good for private profit. And no, I don’t expect you to understand that.
Are you suggesting that capitalism hasn’t killed a lot more people than Mao and Stalin?
Correct Beaux – capitalism has increased the health and wealth of billions.
Fascinating data visualisation video on this page http://www.smartplanet.com/bus iness/blog/smart-takes/the-enormous-disparity-in-global-health-visualized/12802/
The democratic capitalist ‘experiment’ has caused more deaths in India since 1917 alone, than in the entire history of … Communism everywhere: over 100 million deaths by 1979, and tens of millions more since.
Beaux, you’ve got it backwards. Poverty, not lack of capital, kills people in India. Nehru, with his 5 year socialist planning models, was a real criminal.
Capitalism creates poverty.
Abjectly false. Capitalism doesn’t create poverty. Inflation (central planning of the economy by means of transferring wealth from the poor to the rich) does. It’s been true for the last 2000 years.
Don’t believe me? Look at the GINI coefficients of the countries with the lowest inflation rate (sweden, switzerland) and look at how the GINI in Japan has gone to crack since they implemented monetary stimulus after monetary stimulus to rescue their ‘lost decade’. Look at how, after 70 years of secular inflation in the US the rich are far richer and the poor are far poorer, and how to keep up a family has to have two incomes instead of just one.
One other point:
Corporations have limited the DIFFERENT kinds of products to choose from. So along with the caveats of the vote-with-your-wallet brigade, there is a fundamental imbalance in the choices we presently have.
So much for free will.
Yes kathologist, corporations limit our choices because they want to attract fewer buyers as opposed to appealing to more buyers. They all *want* to lose money. Got it.
[...] solutions involving government. — GAP]~*~This is post originally appeared at Mimi and Eunice. View original post. Nina Paley is a creative artist and anti-copyright innovator. She is the creator of the animated [...]
The ten percent of richest people in the US own around 70% of the wealth. It’s always been that way from the beginning (in fact, the percentage was pretty much the same in the 18th century too- for a graph of how it’s been relatively stable in the 20th century, see figure 5 here). This is what we call the “power elite.” Any claims that you can set one part of the power elite against another is fantasy, because they share common interests in exploiting voters, workers, and people in the second and third world. Corporations will never fight against the government, the government will never fight against corporations. Even the so-called “third way socialism” (Scandinavia) maintains corporate rule, and the power elite still owns 50-60% of the wealth there.
The only viable alternative is Anarchism and true socialism. Anything else feeds the problem and continues the runaway consumption of the resources of this planet.
In this case, if everyone votes with their wallets and corporations don’t get any money, they’ll just ask government for a subsidy because of bad economic situation, and as they control the government, they’ll have no problem getting it. And since the government money is extorted from citizens, there’s nothing that can be done about it. Legally.
Well, the government is supposed to be regulated by *us*. That was the original idea.
Somehow we got into a place where money could buy real votes, through the magic of marketing, amplified by centralized media monopolies.
That short-circuited everything, and now political leaders only go hat-in-hand to corporations to win elections, not to us anymore.
This will crash, for darwinistic reasons. Non-democracies bottleneck all their decisions at the top, they tend to have terrible economies, and they start a lot of wars which they then lose.
Regarding this dilemma, I can recommend Dean Bakers free book
“The Conservative Nanny State
How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer”
Its written by a Liberal, but its interesting for Libertarians, too, because he often contrasts the Conservative definition of “Free Market” to the Libertarian one.
Dean Baker gets a few things right, and this is one of them. But he wasn’t the first and he’s no genius. Look up “regulatory capture.”
So, I would vote with my wallet to solve the current financial mess and attack on the sovereignty of states by the financial system by doing… ?
[...] And not very rigorous, either. Click the image to enlarge. Original here. [...]
[...] Image from Mimi and Eunice. [...]
