Jan 22, 2014

Return To Gilded Age, Sans Employing The Masses

Company scrip, company stores, and a unfettered markets was at it's height the first third of the 20th century. End result of the excessive wealth disparity was the Great Depression, had the free market solved itself there would have been no need for government intervention, and modern day Libertarians, Objectivists, and Free-marketeers would have been proven right. Popularity of Keyesian economics the world over is based on the outcomes that it has provided. Free-marketeers argue that the invisible hand will set the economy straight for the most part without any government intervention and that their ideology is the most persuasive. Then why was the New Deal so popular? Why aren't the same people that complain about the faceless Big Government not also giving the same weight of opposition to the faceless Big Business that has tendency to over reach and create harm en mass?

Whether Union Carbide's Bhopal disaster, BP's Deep Horizon off-shore rig and Texas City refinery, Massey Energy's Upper Big Ranch Mine explosion, or Freedom Industries chemical spill the first full of this year, modern economy has placed the individual low on the priority when decisions are made by the grand decision makers who have successfully extricated themselves from resulting effects of those decisions. But the answer from the corporate shills and deluded libertarians/objectivists is always "that only if the government got out of the way, it would all resolve itself." So to be honest with ourselves we would have review history that brought about a muscular interventionist government, that initially was effective but ever since the Powell Memo has only been lip service from the establishment left and derided outright by the establishment right.

United Fruit's Santa Marta Banana Massacre, Rockefeller's Ludlow Massacre, Triangle Shirt Waist Factory, the Johnstown Flood and a countless other tragedies show that unfettered capitalism lead to excesses that concentrate resources at the expense of the masses. Free market (at least the Ayn Rand and Mises interpretation of it) is almost completely incompatible with human contentment for the vast majority of the population and proponents assume to be the economic victors through some innate worthiness while the opponents to  deifying 'the invisible hand' are viewed by Free-marketeers as simply trying to cheat some perceived natural order of 'takers' being eliminated to make way for the 'makers.' I apologize to over generalize the Free-marketeers' perspective, but either they hold the opinion of being the economic victors or they are sadists believing they will be the victims under their own proposed economic rubric. In the unrealistic belief that Free-marketeers were to believe that there would be some Utopia if the government were to allow profit motive run free without concern for outcomes, and that they there would be a win-win results for participants within the economy; again I would have to point out that criticism of Big Business would be necessary and yet not forthcoming from Free-marketeers. A perfect free market would require, universal access to perfect information so that each particpant would have opportunity to make fully informed rational decisions whether hiring an employee and knowing exact work output at previous employment or school or consumer to know exactly the profit margin when comparing competing products or services to judge which is the best value. This would eliminate privacy for every individual (both homo sapien and  incorporated varieties), there would be universal access to information and transparency. No business would be allowed proprietary information or company secrets; no boss would be free from informed criticism from his/her employees regarding ability to compensate; no barrier to enter market just because there is a lack of contact information to an existing client base and what they are paying their current vendors.

What Free-marketeers actually call for is a stacked deck in favor of the few economic victors, putting the masses of consumers/citizens at the lowest end of priorities. Equality of the market only exists respectively to the size of one's bank accounts. We could trade in the stability that interventionist government provides, but the economic victors and the shot-callers won't allow their own stability and station in life to be at risk. And the deluded Libertarians/Objectivists constantly barking at the public officials that are to blame for all the world's ills never cricitize the real decision makers, the people that fund elected officials campaigns and hire the regulators when they eventually leave the public sector. But those deluded provide a distraction and a false intelectual riguer to rationalize a new Gilded Age, and a Divine Right of Corporate Kings.