corporations vs. the free market

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corporations vs. the free market

On another thread, Davos said

Quote:

I'd add that some banks and large corporations aren't poster children for capitalism either

I think it is essential that the broader population start recognizing this instead of thinking government = all bad and corporations = all good.  Those of us who understand exponential growth are equipped to explain the problem with the corporate growth model.  And there is much more about the corporate world that is not free market at all--they create dependency, centralize control, destroy real relationship and replace it with a PR culture, drive exponential growth, co-opt political boundaries, create systemic vulnerability, etc.  In fact I would suggest the corporate world has destroyed the free market just as big government has.  I wrote an article about this advocating local community as the solution. 

Last I heard, pasting text from one's article isn't kosher on CM, so here's the link if anyone's interested in reading more:

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/19658

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

I would argue that "big government" is the result of corporate domination of our legislatures.  Much of the governement interference so many oppose is in fact lobbied for by corporations.  The Farm Bill is one prime example.  NAIS is another.  The only "free market" big corporations want is one where they are free to exploit resourses without consequence and destroy the competition by any means in order to create as close to a monopoly as they can.   

I suspect that as peak oil, environmental degradation, and unsustainable economic policies take their toll, local economies will reinvent themselves.  Actually, they already are.  I find it interesting that Huffington Post is calling on people to move their money from "too big to fail" banks into local banks and credit unions.  I am heartened to see Farmer's Markets springing up across the country. 

 

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

“Questionnaire”
(a poem by Wendell Berry)

1. How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.

2. For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite
evils and acts of hatred.

3. What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy.

4. In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
you could most readily do without.

5. State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security,
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.

----Wendell Berry

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

I'll add that America isn't a poster child for capitalism at all.

If capitalism is where the people own the means of their production (own the money) then we in no way shape or form have capitalism because the banking system owns and controls 100% of the money in circulation while the people mearly borrow it in order for it to exsist, and then pay interest on it.

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Megan, thanks for the Berry poem.  He's a true prophet.  One of the few people who really gets how both left and right, big corporate and big government, work together to kill community.  Some quotes...the last 2 are particularly insightful:

“The global economy does not exist to help the communities and localities of the globe.  It exists to siphon the wealth of those communities and places into a few bank accounts.”

"We are now pretty obviously facing the possibility of a world that the supranational corporations, and the governments and educational systems that serve them, will control entirely for their own enrichment—and, incidentally and inescapably, for the impoverishment of all the rest of us.  This will be a world in which the cultures that preserve nature and rural life will simply be disallowed.  It will be, as our experience already suggests, a postagricultural world.  But as we now begin to see, you cannot have a postagricultural world that is not also postdemocratic, postreligious, postnatural—in other words, it will be posthuman, contrary to the best that we have meant by “humanity.”

“The conventional public opposition of “liberal” and “conservative” is, here as elsewhere, perfectly useless.  The “conservatives” promote the family as a sort of public icon, but they will not promote the economic integrity of the household or the community, which are the mainstays of family life.  Under the sponsorship of “conservative” presidencies, the economy of the modern household, which once required the father to work away from home—a development that was bad enough—now requires the mother to work away from home, as well.  And this development has the wholehearted endorsement of “liberals,” who see the mother thus forced to spend her days away from her home and children as “liberated”—though nobody has yet seen the fathers thus forced away as “liberated.”  Some feminists are thus in the curious position of opposing the mistreatment of women and yet advocating their participation in an economy in which everything is mistreated.”

"The idea of people working at home, as family members, as neighbors, as natives and citizens of their places, is as repugnant to the industrial mind as the idea of self-employment.  The industrial mind is an organizational mind, and I think this mind is deeply disturbed and threatened by the existence of people who have no boss.  This may be why people with such minds, as they approach the top of the political hierarchy, so readily sell themselves to “special interests.” They cannot bear to be unbossed.  They cannot stand the lonely work of making up their own minds."

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Good point Mr. Hedin!  I don't own any means of production.  I sell my time, energy, labor, and expertise to some corporation that profits tremendously from my efforts and share the profits minimally.  Somebody else determines my worth.  Somebody else sets the price for my "life." In effect, the company owns me. 

My one consolation is I'm debt free and my house is paid off ( and the property taxes went down slightly because it appraises for less than a few years ago).

 

 

 

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Strabes,

This is from your article.

Every three months, they have to report whether they met the bankers’ EPS goals.

