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Guest Post: Crony Capitalism And The Expansive Central State

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Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Crony Capitalism And The Expansive Central State  

Crony Capitalism flourishes in an economy dominated and controlled by a Central State.

Crony capitalism arises when an expansive Central State dominates the economy. The Central State can then protect crony-capitalist perquisites, cartels, quasi-monopolies and financialization skimming operations of the sort which now dominate the U.S. economy's primary profit centers.

If we step back, the larger context is the purpose and role of establishing a State to protect its citizens from foreign and domestic predation and exploition.

The Central State is granted the sole power of coercion by its membership (citizenry) to protect the membership from the predation of individuals, concentrations of wealth and other subgroups seeking monopoly. They grant the State this extraordinary power to insure that no subgroup or individual can gain enough power to dominate the entire membership for their private gain and to protect freedom of faith, movement, expression, enterprise and association.

Granting this power to the State creates a risk that the State itself may become predatory, supplanting the parasitic elements it was designed to limit. To counter this potential, the State has self-limiting mechanisms such as an independent judiciary, armed forces under civilian control, etc., a separation of powers such that no one institution or agency can dominate the State and thus the nation. The goal is to create a stable but flexible equilibrium between comparably powerful institutions, all of which are tasked with enabling and defending the members’ freedom of movement, expression, enterprise and association against the encroachment of powerful subgroups.

In this sense, the State is ultimately an immune system for the nation, a system designed not to dominate but to recognize and limit potentially destructive forces within the ecosystem (nation). To monitor and limit the influence of individuals and subgroups within the State itself, an internal immune system of regulation, auditing and enforcement is built into each institution.

The State is thus designed to be a self-regulating immune system, protected from abuse of power by its own internal immune system.

We can understand the tradeoff of the citizenry in establishing a State as a risk-gain hedge: the risk of granting extraordinary powers to the State is offset by the gain of being freed from local or foreign tyrannies and the predation of criminals and exploitative Elites. This establishment of liberty is worth the risk of a self-regulating State becoming predatory.

The self-regulation mechanisms are supposed to act as a hedge against a runaway parasitic State.

We can properly understand the State as a concentration of risk and gain: its extraordinary powers of coercion render it a great risk to the membership, even as its protective shield of liberty offers the freedom to pursue individual happiness and self-fulfillment.

Since the State is a concentrator of both wealth and power, it also concentrates the risk that ontologically accompanies concentrated power and wealth: with such great power, the abuse, repression, exploitation and predation which the State could unleash on its citizenry are fearsome.

This concentration of wealth and power makes the State the primary attractor in the economy for those seeking to increase their private gain. What better way to enforce a monopoly than to persuade the State to limit your competition? What better way to lower the risk of enterprise than to persuade the State to grant its own contracts to your company? What better way to amass a fortune than to harness the coercive powers of the State to your own self-interest?

The State is thus the ultimate lever within the ecosystem. While $1 million buys little influence within the market, if spent to influence State policy then it will buy more power than $10 million spent in the marketplace.

There is a great irony in this concentration of power in the State: the power is concentrated to protect the citizenry from predation and exploitation, but that concentration becomes an irresistible attractor for all those seeking to increase their private gain via monopoly, cartels, collusion, fraud and other forms of predation.

The wealth that can be concentrated in private hands is not limited or self-regulated, and so private concentrations of wealth inevitably exceed the threat-gain threshold of individuals within the State. This structural imbalance leaves the State ontologically vulnerable to the influence of private wealth. Once this wealth has a foothold of influence within the State, it can then bypass the State’s internal immune system and become the financial equivalent of cancer: a blindly self-interested organism bent solely on growth at the expense of the ecosystem as a whole.

This financial/political cancer of single-minded self-interest creates a self-reinforcing feedback loop within the State: the more power and influence it gathers, the more it can weaken the State’s own immune response to its rising dominance. This erosion of restraint further frees it to increase its influence, which then gives it more power to weaken the State’s immune system, and so on, until private concentrations of wealth, in partnership with self-serving State Elites, bypass the State’s immune response.

