The corporation serves the State, not the other way around …

The eye catcher ….

During last night’s debate among candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, a number of candidates including U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, criticized corporations operating in various industries for the greed they perpetrate on Americans.  From internet to health care to energy companies, the candidates took issue for predatory prices for health care, the anti-trust implications of large internet companies, and the tax breaks companies receive while rank and file Americans struggle.

In short, corporations should be feared …. or should they?

History of the fear ….

As usual when selling a fear narrative it is important to leave out the education component from any assertion that there is a bogey man to be afraid of.  What consumers of the political narrative should be asking is, “What is a corporation?”  “Why should I be afraid of it?”

corporation is an extension of the State.  A corporation’s purpose is to extract resources, process them, convert them into goods and services, and distribute those goods and services using price as the allocating mechanism in order to generate tax income for the state and private income or profit for itself.

To varying degrees this has been the corporation’s role for the last 400 years.  Americans have been so programmed to believe that America was discovered by adventurous Europeans that they overlook or are simply ignorant about its corporate beginnings.

Prior to the 17th century, corporations, originally not-for-profits that received charters from the British monarch, were established to meet some public works need with their duties overseen by government. During the 17th and into the early 18th century, colonial corporations had the primary responsibility of expanding the British monarch’s empire, creating monopolies and controlling trade.  These companies bought or extracted raw resources, sent then to England for manufacture, and then imported the manufactured goods into the colonies for purchase by the colonists.

Americans have forgotten (if they ever knew) that although their ancestors were miffed by the trade monopolies held by these companies and the economic oppression they contributed to, post the American Revolution, corporations were the structure that drove the private investment into the American industrial revolution.

The problem for American government by the 1820s and 1830s that like the monster from Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein: or, The Prometheus Man, the corporation sought their own version of self-awareness and increased freedom from the strictures of the State.  It has been a back of forth battle between the State and the corporation, with the State taking a more interventionist approach by stepping up regulation in the areas of banking, energy, securities, and telecommunications.  Corporations had been created to carry out the State’s bidding in maximizing America’s resources.  Intervention via regulation is indication that the State fears that it may lose control over the corporate power it relies on to administer the Nation’s resources.

Spreading the fear to the consumer …

It wouldn’t be good social policy for the State to drop the hammer on corporation monopoly over resources if the sentiment of the public were not incorporated in its policy actions.  The optics of an arbitrary application of administrative power does not fare well in a democracy.  There has to be an excuse and in a democracy the excuse should include a discussion on the harms an unregulated corporation could have on the consumer.

Americans may be uncomfortable with the ability of corporations to engage in predatory pricing, but they have a bigger fear of a government that exercises power on a whim.  One can always substitute the product of a corporation with another product, but one cannot easily get away from a State with a monopoly on force.

To stem the fear of arbitrary and capricious application of force, the State gives the impression of fairness and due process in its rulemaking by asking the public to comment on or, when applicable to the decision, to vote.  The State gets the public to buy into regulation of the corporation by painting the corporation as harmful to the public’s interest.  It makes the corporation the bogey man; the entity that transfers wealth from the consumer to its treasury unjustly via high prices or non-disclosure of prices, terms, and conditions.

Conclusion: To serve the State …

By substituting the fear of consumer abuse for the fear of reduced power over the Frankenstein monster, the State accomplishes to goals. First, it keeps the public in check by holding itself out as a consumer protector. Second, it reminds the corporation of its role in the American political economy: that the corporation serves the State and not the other way around.

 

 

 

 

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/041515/what-history-corporations-america.asp

 

The World’s First Corporations

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People don’t want freedom. They want to be led …

To pursue political power is to realize that people don’t want freedom.  They want to be led.  To be successful at obtaining and wielding political power in a consumerist society operating in and governed by corporate-capitalist republic, a politician’s approach is to create a narrative that is bought into by the electorate in exchange for votes or policy approval.

