Welcome To The Corporatocracy

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Robert Gore via Straight Line Logic blog,

The interests of Washington and large corporations have merged so completely they are now inseparable.

America’s large corporations and its government have merged. Or was it an acquisition? If the latter, who acquired whom? Unfortunately, the labels affixed to purely corporate combinations lose their analytical usefulness here. While the two retain their own distinct legal structures and managements, so to speak, such a close community of interest has evolved that it’s no longer possible to separate them or delineate their individual contours. Political labels are no help; the ones most often used have become hopelessly imprecise. The Wikipedia definition of “fascism” is over 8,000 words, with 43 notes and 16 references.

However, the conjoined blob is so big, rapacious, and intrusive that akin to Justice Potter Stewart’s famous non-definition of obscenity, everybody knows it when they see or otherwise come into contact with it. This article will use the term “corporatocracy.” It’s less letters, dashes, and words to type than “the corporate-government-combination.” No serviceable understanding of either US history or current events is possible without close study of the corporatocracy. Unfortunately, such study, like entomology or cleaning septic tanks, requires a stout constitution. But take heart, entomologists grow to love their creepy crawly things, and septic tank cleaners say that after a few minutes you don’t even notice the smell.

A cherished delusion of naive liberals holds that big government is a counterweight, not a partner, to big business. Such a rationale is touted when the righteous demand new regulation, the public and media endorse it, the legislators pass it, and the president signs it into law. However, there are always unpaved stretches on the road to hell—once regulation is law, the righteous, public, media, legislators, and president, and their ostensibly good intentions, are on to the next cause.

In the quiet obscurity they relish, regulators and regulated get down to doing what they do best: bending the law to their joint benefit. Business, whose P&L’s can be powerfully affected by regulations, hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers in a never ending effort to tilt the playing field in their direction, and improve bottom lines, stock prices, and executive bonuses. The return on such investment is far higher than on old fashioned expenditures like research and development, plant and equipment, and job-creating expansion.

Not-so-naive liberals, professed conservatives, and apolitical opportunists work both sides of the street. The revolving door ensures that all concerned do well. Playing this game isn’t cheap, which serves as a barrier to entry to scrappy competitors who compete those old fashioned ways: innovation, hustle, and better products and services at lower prices. Regulation cartelizes industries; look, for instance, at banking and medicine. No surprise that regulatory barriers are one of Warren Buffett’s favorite “moats”: deep and hard-to-cross waterways that protect durable commercial advantages.

Washington doesn’t just fortify favored corporations’ business plans. A $4-plus-trillion-a-year enterprise, the government is the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services. Procuring those contracts employs more armies of lobbyists and lawyers, and has a powerful effect on policy. The shoddy premises supporting the welfare and warfare states, and their epic waste, are obvious to many of the taxpayers forced to underwrite them. They’ve decried them for decades, and voted for candidates promising to cut welfare, waste, war, and taxes. However, beyond voting, taxpayers can devote little time to stopping or slowing the gravy train. Their resources are infinitesimal compared to the resources its passengers expend to keep it running.

The modus operandi for Washington and big business have converged. Debt, its issuance and marketing, is the pillar of the financial nexus and revolving door between Washington and Wall Street. The government and its central bank artificially pump up the economy and hide its deterioration with debt and machinations: ultra low interest rates, quantitative easing, and debt monetization. Big businesses lever their balance sheets to pump up their stock prices or make acquisitions, machinations that do nothing to improve core businesses but often hide ongoing deterioration.

The history of any long-running government program is a catalogue of failures and expanding budgets. Washington cherishes failure, the fountainhead of larger appropriations and more power. Success would put bureaucrats out of work and give politicians less influence to peddle. Likewise in business, failure has become much more acceptable than it was during those bad old days of cutthroat capitalism. Marissa Mayer’s undistinguished five-year tenure at Yahoo, while perhaps not a complete failure, certainly can’t be termed a success. Nevertheless, she’s walking away from the company with at least $186 million for her middling endeavors. Given all that discrimination out there against women, one can only imagine what she would have made if she were a man.

Silicon Valley puts billions into companies like Uber, AirBnb, Snapchat, and Lyft that lose those billions and will continue to do so for the foreseeable—and probably the unforeseeable—future. Private equity shops load up companies with debt that gets paid out as special dividends to the private equity shops, leaving the indebted and enfeebled companies unable to compete and the rest of us wondering how such rape is legal in our rape-conscious age. This recipe for inevitable failure is now playing out in the beleaguered retail sector, which would be nowhere near as beleaguered if it wasn’t so beset with debt.