At that point, the collusion of private wealth and State Elites comes to dominate the entire ecosystem. The State’s function as the system’s immune system has been subverted by private wealth and the State’s own extraordinary powers have been directed to serve the self-interests of private Elites and their cronies within the State.

Another name for the collusion of private wealth and State Elites is crony capitalism, which has reached its apex in an economy dominated by an expansive Central State (i.e. the Federal government).

 


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Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:10 | Link to Comment GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Stop re-inventing the wheel Chuck just because you are impotent to anyhting about it.

Fascism, there, all has been said.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:11 | Link to Comment spiral_eyes
Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:15 | Link to Comment Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Of course. The job of the marxists is to make people believe that corporatism = capitalism.

The job of the fascists is to do the exact same thing.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:19 | Link to Comment johnu1978
johnu1978's picture

The best example of Crony Capitalism can be illustrated at how the Federal Reserve and the big banks are working to keep the big box stores on life support.

I think that life support is going to end soon and Best Buy will be the next big chain to die.

 

-John
Primitive Skills Classes - Edible Plant Tours
http://www.heartrootnatureconnection.com

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:41 | Link to Comment engineertheeconomy
engineertheeconomy's picture

Wealthy Elite living in underground bunkers where the Fukushima Radiation doesn't reach them.

How long before their radiation-free supply lasts before it too is affected?

Clearly the Wealthy Elite are not nearly as smart as they think they are.

They are EVIL, not intelligent, and they only have THEIR SELFISH SELF-INTEREST'S IN MIND.

Their children and grandchildren without end AS WELL AS OURS will be MUTATED and live with CANCER thanks to their STUPIDITY.

If YOU are a cop, or in the military, don't you think it's time that YOU set your weapon down and step aside, and let (the people by the people for the people) draft a new declaration of independance and start over?

SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCK ?

?

?

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:42 | Link to Comment Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

I would advise against it.   If they want to keep drawing a paycheck and be able to retire they better not step out of line.

 

Paychecks!  Get Some!

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:39 | Link to Comment oddjob
oddjob's picture

Trading your one life for paper promises 35 years down the road obviously placates the feeble mind.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:47 | Link to Comment AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Capitalism is the old elite justifying their legitmacy of right to rule via "merit" measured in money point system although most of them inherited it or just got lucky.

 

Thailand, the King calls himself CEO.

 

 

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:36 | Link to Comment Bluntly Put
Bluntly Put's picture

Most likely as internet retailers have far lower overhead, and can employ temp workers at a fraction of the cost. Plus transactions on line require credit cards which the banks like and the feds like as they can immediately track real-time your purchases individually and in aggregate; furthering the "evolution" towards cashless currency.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:24 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

Correction,  Marx merely pointed out that 'corporatism' is the inevitable result of unmitigated capitalism; exactly as it is playing out.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:25 | Link to Comment GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Correct. Now get ready to be bombarded with nonsense.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:14 | Link to Comment Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

History began with Atlas Shrugged.

How's that?

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:24 | Link to Comment CH1
CH1's picture

'corporatism' is the inevitable result of unmitigated capitalism

LOL.. and the state is utterly absolved! Turn your eyes away from the coercive force that stands behind it all!

Long live the state! Savior of us all!

Now, if we can just get the right people to run it... this time for sure!!!

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:34 | Link to Comment GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

You enjoy your slavery, just admit it. There are many of you around. You equate any citizen duty as contrary to freedom.

Simply amazing, cheering for your own destruction = virtue in 2012. Incredible. Bernays smiles on his creation.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 21:11 | Link to Comment CH1
CH1's picture

That was sarcasm, Gene.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:31 | Link to Comment Apocalicious
Apocalicious's picture

Yes, Marx was correct. Capitalism > corporatism > fascism > revolution & reboot. The reboot is the problem. You either stay stuck in socialism, or go all the way back to freedom. I'm betting we're phukked, and socialism is here to stay...