Just like I am not allowed to go behind the front counter of my favorite Chinese food restaurant and tell the cooks how to make the egg rolls, the electorate should not be allowed to participate in how policy is made.  Contrary to popular belief and false narratives, republics are not about the participation of the populace in the practice of governance.

Rather, the people’s role is limited to the qualified selection of representatives to its government and the constitutional officers responsible for its day-to-day operations.  Too many cooks in the kitchen, the old adage goes, creates a mess.  Inefficiencies in governance occur when there is little check on the number of stakeholders identified or created.  Nothing will get done.

Take the men and women running for the Democratic Party nomination for president.  Most of their campaign speeches are littered with phrases implying that they are going to “fight for you.”  Never mind that the individuals, government institutions, or corporations that they are fighting against are American.  They never assert that they, the elected official, will show you how best to defend yourself against these enemies.

Telling the electorate that you are fighting for them taps into the fear necessary for getting the electorate in line with a candidate’s leadership.  The empowered are not going to follow fear mongers.  The empowered are going to ask how candidates got in such a position of influence that they believe they can deliver promises of affordable health care, free college education, and monthly universal basic income checks.

The vast majority of the electorate, fortunately, do not have the energy, time, or critical thinking skills to ask these questions that amount to the balance of power between the leader and the led.  An “honest” politician does not want the electorate to be that insightful.  Such queries mount a clear and present danger to a politician’s power.

Instead, the “honest” politician should keep the channel to her message wide open by posting a fear-filled narrative during every opportunity that presents itself.  Issues must be painted as complex and that only the politician’s guidance and expertise need be relied on.  She should continually remind her constituents that they cannot lead themselves.

Blacks need a new political law game

The political battle between the Executive and the Congress has been intense to say the least over the last twenty-seven months since Donald Trump took office.  With post-Mueller report hearings ramping up next week, the saga only promises to continue way into campaign season.

My friends and family have expressed varying degrees of interest, with a significant number of opinions fueled more by emotion and less by critical thinking.  For example, the constant reference to “collusion”, a term that has no legal meaning, is disconcerting because it provides an example of how people are ignoring the particulars (even when readily available for examination) and rolling with the globs of misinformation thrown onto the plate most times by the mainstream media.

Black congressional leadership wasting political power …

What should also be disturbing is how two of the highest ranking blacks in the Congress, Maxine Waters and Elijah Cummings, are spearheading the charge in the impeachment debate.  Their distaste for the sitting president is evident, but what is less evident is how the use of a potent political law instrument as impeachment is supposed to translate into any increase in political power, wealth, or capital for black people.

If anything, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed caution about pursuing impeachment, appreciating the argument from some inside her party that pursuing impeachment could have a negative impact on the Democrats’ ability to oust Donald Trump from the Oval Office in November 2020.  Mrs. Pelosi’s hesitancy on impeachment should have provided Ms. Waters and Mr. Cummings an opening to show leadership and go against the impeachment grain, not because it would be in line with Speaker Pelosi’s sentiment, but as a signal that the energy expenditure behind impeachment does nothing for their prime constituency: black people.

When you are marginalized, you agitate …

With at least 51 voting members in the U.S. House, blacks in the Congress are in a position to be the pivotal swing vote on a number of issues including impeachment. Numerically, black members of the House, where articles of impeachment would originate, could clog the wheel by holding back approximately 20% of the Democratic vote.  With this leverage, black congressmen could attempt concessions from either the House leadership or from President Trump, though it is less likely that the black caucus would try to negotiate with the President for fear of becoming a pariah in the Democratic Party.

Therein lies a telling dilemma. If the premier block of black congressmen cannot leverage numerical strength without fear of reprisal, what good is their strength?  Another irony is that for a group of congressman that represent a marginalized group, their fear of marginalization within Congress does not put them in a position to do more for their black constituents.

Maybe the answer is to stay outside the box …

On the other hand, maybe blacks, particularly those who embrace their status as marginalized, need an approach to political law that allows them to carve out their own independent niche; one that unapologetically finds the seams or openings in the political economy in order to access capital or create substantive platforms for constructing true communities. Current black leadership is too afraid to do that.