Tesla, a stock market darling and the quintessence of companies in which failure is the business plan, milks Wall Street for financing and Washington (and a bunch of state and local jurisdictions) for subsidies. It has lost billions during its ten years of existence, but its many admirers sing the praises of CEO Elon Musk, always using the term “consummate salesman”—perhaps it’s on his business card. Musk and fan club dream of “the next big thing” and engage in mutual masturbatory fantasies of transforming the world…and Mars. All this is harmless enough as fodder for dazzling audiovisual presentations and slick speeches, but downright dangerous when real billions, private and public, gets sucked in.

Meanwhile, the corporatocracy crucifies an old-line, profitable corporation, Volkswagen, that cheated on one of its hundreds of thousands of regulations. It undoubtedly wasn’t the cheating that got VW in trouble. Regulations are made to be cheated—it’s impossible to run a business without doing so—but the proper offerings must be made to the corporatocracy. If that were not the case, there would be Wall Street, Pharma, and Defense Contractor wings at federal penitentiaries. VW didn’t kowtow low enough or pay high enough to the bureaucrats and politicians, who retaliated, probably “nudged” by a VW competitor.

As a successful businessman, President Trump knows many of the corporatocracy’s skims, scams, and schemes. Perhaps that will enable him to keep his pledge and drain the swamp. However, it’s extensive, fetid, and teems with loathsome creatures, so a bet he’ll succeed involves exceedingly long odds. You’re probably better off buying Tesla stock.

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BuddhistAescetic's picture

Is crony capitalism inevitable concerning the natural evolution of purist capitalist ideology?

beemasters's picture

Capitalism has been hijacked by Corporatocracy. There's no more a fair playing field when regulations are controlled by the elite few.

Wheresthesolutions's picture

The sooner we realize that money is the perfect enslavement tool, one that will always be corrupted regardless if there is 'government' or any other monopoly, the sooner we can start captializing on our technological and other advances to bring about true abundance to humanity. And when I say abundance I don;t mean material superficiality, I'm talking about healthy food, medicine, housing and other life's outside necessities, as well as internal abundance such as creative, philosophical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health.

uhland62's picture

Silicon Valley puts billions into companies like Uber, AirBnb, Snapchat, and Lyft that lose those billions and will continue to do so for the foreseeable—and probably the unforeseeable—future.

Using these services makes surveillance easier, so the surveillance organisations should pick up the tab. Maybe they do already because it's so obvious but they keep going. If we managed our businesses that way, we'd be out in no time. Where do their big pockets come from?

Too much corporate rule was the reason for people's rejection of the TPP/TTIP umbrella.

Schlump's picture

Crap article, making excuses for corporate criminals VW.

How much did VW pay for this PR blowjob?

espirit's picture

 

Is this supposed to be an ‘ohh shit’ moment?

 

Author needs to get clued in…

 

Reality Creator's picture

The Corporate-Government-Complex is an inescapable, all-encompassing totality within which everyone must exist.

You want something? It comes off an 18-wheeler at some point and lands in a store, there is no other option. Who controls everything you need to live in life? The corporations. And who controls your jobs you need to be able to buy all that stuff you made all day at work but do not own until you buy it from them? The corporations.

And who manages all the laws, legislative and case law, who enforces all these laws and rules and regulations that define the characteristics and relationships you have with the corporate jobs and shopping you do? The government. And who makes us go to war when it serves the interests of the corporations? The government.

Who prints the money and controls the money supply, interest rates and sets the benchmarks for the wealth of a nation? The government under the direction of the corporations.

The ceo's and politicians are one crime family, they are a gestalt, they aren't separate in the traditional way we used to think, they don't do each other favors, rather, they work seamlessly together in an ongoing project to manage us like stock animals. Recall, Logicalman said on this site 5 years ago "Borders between nations are the fences between the stock pens."

They took out the revolving door, put in an open breezeway, but then remodeled again and just made one big open arena to conduct their fascist business.

Secret Weapon's picture

When a corporation can leave blood on a battlefield then I will think about giving it the status of a person.  Till then - fuck the Supreme Court and all the pricks who have paid off or black-mailed our representatives.  Same goes for "Unions". If you cannot die with honor then your were never alive in the first place.  

OpTwoMistic's picture

Term limits and threat of hanging will fix this rapidly. Need very small federal gov. CONgress is not a full time job.

The reps/senators in Texas meet every other year.

Fizzy Head's picture

pfft, there's no evolution .. More like a joint dictation between the money makers, politicians and their CEO buds.

Xena fobe's picture

It seems a function of human nature rather than any economic system.  How did kings rise to power throughout history? Dynasties like the Clintons, Bushes and same at the state and local level.  Checks and balances were not enough to prevent it.

True Blue's picture

Because there really aren't any checks and balances within our system of government. Each 'branch' was supposed to check and balance the others -but what when all three conspire in their best interests instead of ours?

