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Free Market Ideology = Corporate Welfare in Practice

September 30, 2008 by and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

And of course, Big Corn is not the only pig at the trough. Monbiot runs down the list:

  • Advanced Technology Program which was supposed to promote high-tech innovation in a non-competitive environment (and here I thought competition was the engine of innovation) and instead funnels boatloads of $$ to IBM, General Electric, Dow Chemical, Caterpillar, Ford, DuPont, General Motors, Chevron and Monsanto.

  • Foreign Military Financing program which gives money to other countries to buy weaponry from American manufacturers (but it’s to make the world safer from the terrorists!!).
  • The Department of Defense and the always hilarious (since Reagan) Missile Defense Shield (between $120bn and $150bn so far and still not working).

  • USAid: 80% of its grants and contracts go to US companies.

  • And then there is the tax code whose loopholes are extremely favorable to corporations:

So please, there is no such thing as free market in the US corporate world. The only free market prescriptions in place imposed on workers. They are the ones placed in competition with 15-year old girls working in sweatshop in Bangladesh. They are the ones who should get their health care on the market because it is sooo much more efficient. They are the one who should not expect assistance from the government because, you know, that fosters dependency and we don’t want that. If the government provided comprehensive social services, all these poor women (read: non-white) would pop kids non-stop just to collect benefits.

Ultimately, for Monbiot, it all goes back to the power of big money in politics.

And so, the rule remains privatization of profits and socialization of risks… for the wealthy and the corporations. This is a form of social Darwinism where corporations, banks and the wealthy are implicitly perceived as having greater social value than you and I. So, they need to be protected and defended against their own egregious behavior.

Class warfare is alive and well.

And as both political and economic institutions face a major crisis of legitimacy (to use Habermas‘s expression), one can expect the usual response: an increase in surveillance and repressive mechanisms as well as more deals behind closed doors.

Posted in Economy, Politics, Public Policy, Risk Society, Social Inequalities, Social Privilege, Social Stratification, Social Theory, Structural Violence | 2 Comments »



2 Responses to “Free Market Ideology = Corporate Welfare in Practice”

  1.   hipparchia Says:

    This is a form of social Darwinism where corporations, banks and the wealthy are implicitly perceived as having greater social value than you and I. So, they need to be protected and defended against their own egregious behavior.

    an alternate interpretation: we have to take care of / suck up to corporations because they control all the resources we need [or want] and we’ll die if we piss them off. still class warfare, and only a slight shift in how you look at it, i think.

    Reply

  2.   SocProf Says:

    You’re right, but I think it’s not either/or, it’s both/and. These two explanations are not mutually exclusive.

    There is a cumulative effect: we (society) let them grow super powerful politically and economically because of this implicit social Darwinist bias, then we have to suck up to them because they are so powerful.

    And they can wield that power through their use of the media (which they control) to promote such a class–based ideology.

    Bottom line: we’re screwed. :-(

    Reply

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