Archive for the 'Public Enterprise (Shouting Down, Crowding Out)' Category
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
More evidence of the power of business-first priorities and the actual effects of indulging private enterprise…
Watch Yellow Tuft Alyssum on PBS. See more from Oregon Field Guide.
Sunday, February 17th, 2013
The climate “movement” held their great rally today. Their target? A pipeline that nobody outside their PR machine seriously believes will make any major difference in the expanding extraction and combustion of Alberta tar sands. Those sands are simply going to get burnt, barring serious alteration in the demand for petroleum — meaning serious movement to end the reign of corporate capitalism’s core commodity, the private automobile.
Meanwhile, it will certainly be interesting to see what these Obama fans — dig the naked use of Obie’s marketing logos and slogans here — do when Zero, perhaps in the midst of new blowback or some newsworthy danger stemming from yet another heightening of the ongoing U.S. war against Iran, slaps them away.
The key demand in this movement is also very telling about its chances at success. You can see the core demand there on the protester’s very expensively and professionally-made placard: “clean energy.” As if there could be any such thing, without huge alterations in the infrastructure of the country, including, once again, a sharp move away from the reign of the private automobile. To call for “clean energy” without mentioning the level of energy use is like SNCC asking for “tasty lunches” while saying nothing about segregation. It is liberal practicality in all its evasive, stillborn glory.
FWIW, TCT favors approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, on the condition that it be accompanied by a huge and immediate expansion of funding for all the nation’s public transit agencies, including Amtrak, so that they might rise from their present state of near-bankruptcy and start seriously competing against car ownership.
That, of course, won’t happen without — ahem — a social movement pushing in that direction…
TCT‘s prediction? As pretty obviously signaled in this year’s State of the Union speech, Zerobama will approve the pipeline and link it to a call for more “clean energy” research and subsidy. The “movement” that met today will then face a severe crisis, and probably dissolve, having built their flimsy little tent on a hill of sand.
That, of course, may actually be less of a defeat than if Zero somehow decides to grant their wishes and block the pipeline. If he were to do so, what would the next steps of the movement be? To declare victory and start asking for “clean energy” research? At least a tasty lunch was an actual possibility in Greensboro, North Carolina…
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
The New York Times yesterday profiled inequality researchers Saez and Piketty. In doing so, the paper of record says, regarding the country’s basic economic history, “income inequality in the United States fell after World War II.”
This familiar liberal trope is complete jive, as we TCTers know:
As this elementary graph, built from the data of none other than Saez and Picketty themselves, shows, income inequality has only ever seen a meaningful decline during, during, DURING World War II! I mean how fricking stupid can these apologists get? The basic fact literally screams in your face. Left to its own devices, corporate capitalism never equalizes the income distribution. The best it can do on that front is tread water for a couple decades after a freak intervention by the public.
This, of course, should come as no surprise. Capitalists obtained the right to run their affairs via oligopolies in order to maximize their own ROI, not to improve society.
Sunday, March 11th, 2012
I just learned, thanks to a tip by the omnivorous Douglas Pressman of Prague and an article by Bruce Campbell, that, back in 1945, Friedrich Hayek’s wildly naive apology for capitalism, The Road to Serfdom, was made into a comic book promoted by no less a (then as now and evermore) state-dependent corporate capitalist enterprise than General Motors.
Hayek, having only an ultra-abstract textbook understanding of private enterprise, never stopped to wonder about the things his theory elided that were happening right under his nose. Not least among these was, of course, the continuing consolidation of corporate marketing,which is the art and science of applying the principles of scientific management to ordinary people’s off-the-job lives.
As I argue in The Consumer Trap book, the progress and success of this overclass endeavor would make Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini purple with jealousy, if they were around to see it today. Among its many effects is what I call a market totalitarian society, where people are free to do whatever they want, so long as it’s shopping for and using capitalist products (politicians now distinctly included).
Hayek, of course, could not imagine such things would happen, as his view of private business was so deeply naive. His supposed master work is far less critical and realistic even than Adam Smith, who, in a radically different context with a very different purpose, had written a far subtler, more open-ended, and altogether better defense of business ascendance 168 years before Hayek’s book became the favored intellectual cover for American capitalism.
Even though Hayek framed socialism as a question of class analysis — he equated all possible forms of socialism and even welfare states with feudal servitude — he remained utterly denialist that capitalism is itself a form of class domination, albeit one operating as much through the power relations of “the free market” as through state power. Hence, here is the hugely ironic — and hilariously embarrassing to Hayek and Hayekians — cartoon from his GM-pushed comic book on the topic of “recreation” planning by the overclass:
“Once started, planners can’t stop.” Precisely, Freidrich, precisely! It’s called the marketing race, a.k.a. the primary form of big business competition. It is quite literally built into corporate capitalism, and can only stop upon the death of that system or the planet on which it operates, whichever comes first.
Can you say “idiot savant”?
Friday, March 9th, 2012
As I often say, Orwell would be out of a job in this society. The latest proof takes the form of the candidate who lied his way into the White House by running a “Change You Can Believe In” marketing scam, and then (among scores of other betrayals) proceeded to ignore public opinion and bailed out the nation’s failed for-profit medical system. Now, as the Supreme Court, which itself has since removed the last vestiges of restrictions on the naked purchase of political offices, prepares to hear oral arguments on the legality of the “individual mandate” portion of the private insurance bailout, the Obama Administration is preparing to send out phony “grassroots” groups to moan and wail in favor of the bailout on the steps of the courthouse!
The “individual mandate,” of course, forces everybody who is ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare to purchase private health insurance, aka a defective product designed to enrich the already rich and avoid any suggestion that there might be problems with capitalism or merits to public enterprise.
Market totalitarianism in action.
Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
For those interested in the story of how the overclass suppresses not-for-profit public enterprise, the latest edition of Bloomberg Business Week carries a must-read.
Funny, isn’t it — the extravagant tricks required to preempt something that’s supposedly stillborn and/or self-destroying and/or a road to serfdom, if not simply impossible?
One might also wonder if the case of the model telecom legislation pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council will also be taught as part of another of ALEC’s efforts — an attempt, on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to plant state laws “requiring that all high school students take a class in ‘free enterprise’ as a condition of graduation.”