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 14:13 | Link to Comment Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

What the fuck. Anybody who thinks Marx was right about anything needs a checkup from the neck up. Every single thing he wrote about economics and politics was a lie.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 14:09 | Link to Comment Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

WRONG. Marx wasn't correct about anything.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 14:55 | Link to Comment Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

Updated by Schumpeter.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:26 | Link to Comment nick howdy
nick howdy's picture

Fascism/Corporatism will happen and it doesn't matter whether anyone who self identifies with any ideology thinks..

The fact that anyone considers themselves conservative/liberal or on a certain side, just means they fell for the Elite's propaganda..

When is comes right down to it most people are really just debt slaves/serfs with an inherited ideology that doesn't work to relieve them from this reality.

 

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:37 | Link to Comment e_goldstein
e_goldstein's picture

So will the right.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:38 | Link to Comment Marc_W
Marc_W's picture

Yes, the merger of state and corporate power, i.e. fascism, perfectly describes the state of the American police state.  "Too Big to Fail" is not merely a reference to certain massive corporations, but to the central federal state that exists in a symbiotic relationship with those corporations.

 

The existence and health of the TBTF corporations has been deemed a national security issue.  This is why I am long BAC, it literally cannot fail without the simultaneous collapse of the United States Federal Government.  And our nuclear arsenal, carrier groups, and global air superiority make that unlikely.

 

Go long fascism, bitchez.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:12 | Link to Comment Bearster
Bearster's picture

It is not "crony capitalism" or indeed any kind of capitalism.  Mussolini coined the right word for business and government working together (against taxpayers, would-be competitors, and customers.

Fascism.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:31 | Link to Comment WhyDoesItHurtWh...
WhyDoesItHurtWhen iPee's picture

my favorite Mussolini quote

"it is not impossible to conquer the Italian people, merely useless."

(the people have strong black market)

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:32 | Link to Comment Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

What?  It's still capitalism.

From the article....

"This structural imbalance leaves the State ontologically vulnerable to the influence of private wealth."

The "private wealth" people are what you call capitalist.

So here we have businesses and government working for those with capital in a scheme to aquire more capital.

This is capitalism baby, and it's thriving.

 

 

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:02 | Link to Comment Bearster
Bearster's picture

Alcoholic: you are describing fascism.  This is the system in which ownership is nominally private, but control is public.  And everyone is attempting to live at the expense of everyone, as Bastiat put it.  While the entire ship collapses, people are jostling to stand on the heads of others.  The whole thing is made possible by the unlimited power of the government to initiate the use of force against anyone.  The "rule of men" as Ben Franklin described it.

People vote for fascism because they want something they didn't earn.

In capitalism, on the other hand, the government exists to prohibit the initiation of the use of force.  No thug can rob you without facing punishment, no union can forcibly block your customers or other employees or burn down your factory, no one can lobby to take your property, etc.  No corporation can burn down your house either, or take your bank account to bail out their bad decisions.  The only way to get rich is to deliver value to customers.

We have fascism today.  Capitalism died the death of 1000 cuts at least starting with the anti-trust law of 1890, but arguably the "crime of '73" when they demonetized silver.  And arguably prior to that when they took money from everyone to give to railroad barons for the sake of the "national prestige" to run a railroad from New York to California.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:46 | Link to Comment hidingfromhelis
hidingfromhelis's picture

Of course we're living under fascism.  However, it's private money/power that's calling the shots.  This masquerades as capitalism.  So many complain about the intrusiveness of the state, yet the state is simply the marionette at the end of the strings.  The state acts because someone wishes it to act and has the influence to make it act.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 14:34 | Link to Comment JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

ladies & gentlemen...we have a winner!

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 16:10 | Link to Comment psychobilly
psychobilly's picture

"The state acts because someone wishes it to act and has the influence to make it act."