What most people don’t understand is there’s a HUGE difference between Capitalism and CORPORATISM. Of the hundreds of govt regulatory agencies most favor some company (over others) because it is in bed with some POS in Congress. The Mega corporations couldn’t exist without government regulating the rest of the industry while doing favors for certain ones. When some big oil company spills millions of barrels of oil the govt slaps its hand with some tiny fine and prevents citizens from suing the crap out of them. I’ve seen this in action regarding the so-called “Dept of Justice” but a more popular example is how the Mega rich at the top of the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) get contracts in return for huge donations to certain Presidential campaigns. Bush got $177 million in donations of “soft money” in 2000 from Grumman, Northrup, Lockheed, G.E. and others in the MIC. Gee I wonder WHY they’d do that? Ike warned us about them; see the youtube video. So after Bush starts his Iraq war simply to make mega billions for this group (yes that’s treason) Cheney’s old company, Halliburton gets a no-bid contract to rebuild what we’re overpaying to destroy. Halliburton gets caught overbilling the govt for something like $38 Million and for selling us overpriced polluted water for our troops to drink and bathe in and gets no penalty for it. I’m pretty sure they had something to do with that missing pallet of $12 BILLION dollars also because they were running the whole show over there. Big Pharma gets a pass on poisoning people (with Vioxx etc) because these companies are connected at the top. I read somewhere that GW Bush owned major stock in Pfizer pharmaceutical and that’s why he refused to let European companies into the US market as people died a few years back in the northeast during the flu vaccine shortage; because (gag) those drugs might not be safe because the FDA hadn’t certified them as safe. Do ya get it now? America hasn’t had an ACTUAL free market in MANY MANY MANY decades. Big Business + Big Government = Tyranny. America’s broke because the scum at the top is getting kickbacks and “campaign donations” from the trillion dollar wars the warfare class will never stop waging for imaginary causes. We MUST downsize America’s govt to a constitutionally legal size, power and cost and eliminate most agencies and Federal laws and eliminate all unconstitutional wars and spending which is pretty much all of it. Every reason you have counter to this argument is propaganda we’ve been brainwashed with. Libertarian attempts to do this are met with a total media blackout of Libertarian candidates and events which the media also did to libertarian Ron Paul (runs as an R) who only received 1/50th the media coverage of McCain, Obama and Clinton in 2008 despite those candidates being googled FAR less than Dr. Paul. IOW the people wanted to know about Ron Paul but the media spoon-fed them the Big Government candidates instead. The Govt even arrested 2 Presidential candidates (Libertarian and Green Party) 2 weeks before the 2004 Presidential elections and NO ONE HEARD ABOUT IT as they tried to serve a legal court Order to Show Cause to stop the televised debates which exclude candidates from parties other than the Big 2. Here’s a bit more about Bush corruption and how they play the Corporatism game: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=EBB20061022&articleId=3558
Anyone who wants to know what regulations really do for us and who created them should read Gabriel Kolko’s The Triumph of Conservatism. Here’s a bit from the intro:
“Despite the large number of mergers, and the growth in the absolute size of many corporations, the dominant tendency in the American economy at the beginning of this century was toward growing competition. Competition was unacceptable to many key business and financial interests, and the merger movement was to a large extent a reflection of voluntary, unsuccessful business efforts to bring irresistible competitive trends under control.
As new competitors sprang up, and as economic power was diffused throughout the expanding nation, it became apparent to many important businessmen that only the national government could rationalize the economy.”
Everything we think we know should be critically analyzed because most of what we know has been passively accumulated through watching corporate media and attending compulsory government indoctrination centers (ie public schools). This isn’t a knock against anyone, btw, we’ve all been raised in this illusion that the government is the only thing keeping civilization together and that message is reinforced everyday on the news, in magazines, newspapers and the entertainment industry. Think about it, anyone who even suggests that we’d be better off with little to know government is instantly attacked as some kind of nut. That’s not the reaction of a rational clear thinking individual…it’s more of a reaction one would expect from a religious zealot at the suggestion that there is no God.
Doh! Second to last sentence should read “with little to no government”
Very well said, Jack.
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[...] would only be to the benefit of Wall Street. If we use systems thinking, we ultimately see that the corporations “own” the government, and the government “regulates” the [...]
Well, in order to determine if ‘capitalism’ has perpetuated poverty and huge wealth disparities, you must define capitalism first. It’s a loaded word, but there are 3 main definitions: 1) The extensive use of capital in production, and 2) The individual and/or ownership of the means of production, 3) (historical definition) capital owning labor. In my opinion, the extensive use of capital in production has created an abundance. But it is important to note that perhaps capital equals efficiency and abundance, but innovation (and capital itself) is the product of labor. The second definition has made the extensive use of capital possible, since capitalists can invest in capital. But, while this has led to an abundance, it is characterized by labor being exploited by labor, which, in turn, perpetuates structural poverty, aided by the state and its 4 monopolies in money, land, patents, and tariffs. The system that I favor is individualist anarchism/market socialism, which eliminates the state from free market processes, and is indifferent to capitalism, which inevitably (on a large scale) leads to the exploitation of labor by capital, though it is also important to note that labor can exploit capital sometimes.
Correction: has led to labor being exploited by capital. (lines 13 and 14)