This is exactly why the idea of a free market is a complete scam.  This sentance really says it all if one thinks about it.  Who is free to set the prices in this kind of "market".  Clearly it's not the companies.  It's the banking system, who will always contantly drive up the prices to increase their own profits.  What gets me, and I've been thinking about this really hard, is people always tell me having the government create the money and SPEND it into circulation would cause massive price inflation but now the people would have a medium of exchange where they would be free to set their own prices.  Add to that the fact that competition helps to keep prices low, I just don't understand how anyone in their right mind could believe such nonsense that debt free money would drive up prices when the only thing driving up the prices is when bankers who have a mortgage on everything demand an increase in profits either through increased taxation used to pay interest to them or an increase in prices to service an ever growing debt in the private sector.  What nonsense that an increase in money will drive up prices.  Heck we don't even have any actual money in circulation anymore, all we have is credit (aka interest bearing debts).

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

DaytonMeghan,

I want to come off sounding as non-smart-alek as possible but I just have to ask.

My one consolation is I'm debt free and my house is paid off ( and the property taxes went down slightly because it appraises for less than a few years ago).

If you truely owned your property (house) then why would you keep having to pay on it (taxes).

 

The very sad thing is at a very minimum there is at least 4 other mortgages placed on your property without your permission.

 

Good point Mr. Hedin!  I don't own any means of production.  I sell my time, energy, labor, and expertise to some corporation that profits tremendously from my efforts and share the profits minimally.  Somebody else determines my worth.  Somebody else sets the price for my "life." In effect, the company owns me.

P.S.  At least one person sees that we are all enslaved.

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

I'm glad you enjoy Wendell Berry's works as I do, Strabes. 

Thank you for quoting one of my personal favorites: “The global economy does not exist to help the communities and localities of the globe.  It exists to siphon the wealth of those communities and places into a few bank accounts.” 

I will admit that I am a "local economy" advocate.  A dollar spent at a local business is recycled through the local economy many times before it eventually leaves.  A dollar spent in a "big box store" is shipped off to corporate headquarters wherever that is with little benefit to the local community besides low wages.

Profit plundering is what's gotten us into this mess.  Whatever happened to creating real (tangible, lasting, culturally sustaining) wealth? 

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Whatever happened to creating real (tangible, lasting, culturally sustaining) wealth?

We do that all the time but wealth and money are not the same.  Wealth comes from out two basic industries, farming and mining.  Money only comes from the ball point pen of a banker.

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

LOL --  another good point Mr. Hedin!  The government owns my house to the extent that it could take it away if I failed to pay taxes on it.  So its only "mine" in theory and, even though I don't owe the bank, is in fact, a slight liability.

Philisophically, I do not object to paying property taxes (although I do object morally to income taxes).  I guess I buy into the old argument that some social services cannot be affordably provided by the individual so we collectively pay for them through taxes.  And I think it is reasonable to ask property owners to contribute to the stability protecting services that make property ownership possible (fire departments, police departments, and such).

Taxing "property" is different than taxing "work".  Taxing me for my labor seems unfair. 

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Taxing "property" is different than taxing "work".  Taxing me for my labor seems unfair. 

What do you think about taxing people out of everything they have worked for?

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Taxing "property" is different than taxing "work".  Taxing me for my labor seems unfair. 

What do you think about taxing people out of everything they have worked for?

Of course I'd oppose taxing people out of everything.  That's not taxing, that would be theft.  But they don't take everything, they just take a portion.

I object to the way my taxes are spent -- I oppose the Iraq War, for example.  I also don't want my taxes going to subsidize corporations or CEO bonuses.  I oppose rich people getting loopholes that mean they pay a lower tax rate than you or I (Warren Buffet says his tax rate is lower than his secretary's).  But I do not object to taxes per se.  Taxes are what pay for "common good" that is unaffordable individually.  I can't afford to pave the roads, maintain the electric grid or public transportation.  I can't afford private security forces to protect me from criminals any more than I can afford to keep fire fighting equipment on stand-by in case my house catches fire.  I can't afford an ambulance or a library.  Collectively, democratically, we can (in theory) decide to provide those goods and services for all.  And we can decide, reasonably, that the "haves" pay more towards the commond goods than the "have nots". I'm grateful to have a little.

Yes, I feel burdened by taxes and I resent how my elected "representatives" (who never listen to me or even care) spend our money.  I worked for what I have.  Still, taxing my work before I have a chance to "have" feels worse and more destructive than taxing what I actually have acquired.  Taxing my labor is like taxing my breath. 

 

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Of course I'd oppose taxing people out of everything.  That's not taxing, that would be theft.  But they don't take everything, they just take a portion.

How many portions do they have to take until they have the whole?

Wouldn't it just be easier for the government to create the money it needs and spend it to fund the things that the people cannot do themselves?

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Just "creating money" is part of what's gotten us into this mess, remember?  That whole system is about to go off the cliff.

The problem with taxes, especially in this country, is you pay a bunch but see very little benefit.  Sure, you see others benefit from your taxes:  "entitlement" recipients, big corporations, foreign countries, the defense department and defense industry (my list is almost in reverse order here).  We all, to one degree or another, resent how much is "taken" from us.