All the more reason to limit its power.

The state seems to be the most responsive to the mob, and to elite, moneyed interests.  Neither of which makes for a legitimate basis for determining the legality of a thing, or for metting out justice.

You appear to be living in some sort of fantasy world where those evil people running corporations that lobby the state to further their own interests are magically transformed into public servants when they are employed by the state.  And the same mob that has eagerly supported all of the worst atrocities and most malicious ideas in human history and must be rigorously policed itself has the wisdom to rule over the rest of us.

Give a bazooka to the gorilla that's beating you over the head with a club.  That will surely improve the situation.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:17 | Link to Comment Apocalicious
Apocalicious's picture

No, it's not capitalism. In capitalism, the state is not driving, (DIRECTING, PROHIBITING) the flow of capital. They are there to keep the playing field level (i.e. enforce anti-trust laws and ownership rights), not pick winners and losers.

 

We have state overriding ownership rights, dictating the flow of capital, and cultivating rather than breaking up cartels. THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF CAPITALISM, baby.

 

I'm trying to free your mind, Alcoholic. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 15:01 | Link to Comment Freewheelin Franklin
Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:11 | Link to Comment Trimmed Hedge
Trimmed Hedge's picture

If ya can't beat 'em, join 'em..?

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:12 | Link to Comment Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"Granting this power to the State guarantees that the State itself will become predatory, supplanting the parasitic elements it was designed to limit."

Fixed it for ya.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:13 | Link to Comment SilverDoctors
Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:18 | Link to Comment Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

http://lbo-news.com/2012/01/29/reflections-on-the-current-disorder/

Wall Street demonstrated its immense political power during the financial crisis and its aftermath. Financiers may bellyache about increased regulation over the last couple of years, but the actual changes have been very minor. The major bill that changed the regulatory architecture, nicknamed Dodd–Frank, was weak tea to start with and is being watered down further as the detailed regulations required in the legislation are written.

So in return for hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds used to keep the financial system from going under, the banks will emerge from this crisis largely unscathed. One reason for this is Wall Street’s skill at lobbying, and its ability to spread huge amounts of cash around Washington. As Public Citizen documented, between 1998 and 2008, Wall Street spent $5 billion in campaign contributions and deployed 3,000 lobbyists across Capitol Hill to get its way. While $5 billion sounds like a lot, it was less than a third of the Goldman Sachs bonus pool for 2009, and spread out over a decade. Wall Street has a lot of money, and Congress can be bought on the cheap.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:20 | Link to Comment Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

The body politic therefore has leukaemia.

Revolution and debt Juibilee,  or Fascism and WW III.

Time to choose ?

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:19 | Link to Comment buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Fascism, it is what is for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in freedumb's land.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:19 | Link to Comment Zardoz67
Zardoz67's picture

Plato wrote all before in The Republic:

Oligarchy then degenerates into democracy where freedom is the supreme good but freedom is also slavery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato%27s_five_regimes

Democracy then degenerates into tyranny where no one has discipline and society exists in chaos. Democracy is taken over by the longing for freedom. Power must be seized to maintain order. A champion will come along and experience power, which will cause him to become a tyrant. The people will start to hate him and eventually try to remove him but will realize they are not able.

Francesco

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:48 | Link to Comment libertus
libertus's picture

You forget that tyranny leads back to freedom when a rebellion by the philosophers "lovers of wisdom" resist the excess of the banksters. Its all in Book seven...just take a look. 

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:35 | Link to Comment Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

What about trade unions?  Welfare advocates?  The AARP?  The Israeli lobby?  The AMA?  And so on...and on...and on...

Aren't all of these also "...all those seeking to increase their private gain via monopoly, cartels, collusion, fraud and other forms of predation"?

It's pernicious, it's everywhere and the game has always been GETTING MONOPOLY PROTECTION FROM GOVERNMENTS.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:36 | Link to Comment Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

By the way...the AAPL is rotting again!!!!!  Bastille Day?!

