The practice of a pure free market is so rare that a plausible argument can be made that a free market economy never existed. However, as the saying goes, Once Upon A Time, economic commerce did reflect a voluntary basis for business transactions. The fortunes of trade rested upon the mutual benefit of all parties, since repeated satisfaction built sustaining economies. Competition was the norm and the quality of goods and services developed that propelled expanding growth and prosperity for the largest numbers of participating producers and consumers. In the corporatist economic model, the goal is to create and protect monopolies, while stamping out any enterprises that challenge the Plutocrat system.
Corporate economies are dependent upon connection and favoritism by government policy. The essay, Corporatism Is Not the Free Market states a fundamental point. “Too many people are willing to accept government-set goals (such as energy independence) so long as the “private sector” is induced to achieve them. Regardless of how the goals are achieved, if government sets them, that’s statism.”
The way corporate lobbying works in America, best described as legalized bribery, has become the normal course of a corrupt political system. This overt example illustrates the problem. “The drug industry has spent more on lobbying under Obama than any other industry. Top lobbyists at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in 2009 met behind closed doors with the White House and Senate Democrats, promising political support for Democrats in exchange for friendly provisions in Obamacare.”
Concisely, money pays for influence. Yet, proponent of the corporate/state would have you accept that this kind of lobbying has protection under the First Amendment. The First Amendment Center presents the following:
“Lobbyists try to persuade government officials either to support or oppose various policy issues. Therefore, lobbying can be considered a form of petitioning the government for redress of grievances, subject to protection under the First Amendment’s petition clause. Although there has not been a great deal of judicial analysis on First Amendment protections afforded to lobbying, the courts have carved out several parameters. First, the petition clause does not grant a lobbyist the absolute right to speak to a government official nor does it grant a lobbyist the right to a hearing based on his or her grievances. In addition, the clause does not create an obligation for a government official to take action in response to a grievance. Finally, any statement made while a lobbyist petitions a government official does not receive greater protection than any other expression protected by the First Amendment.”
Let us get down to the nub of the legal definition. Does a corporation have constitutional standing based upon intrinsic natural rights? Or else are ALL constitutional rights vested in the personhood of a human being and not in the artificial construct of a corporation? Forget the tainted rulings of the courts, the best that money can buy. The economic outcome of political favoritism guarantees that corporate lobbyists has not only the ear of legislators, but often are the inside information conveyers that facilitate the financial worth of previously poor legislators.
Crony Capitalism destroys what few vestiges remain of a free market. Outsourcing produced the global corporate economy. While Wall Street Capitalism: A Love Affair is no friend of ‘Merchant Class‘ business, only a decentralized and independent trading system achieves real wealth creation, which is the nature of authentic commerce.
The corporate lobbyist is dedicated to see that legislation and regulations, drafted by the companies seeking an advantage in a marketplace, have so many hurdles and obstacles to transverse that only the client company could overcome. Essentially, the game is stacked and special privileges conferred, in order to stamp out competition.
Roderick T. Long, in the essay, Corporations versus the Market, makes a significant point.
“In a free market, firms would be smaller and less hierarchical, more local and more numerous (and many would probably be employee-owned); prices would be lower and wages higher; and corporate power would be in shambles. Small wonder that big business, despite often paying lip service to free market ideals, tends to systematically oppose them in practice.”
Therefore, the corporate lobbyist becomes the vehicle that drives the engine of the business-government partnership. Without achieving the desired objective through personal access and deal making skills, the CEO of international globalism would need to dirty their own hands and risk accusations of bribery.
The Libertarian position of Murray Rothbard might shock you. In Man, Economy and State with Power and Market, he writes.
“We have seen above that “bribery” of a private firm is not actually bribery at all, but simply payment of the market price for the product. Bribery of government officials is also a price for the payment of a service. What is this service? It is the failure to enforce the government edict as it applies to the particular person paying the bribe. In short, the acceptance of a bribe is equivalent to the sale of permission to engage in a certain line of business. Acceptance of a bribe is therefore praxeologically identical with the sale of a government license to engage in a business or occupation. And the economic effects are similar to those of a license. There is no economic difference between the purchase of a government permission to operate by buying a license or by paying government officials informally. What the briber receives, therefore, is an informal, oral license to operate. The fact that different government officials receive the money in the two cases is irrelevant to our discussion.”
Well, Rothbard’s distinction does not hold correct. The difference between a voluntary private business transaction and dealing with a coercive government authority is as different from night and day. The entire corporate lobbying culture, based upon an immoral acceptance, as the cost of doing business, destroys public prosperity since the nature of the arrangement shifts rewards to the culprits, while imparting added cost to the consumers. Redress of grievances relate to assaults on individual liberty, not corporate and cartel oligopolies.
James Hall – July 16, 2014
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