But, if in exchange for your taxes, you felt you were getting your money's worth in services, you probably wouldn't mind so much.  The so-called middle class is getting cheated in this country.  Soon we'll disappear.

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Excellent thread!  Thanks for bringing Wendell Berry to my attention.

To judge the "free market" by what we have now is ludicrous.  The goal of international corporations is to eliminate competition through cartels and monopolies.  Globalization, aka "free trade," is a program designed to strip national interests and sovereignty away from the people while reducing civil liberties, wages and benefits. 

We are becoming increasingly subservient to the international corpocracy which comes in tyrannical flavors like Nazism, Communism, Feudalism and Fascism - it just depends on how the elite want to rule us.

Unless we take back our sovereign power to issue and control our own money, we will continue to be be ruled as ignorant serfs.  Until we as a people, figure out that our monetary system is a scam; we will be ruled by those who do understand.  Perpetual debt is slavery and we accept it by choice - not necessity.  Corporations, not people or ideas control our lives.

Larry

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Re: corporations vs. the free market
Quote:

Just "creating money" is part of what's gotten us into this mess, remember?

It's "creating debt" that got us into this mess. 

Megan, the issue of taxes to provide things for the common good is a very difficult issue.  On the one hand, yes it can provide useful things.  On the other, it creates centralized control and dependency just like the corporate empire does.  It was also the basis for steadily taking over everything to the point that freedom died, America has almost died, and all we have left is a hollowed out US.  So it's just like the issue of corporations--on the one hand providing useful goods, on the other exponentially growing and taking over.  Many of the things you mention should be provided by a free, responsible citizenry on their own, i.e. police forces and people who put out fires, or at minimum they should be funded by towns and states.  Other things you mention resulted from the lobbying of the corporate empire that built them--highways, electric grid, etc.  And these things facilitated the further rise of the corporate empire--see how Berry talks about the impact of highways in Jayber Crow. 

Has anybody seen an enlightened opinion on the balance between development and local community?  This is a tough issue.  The argument for corporations and government is always "do you want to be living like cavemen?"  No, I see the need for some centralized development.  But I see the dangers of it as well.  I'd love to find an original thinker on this issue.

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On taxes

I know nobody likes paying taxes, but it is how society works.....  if you didn't pay taxes, then where would schools, hospitals, roads, libraries, etc etc etc come from?  Thin air maybe, like the bankers' money? (now there's a good idea!)

I've decided that I don't like the way the government SPENDS a large portion of my taxes, and so to get around paying them, I gave up my car, stopped working (as in waged work - I possibly work harder than ever..) and as a rsult spend maybe 10% of what I used to spend in the economy ten or twenty years ago.

The only taxes we now pay are what we call rates here in AUS (what you possibly call property taxes), about $1000/year, and some GST (Goods and Services Tax) whenevr I need to buy hardware.  I haven't paid income tax in at least ten years.  Of course when I built my house, I ended up paying 10% of its value in GST, around $10,000.

Being mostly self sufficient means paying far less taxes.

A friend of mine once withheld a portion of his income tax from the government because he didn't like it spent on defense, and donated that fraction of his taxes to a peace organisation.  It took years for the government to take him to court and "get him", and when they did he declared bankruptcy and the government got nothing!!

http://www.mchugh.org/info/mcHihgNvT63.pdf

Mike

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Strabes,

Thank you for your comment.  A very valid argument can be made that the Founding Fathers never intended the Federal government to get so big.  They envisioned much more in the way of states' rights and autonomy.  In their vision we would look more like the European Union than what we are today.  We'd be a collection of semi-autonomous states banded together for mutual benefit with open borders between us that enable easy trade and movement.  I rather like that idea. 

I totally agree that many of the things our tax dollars support were in fact lobbied for by big corporations -- oil dependence (as someone pointed out on another thread recently), many of the so-called safety regs surrounding food (Joel Salatin writes extensively about such things), our highway system, etc.  Corporations benefit big time from big government and constant war.

Soon we will see radical change.  CM is so right that the next 20 years won't be like the last 20.  Many of us are already creating change on local levels.

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Has anybody seen an enlightened opinion on the balance between development and local community?

Stabe,

Some interesting opinions (in addition to Wendell Berry who makes a lot of sense):

http://blog.slowmoneyalliance.org/

http://www.grist.org/

http://www.polyfacefarms.com/

Books:

Natural Capitalism by Paul Hwken, Amory Lovins, & L. Hunter Lovins

Hope's Edge by Frances Moore Lappe & Anna Lappe

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Re: corporations vs. the free market
Quote:

it is how society works....where would schools, hospitals, roads, libraries, etc etc etc come from?

yes but society always changes, so just because it works that way now doesn't mean it has to.  in fact, we know it won't in the future.  libraries are being shutdown because local/state governments are bankrupt...so much for the idea of governments being hostage to debt-money and using taxes to fund libraries. 

kids should be educated by communities, not government schools. their impact on humanity may not be healable.

hospitals...perhaps taxes are needed, but why wouldn't freedom create them, or some other form of caring for each other?  I've never been a patient, but I hear bad stories from patients about how cold, traumatic their experiences were.  they felt like widgets in a factory, so I'm not sure hospitals, at least as funded today, are the best way of doing things.

roads in my view should be funded by direct democracy, i.e. the people vote the project in or out and then fund it. communities instead of empire builders would then decide whether they want an interstate carved through their land (too late for that though).