 

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:38 | Link to Comment citta vritti
citta vritti's picture

In a country without a legacy or other foundation of liberty and related democratic principles and institutions, particularly those related to economic freedom, crony capitalism can, possibly, be understood (justified is a different thing) as substituting trusted relationships among economic actors' families and friends for all the other institutions that are missing as a means for the people in country to move towards free market capitalsim. But in countries with a legacy or other foundation of liberty and related democratic principles and institutions, particularly those related to economic freedom, crony capitalism is simply looting from the top down, in matters petty and big. GSA and Secret Service partiers, MF Global, CFTC, SEC, DoJ, AIG, GS, GM, GE, FRBNY, Fed, UST, Buffet, BoA, JPMC ... the mind wearies - so many names, so little time.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:40 | Link to Comment lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

Obama eats helpless puppies.

A direct result of fascism!

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:39 | Link to Comment penexpers
penexpers's picture

What do all of these terms matter (fascism, cronty capitalism, corporatism, ect.) in a society where the majority of the population is at the point of fully embracing their servitude? What the American Zombie Horde needs is a big reality a check and then maybe, just maybe, they'll understand that something is terribly wrong.

 

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:44 | Link to Comment Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

We're all waiting anxiously for MASS UNEMPLOYMENT and BUSINESS FAILURES or MASS INFLATION.

Any or all of those would do nicely.  I'm also anxious to see the first major government layoffs...

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 15:51 | Link to Comment psychobilly
psychobilly's picture

"What the American Zombie Horde needs is a big reality a check and then maybe, just maybe, they'll understand that something is terribly wrong."

I wouldn't bet on that.  More likely they'll freak out completely and scream for their tormentors to be given even more power to rescue them.

What about the horde gives you the impression they handle reality well?

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:42 | Link to Comment CulturalEngineer
CulturalEngineer's picture

Cronyism has a lot more to do with biology than you might think... and its what Ayn Rand (and her idiot followers) never understood.

Issues in Scaling Civilization: The Altruism Problem

 

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 14:50 | Link to Comment Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

Total leftist silliness. You dont define your terms well at all and seem to consider self evident things which you only murkily describe.

Everything you say seems to boil down to central planning and control by the self anointed supra national "enlightened". What you consider intellectually "evolved" sounds like a rehash of previous failed idologies.

If it meant otherwise, you certainly dont convey it well. Cartoonish indeed sir.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:44 | Link to Comment Marc_W
Marc_W's picture

Geopolitical analysis is a valid form of analysis for stock picking is it not?  Therefore, political trends are equally valid.  Therefore, using the reality of American fascism as an indicator for stock picking is likely to produce strong results.

 

I present to you the greatest basket of stocks for investors in the 21st century American police state - The Fascist Investment Strategy:

 

All the TBTF corporations/banks.  Defense contractors.

 

Someone run the numbers of that basket from QE1 through today.  I guarantee you will like what you see.  Precious Metals are merely a hedge against the potential failure of the fascist central states.

 

Long fascism.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:43 | Link to Comment Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Unfortunately government has become a facade for the top one per cent and nothing more. In return the bureaucrats are guranteed jobs and pay levels beyond those now on offer to the general population.

It is no longer capitalsm but crapitalsm !

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:44 | Link to Comment W10321303
W10321303's picture

The Corporate Syndicates sponsor the individuals who will use State power to grant them their perks...you have the process turned upside down and don't know anything about....Standard Oil and JD Rockefeller....Germany in the 1920s....It's Called Corporate Sponsored Statism....Corporate Syndicalism....The New Fuedalism....Facism...take your pick....Coming soon too your neighborhood, the Ultimate Parasite, Mitt Romney...

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:45 | Link to Comment W10321303
W10321303's picture

We musn't forget the masses and their great love for Imperial militarism...