What is needed is to provide real balance -give the voters the option of paying their 'representative' or having them sentenced to prison. Think they'd dare pass another law without reading it if they could face a prison sentence equal to their term in office with a multiplier for every thousand people they were supposed to 'represent'? That is the only check and balance that can equate with the power these positions wield. Absolute power must be balanced by absolute responsibility or you're going to be absolutely fucked -every time.

espirit's picture

 

Perhaps rope, pitchforks, lampposts, tar, feathers, stockades, or bullets might make a difference if other means don’t work.

                                                    

Jus’ sayin.

 

Hail Spode's picture

How can there be balance among the branches when all branches are stocked from members of the same political organization? This "unitary" political party system is a end-run on the checks and balances set up by the Founding Fathers. In particular, the legislative and executive branches should not be stocked with membes of the same politcal organization. The legislators think they work for their Governor or President and not their constituients. The Legislature should be elected as independents.

For more on that, and on the problem of Corporate Personhood and what to do about it, plus a lot more, see "Localism, A Philosophy of Government". https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0GACAQ

jeffglobal's picture

No Buddha, but Tyler needs to call it what it is: FASCISM.  Govt and Corps getting together to turn the population into slaves is called FASCISM.  The US is just an extension now of the Reich, given if you look at who is in and running the deep state, they are Nazi grandchildren.  whoopsie, didn't know that?

swampmanlives's picture

While Hillary being paid off by Goldman was bad, I think it is rather clear that Trump owing them money is even worse. No wonder Trump has filled his cabinet with Goldman alumni. He probably is getting a goog deal on the loans for his real estate deals in exchange for back-door tax breaks for GS and some insider information funneled through Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin, who also worked for George Soros.

logicalman's picture

I was lucky to have parents who were independent thinkers.

In 1969, when I was 14 years old, I remember my dad saying, during one of our many interesting conversations, that trans-national corporations would be the end of humanity.

Clever guy, my old man.

 

espirit's picture

Damn man, you're as old as fuck.

...and my age.

Bear's picture

They cannot 'end humanity' ... they need humanity as their slaves ... welcome to the plantation

Proctologist's picture

Funny I think the Powell memo dates from around that time (1969 ish).

headless blogger's picture

My mother was always disgusted by the corporations and said similar things as your father.

Graph's picture

Trans-national corp in Capitalism. Isn't it like being olympic gold medalist in sport , aka the "best provider of product and service that people need or want"?

Now...they are the destroyers of humanity ?

Where is the Marx in that equation ?

(Thin lip scroll down, past my post by ZH-ers)

gswifty's picture

My parents were sheep who never questioned the status quo, and still don't.

GestaltNine's picture

You can buy our politicians with hundreds of dollars with an absolutely spectacular return on investment I think you could buy them with McDonald's gift cards TBH

Trucker Glock's picture

Frankly, I'm surprised banksters allow corporations to exist as they do.  Sell shares to raise capital?  The Squid needs fed!

Wait, banksters manipulate the share prices via algos and get more than they would charging interest on loans.

imapopulistnow's picture

These are the unanticipated consequences of Citizens United. Once the checkbooks opened, the politicians lost interest in their real constituents.

crossroaddemon's picture

Some people called this shit over a century ago. It was completely inevitable. 

Embers Oaken's picture

Oswald Mosley springs to mind

Al Bondiga's picture

This guy is a fucking tool. Yes, of course, "The interests of Washington and large corporations have merged so completely they are now inseparable." This is the very definition of fascism according to Mussolini himself, who said "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”. So, yes, the US is essentially a fascist oligarchy dressed up as a constitutional republic.
Where this clown lost me is when he suggests that Trump is a "successful business man." Sorry, sparky, he ain't no such thing. He was born into wealth. End of story. Also, that he actually holds out some some hope at the orange shit sack will actually "drain the swamp" is beyond laughable.
Go peddle your codswallop to the fascsit rubes at Breitbart and Faux News.

messystateofaffairs's picture

Trump is a successful businessman because he knows how to gather privilege from the New York Jewish swamp and get some assets that way. And he holds no hope that the Orange Clown will be draining any swamps. The remainder of his article is on the money.

iamerican4's picture

The move to Fascism began with Rome's pushing Roman Catholics here as cannonfodder with their hoax Irish famine.

Nailing their logo, the Fasces, to the front wall of the U.S. House occured after their faithful in the Union Army defeated the Blacks and Whites waving the symbol of "Protestantism Overseas," the "Cross of St. Andrew" on the CBF. Six days after Lee surrendered Roman Catholics from St. Paul's RC church on Capitol Hill murdered Lincoln for his charitable orders to Grant directing Southern officers keep their sabers for honor, sidearms for protection, and horses for plowing. 