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Strabes,

You got that right.   Corporations are in fact  the most effective in getting government to intervene on their behalf.    Even the anti trust law was instigated by competitors of Standard Oil.    Bail outs,     tariffs,  subsidies,  labor unions,  trade unions,   pork barrel projects  are all devices to have government intervene on  their behalf.        The loser is usually the consumer.

But that would also mean some politicians are  susceptible to being influenced.

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

from DrKrbyLuv:

To judge the "free market" by what we have now is ludicrous.  The goal of international corporations is to eliminate competition through cartels and monopolies.  Globalization, aka "free trade," is a program designed to strip national interests and sovereignty away from the people while reducing civil liberties, wages and benefits.

Globalization could be for the good of many or the profit of the few - the devil is in the details.

If multinationals had followed the path of Henry Ford when they setup shop in foreign countries, paying decent wages and not externalizing costs whenever possible, they would have created domestic demand.  Imports to the US would have risen initially until the domestic market in the other country was able to consume more of local production.  It could have been a good deal for everyone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ford

When Ford started the 40-hour work week and a minimum wage he was criticized by other industrialists and by Wall Street. He proved, however, that paying people more would enable Ford workers to afford the cars they were producing and be good for the economy. Ford explained the change in part of the "Wages" chapter of My Life and Work. He labeled the increased compensation as profit-sharing rather than wages.

 

Of course they didn't do that, and your comments are spot on.

from strabes:

One of the few people who really gets how both left and right, big corporate and big government, work together to kill community.

Yes. This is really not a partisan issue. It is framed that way deliberately. Instead, big government and big business assist each other in a myriad of ways. I assert that we no longer have capitalism, but corporatism. There is almost universal opposition to corporatism on both the left and the right. No one wants it, except for big government and big business. So how do they keep getting away with it? I wrote an article on just this topic last week, which you can find here (discussed towards the end of the article). It is a perfect example of a dialectic. I doubt most Americans understand how this works.

As for killing community - I'm always hesitant to ascribe intent. Both big government and big business benefit immensely from the partnership, which has consequences that may very well be unintended.

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Just "creating money" is part of what's gotten us into this mess, remember?

In fact I agree with you.  The money creation process is what has gotten us into this whole mess.  The actual creation of money only and always involves an extention of credit by a private commercial bank.  From my personal experience everyone I know when they get an extention of credit has to pay interest on it in the form of an interest bearing loan.  One key concept that we all have to understand is when the princple is repaid that money (the true money in our system) is destroyed permanantly.  The problem is where does the money come from to pay the interest on that borrowed money?  "The money for paying interest comes from the same source as all other money comes from" -Russel L. Munk. U.S. Treasury.  What he means is that the money you use to pay your interest comes from somebody elses loaned principle.

If people would start working to try to understand just the very basic concepts of how a monetary system should function this rediculous debt-money system would be thrown out with yesterdays trash and replaced with a sustainable, wealth based money system.

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

Damnthematrix wrote:

I know nobody likes paying taxes, but it is how society works..... if you didn't pay taxes, then where would schools, hospitals, roads, libraries, etc etc etc come from?

Hello Mike...I agree, I'm willing to help pay for "schools, hospitals, roads, libraries, etc etc etc."  But the reality is, at least in the states, income and employment taxes are collected to pay the interest on the national debt; they add no valuable contribution to society.  Income taxes average around 20 - 30% (not including capital gains) and FICA another 1 -3%.  I think that we have an average of around 30% federal taxes on labor.  Simply because we chose to create bonds instead of dollars. 

I think most people prefer to pay local rather than national taxes (accountability is easier).  For example, you may increase your property value by having higher quality public schools - so a community decides it's priorities. 

The national Government should pay for itself through fees, services and tariffs.  The issuance of new money alone is a mega-money maker; just ask the private Federal non-Reserve bank.

Larry

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Re: corporations vs. the free market

.I agree, I'm willing to help pay for "schools, hospitals, roads, libraries, etc etc etc."

Except we the people do not currently have any way to create the money needed to pay for schools, hospitals, roads, libraries, ect.  The only way money is created is when a bank creates a new loan.  If We The People had a way to create the money to actually "pay" for these things then wouldn't we have the most advanced schools, hospitals, roads, libraries, ect?

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