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:48 | Link to Comment Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

Really... all the smug, safe & secure middle classes need is a taste of UNEMPLOYMENT.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:57 | Link to Comment baldski
baldski's picture

Marx also said that Finance would overpower Industry and take over control. Wall Street profits overtook Industry sometime in the '90's.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 12:59 | Link to Comment vegas
vegas's picture

It's no longer a "risk", it's a reality. Welcome to Amerika, the highest taxed crony fascist state on the planet.

 

http://vegasxau.blogspot.com

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:02 | Link to Comment Ricky Bobby
Ricky Bobby's picture

"Granting this power to the Central State.. " hardly the case.  The central government siezed power at the barrel of a gun, and in the process killed hundreds of thousands. In what is referred to by the Victors as the "Civil War".

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:03 | Link to Comment Robslob
Robslob's picture

 

 

The "State" has been, is and always will be coercive and predatory.

 

Men who are allowed to spend others hard earned capital with ZERO checks and balances will never be afforded the knowledge required to make fair & wise decisions but will instead us that power to redistribute capital as they see fit until that capital is completely and uttery destroyed!

 

 

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:24 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

"...with ZERO checks and balance..."

those are your key words; but unfortunately they don't back your original point at all. 'Zero checks and balances' is obviously not the case for every 'state', as some have enacted effective and transparent regulation.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:04 | Link to Comment q99x2
q99x2's picture

I like Argentina mostly because I've never been there. Mostly.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:18 | Link to Comment ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

It's like a charity that becomes centralized and too large.

Before long most of the money goes to growing the donor base and less and less of each dollar goes to the purpose of the charity.

This is why charity, government, and an economy work best from the locus of the individual.

Smaller minds believe that centralization and control ensure equality; missing the simple realization that centralized control begets corruption, inequality, and privatized gains with socialized losses.

The Supine Court ruling that corporations could fund political candidates is likely the most perverse example of this kind of Sophistic reasoning; that and the penultimate equivocation of the century that municipalities can confiscate private property to increase tax revenues for the "public good" (KELO vs. City of New London).

 

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 13:54 | Link to Comment Hubbs
Hubbs's picture

The underlying premise of the capital state or central government is that it protects/serves the people, true be that...up to a point.

The implication is that as long as the people are fat and fed, and in no immediate perceivable danger, the whole premise for a governement becomes mooted, and thus the central state can quietly take on a life of it's own, reaching critical mass to the point that it overgrows its cloak of seeming invisibility and even enabling and suddenly starts to encroach on the people.

Reading a classmate's book, the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, he makes the point that with the advent of agriculture and civilization (central government), evolutionary adaptation in humans came to a grinding halt.

The prehistoric hunter-gatherer humans faced constant danger of death during their early reproductive years from starvation, predation, disease, climate change or other natural disasters, tribal warfare (territorialism as seen in the rest of the animal kingdom), death from childbirth, or accident.  Thus there were always evolutionary pressures molding human genetic adaptation.

Government was created by humans in the context of recognizing /facing some of these constant struggles, (although somewhat lessened with the advent of agriculture), including war, plague, starvation, lack of communication/transportation as an adaptation by the collective to facilitate survival and prosperity.

 

The problem is now, that we members of the Western World have had it so easy for so long- food at the grocery store, water at the faucet, all animals locked up in the zoo, medicine to cure every ill, transporation and shelter with the turn of a key, communication at the touch of a cell phone.  We have therefore lost focus of why government was originally created. Our forefathers knew: all the tyranny of taxation, having to borrow money from the colonial powers , arbitrary and capricious justice/law, outright confiscation of land and property, even slavery  by that power, etc. which had an immediate deleterious impact on the colonists' lives.

 

The purpose of government has to be rethought in the "good times." Unfortunately, no sooner an adaptation to our windfall of a relative benign existance we have enjoyed in the last half century or so can be recognized and our government functions reprioritized, our whole existence as we know it today, deprived of any external threat and made total helpless through govt handouts, may ultimately (and possibly very suddenly) make us no better off than the hunter gatherers we once were.  Of course, those in government won't feel the effects initially, but like a parasite, it too dies if it kills the host.

