Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The State Socialism of the Rich

The state is the only institution in the world that can bring a corporation to life. It alone grants corporations their essential rights, such as legal person hood and limited liability, and it compels them always to put profits first. It raises police forces and armies and builds courthouses and prisons (all compulsorily paid for by citizens) to enforce corporate property rights – rights themselves created by the state. And only the state, in conjunction with other states, can enter into international trade deals and create global institutions, such as the World Trade Organization, that, in turn, limit its ability to regulate the corporations and property rights it has created.


Without the state, the corporation is nothing, Literally nothing.


It is therefore a mistake to believe that because corporations are now strong, the state has become weak. Economic globalization and deregulation have diminished the state's capacity to protect the public interest... Overall, however, the state's power has not been reduced. It has been redistributed, more tightly connected to the needs and interests of the corporations...


From “The Corporation” by Joel Bakan Viking 2004

13 Comments:

Anonymous grothenberger said...

Absolutely true. Which is why, when I suggest banning corporate political contributions, and people whine at me: "But what about free speech and 1st amendment rights?", I say:

Screw it! Corporations are not people. They don't have rights!

8:50 PM  
Blogger The Individualist said...

Corporations are groups made up of voluntary workers, voluntary capital investors, and voluntary suppliers. All parties are aware of the risks involved when they enter this "partnership." What is unatural about that? Unless you consider property rights as a superstructure, in which case you're sadly mistaken.

Property rights are based on the idea that one owns the product of their labour. And don't give me Marxist classical economics where labour has intrinsic value. Labour is priced on the market. The proceeds (capital) are an extension of that labour product.

1:33 AM  
Blogger The Individualist said...

If a corporation wants to act as a single entity and attach property rights to it, why is it not allowed? It should not be appropriated by the "public interest."

1:35 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Corporations do not exist in nature but are artificial constructs created by the state. The state privilges a group of investors with limited liability and the corporation as fictitious individual. Added to this are a host of other gifts from the state such as patent law, eminent domain, and gifts of money and real estate. In a genuine free market corporations would not exist. I suggest you read "The Corporation" as well as, Kevin Carson, "Mutualism.org and Harry Glasbeek's book on corporate law, "Wealth By Stealth". I for one do not favor controlling corporations but taking away these state's spoiled brats playthings, ie, abolish corporate law.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I nshould add that democratic rights were originally intended for individuals, that is living breathing people. In the 1880's thru the corrupt use of the 14th Ammendment corporations got themselves classified as individuals, which has to be one of the rankest frauds in history. Thus corporations have the right to donate to political parties - and hence corrupt the system - as though they were individual people. But rather than banning or limiting corporate funding of politicians I say pull the plug on the corporation,. abolish the fraud of fictitious individual.

8:10 AM  
Blogger The Individualist said...

I agree that certain patent laws and subsidies are only a result of corporate special interest politics. But this is an issue of impressionable government. Whenever you have a political entity up for grabs, groups like coroporations and farmers will do what they can to expropriate other's property for their own selfish purposes.

I don't think we will agree on the legitimacy of corporations though. I look at them as conglomerations that get formed through the market interactions of capital, labour, management. Every input is profit-driven and therefore will obviously not work for the "public interest" (i don't even believe there is such thing). They are essentially organic and would occur under any free-market system imagined.

What would prevent an investor from saying to a businessman, "I'll give you money to start your venture, but I want a return on my investment?" What prevents the businessman from saying "OK, but don't expect any money back if we go broke. Also, I'm only going to let major shareholders vote, since I can't have everyone micro-manage my company?"

Is this not qualitatively similar to a partnership business, or a sole proprietership with a silent investor? The corporation is really just a large-scale version of the small firm. It is large because it reaps the returns from economies of scale, and hence has more productive capacity when it is large. Show me how these businesses wouldn't spring up in the absence of government.

10:07 AM  
Blogger The Individualist said...

left libertarianism is an oxymoron because left up to their own devices, people will trade.

You can never eliminate the transaction-based economy. Unless you think that people will naturally participate in mutualism and good-natured co-operation, you sadly are sadly naive about human nature.

To impose an order that eliminates the ability for individuals to engage in market transactions, you must impose this with force. How unlibertarian.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Utter and total rubbish! You couldn't be more wrong if you tried! Shame on you! Left libertarianism is precisely about allowing people the freedom to trade or do whatever non-coercive thing they want. Obviously, you haven't read ANYTHING on the subject. Have you never heard of Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, Pierre Proudhon? All you have to do is go to the Left Libertarian Ring (big red square on my blog) or check out Kevin Carsons Mutualist Blog http://mutualist.blogspot.com/ to see how completely off-base you are.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

As for corporations, you are totally ignoring the historical reality of their origins. Go read the books and web sites I suggested. Know something about your subject before you start making comments! They are NOT the same as partnerships or a group of investors making an agreement. If they were, few people would complain. They are artificial state sponsored and priviledged creations. Limited liability and the fititious individual did not exist before the mid-19th Century.

11:45 AM  
Blogger The Individualist said...

plz spare me. we may disagree, but before i wrote what i did i checked out proudhon, mutualism, etc. on wikipedia. Just because I haven't seen your "truth" doesn't mean that my arguments are entirely without merit.

I could tell you to read my gurus (von mises, fa hayek, ayn rand, rothbard, etc.) yet I wouldn't expect you to suddenly aree with me.

Your arguments rely on the labour thoery of value being valid. Fortunately, the subjective theory of value has completely disproved the ill-founded theory that labour has an objective price and that any price charged above cost is robbery.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I have read Rothbard, Mises etc. So has Carson, in fact they are an iomportant part of his analysis. In fact I first read Rothbard back in 1970 and read Human Action about 5 years ago. Back in thne 1990's I spent about 2 years reading the right-lib theorists. The LTV is a red herring. It has no bearing at all on the history of the corporation as a creature of the state. Nor does it have any bearing on left libertarians desiring totally free exchange.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

More on the LTV. In the early 1990's I questioned the validity of the LTV and remained that way until I read Carson, whose analysis convinced me otherwise a couple of years ago. My English comrade John Griffin (See ATN website) still rejects the LTV, rather fervently, in fact. But we were and are both left-libertarians. So as you see the LTV is a red herring. And I won't discuss the LTV any further until you read Carson's opus, "Mutualist Economics..."

4:39 PM  
Blogger mollymew said...

A person doesn't have to accept the LTV to think that corporations are illegitimate creations of the state. They obviously ARE. The whole idea of a "fictitious person" who gains standing in law is an obvious creation of those who can legislate such law ie the state. A dislike for corporations IS OBVIOUSLY NOT dependent on belief in the LTV.

8:30 PM  

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