Embers Oaken's picture

Hoax Famine? It happened all right, you must mean that the country had more than enough food to feed it's population but that food was sold as a cash crop while people died / fled. As has happened in numerous colonial countries over the years.

headless blogger's picture

The corporatocracy will easily morph into one or two things; either a full blown Feudalistic Totalitarian-like system or full blown Commie-Socialist Totalitarian state.

 

Rock On Roger's picture

Benito Mussolini would be proud.

Dwarsligger's picture

It's not just the USA. It is a global phenomenon now.

December 2016: big corporations present their drive to use the Global Citizen movement to reach every inhabitant of the world to the Pope. (Time + Fortune Global Forum at the Vatican) They explained their plans in their Working Group Solutions, but you'd have to translate their Orwellian Newspeak into real language.

"End poverty, liberate women from their yokes and end disease, saving the world" is in fact: bringing big corporations to every corner of the world to monetize everything everyone does. To bring vaccines which are the so-called Point of Entry for giving everyone a Global Digital Financial Identity, after which we will all be owned as commodities for production, buying and selling and recycling once we stop being productive. Bill Gates has the formula for this philosophy: CO2 = P x S x E x C. It's not about CO2, but a way to measure how productive their slaves will be. It is insane. And these corporations, the Merchants of the Earth, play a big role in this scheme.

Their intermediate goal is 2020. (See the United Nation's paper called ID2020) Their ultimate goal 2030.

Check out all the documentation and links here: http://globalcitizennews.blogspot.nl/2017/04/the-story-so-far-quick-over...

decentralisedscrutinizer's picture

 

Almost all the world’s economic and political problems revolve around the hegemony of a global corporate cartel, which is headquartered in the US because this is where their military force resides. The only way to regain our sovereignty as a constitutional republic is to severely curtail the privileges of any corporation doing business here. As a free nation, we really have to stop granting corporate charters to just any “suit” that comes along without fulfilling a defined social value in return. The "Divine Right Of Kings” should not apply to fictitious entities just because they are “Too Big To Fail”. We can't take the incorporation of private transnational banks for granted anymore. The government must be held responsible only to the electorate, not fictitious entities, if we are ever to restore sanity, much less prosperity, to the world.

 

 

 

It was a loophole in our Constitution that allowed corporate charters to be so easily obtained it created a swamp of corruption around our capital. It is a swamp that can't be drained at this point because the Constitution  doesn’t provide a drain. This 28th amendment is intended to install that drain so Congress can pull the plug ASAP. As a matter of political practicality, because they defend each other with battalions of corporate lawyers, and because said corporations virtually constitute a global empire, we can't outlaw corporations through the States’ amendment process but must rely on the Article 5 Convention for which the electorate will need to prepare for consensus beforehand. Seriously; an Article 5 Constitutional Convention could solve that problem in days. This is what I think it will take to save the world; and nobody gets hurt:

 

 

 

28th Amendment

 

Corporations are not persons in any sense of the word and shall be granted only those rights and privileges that Congress deems necessary for the well-being of the People. Congress shall provide legislation defining the terms and conditions of corporate charters according to their purpose; which shall include, but are not limited to:

 

1, prohibitions against any corporation;

 

a, owning another corporation,

 

b, becoming economically indispensable or monopolistic, or

 

c, otherwise distorting the general economy;

 

2, prohibitions against any form of interference in the affairs of;

 

a, government,

 

b, education, or

 

c, news media, and

 

3, provisions for;

 

a, the auditing of standardized, current, and transparent account books, and

 

b, the establishment of a state and municipal-owned banking system

 

c, civil and criminal penalties to be suffered by corporate executives for violation of the terms of a corporate charter.

 

 

 

Think about it: The Founders had to fight a bloody Revolutionary War to win our right to incorporate as a nation – the USA. But then, out of legislative inexperience, our Founders granted unrestricted corporate charters, (with enough potential capital & power to compete with the several States, smaller sovereign nations, and eventually buy out the Federal government itself) to thieves and con men. Ooooops! Now they all got together and want to buy the whole shrinking Planet, coalition armies and all! How whacky is that?!

    

torak's picture

Mussolini correctly termed it fascism.  So why muddy the waters with a new term.  If it's a spade, call it a spade. 

Why?  Probably because fascist and fascism have been preempted as pejorative terms, and the majority of morons who toss those terms at other people and institutions are too retarded, ignorant, and dumbed-down to understand the meaning of those words. 

spanish inquisition's picture

Economies of scale being played out. The .01 are saving money by merging functions of the money printing, corporations and government.

Occams_Razor_Trader's picture

Govopoly-

http://39thday.com/

Explains it very clearly.

gold rubeberg's picture

Will cutting corporate tax rates below individual rates make this better? Capital is getting bottled up inside corporations. Making dividends paid deductible instead would help it get recirculated according to merit, not the tax code.