 

We were never intended to have it easy.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 14:30 | Link to Comment JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

...Crony capitalism arises when an expansive Central State dominates the economy...   huh?

is this an exercise in misdirecting our attention from where the real abuses of power lie & from whence they spring, or just another effort to sprinkle stardust in the eyes of those who would dare to dream of the world as it could be, rather than the sorry mess it is?  

"Crony capitalism", by which I gather you mean to describe the concentration of assets -economic power- and their effective distribution-political power- in the hands of the few can be alternately termed a system of oligarchy...but no matter by what name you describe the beast, it is entirely independent of need for a "central state" to flourish.

If this were otherwise, how might you explain the rise of the Venetian banking oligarchy, which in it's absolute power over the destinies of Europe for the better part of 300 years operated as the absolute prototype of capitalism in it's most monopolistic and despotic form...a period in which strong nation states & proto-empires were actively discouraged, weakened, or colluded against in serial fashion, so that the gang of speculators, bullion dealers, and tax farmers could keep control of national finances through their influence over profligate kings, loaning monies for 'conditionalities' in the identical modus of the piractic practices of the modern IMF and puppet institutions of the money power, or fanning the flames of war where profits beckoned handsome reward!

No central state could withstand them, a mere city of traders set in a swamp, for their understanding of human weakness and their guile for gain formed a wedge against the development of statecraft as an element of the natural human urge for governance. This has all, of course, been repeated in the present era of monopoly kapitalism, different actors, same game...with the same scribbling class acting as their intellectual apologists and game theorists...sowing confusion in the minds of the many -via spurious metaphors about immune systems to conflate governance with the institutionalization of predatory power relations - via the fictitious device of the 'central state.' Shame!

 Dantes' De Monarchia stands as powerful witness to his defense of cilvilization against the money changers to this day, in notable contrast to the spirit and intent of this subtlely spun apologia on behalf of same class of parasite who have inherited the mantle of manipulation in the present moment. We would well to reflect upon his far seeing wisdom in charting our own course through the shoals of sycophantic sirens.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 15:05 | Link to Comment Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

Venetian banking did as well as it did because it operated with the approval of the greatest centralized power in the world at that time- the Catholic Church. Without that approval and the protection afforded by them by the church they would have been crushed like bugs by the far greater powers to their west and north.

Venice performed a regulatory capture of the Papacy that would be the envy of a Goldman or JPM today.

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 15:38 | Link to Comment JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

The Church was indeed mighty in the day, but far eclipsed in power by the Venetians' eastern allies of the Mongol Empire, whence came the source of the banksters awesome financial muscle. Bugs they were never, though cockroaches seems a fair metaphor!

...and I would have to say that the Catholics were only able to operate in their own turn through the complicity of the Venetians - who supplied several of the periods' Popes, and operated a stealthy campaign of control over the direction of papal politics through their many agents within the orders,...the career of Paolo Sarpi comes to mind as illustrative of the masterful play of the dialectician and puppetmaster...perhaps the key to understanding the wellspring of the leninist political philosophy of power and the antecedents of your Goldman and JPM

... a regulatory capture indeed! Nothing much new under the sun is there?

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 15:07 | Link to Comment indio007
indio007's picture

Check out the No-State project.

http://marcstevens.net/

The State offers their services at the end of the barrel of a gun.

Then they disclaim any duty to protect.

scumbags pfftt..

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 15:14 | Link to Comment Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

 

Without government, who would blow up the roads in Somalia?

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 16:38 | Link to Comment illyia
illyia's picture

So there was this body: The State. It had an immune system: Regulation. The regulators were infected: Congress, Justice, Executive. The immune system became compromised.

The cancer took over the body.

The body will die.

The end.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!