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America is/is becoming a corporate state

You're being way too reductionist, buying the anti-capitalist propaganda. To be sure, there's plenty of bad things to be said about corporations. But it's tremendously naive to believe that it's corporations that are calling all the shots.

Remember, the corporations looking for these perks are every bit as dependent on the power of government as the government is on corporate donations. So directing ire at corporations for trying to get rents out of the government, without simultaneously excoriating government officials for selling out, is misguided.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the only viable strategy to combat this is to combat the government abuses.

The corporations are doing what's natural: find places where they can get advantages over competitors, and take them to maximize shareholder value. But the government officials are more culpable. They are making promises that they (seem to) have no intention of keeping, and in doing so are blatantly violating their oaths of office. While the negative end results is the result of each, I believe that the members of the government are more immoral, and more deserving of our anger.

And the answer is not greater legislation to control corporations. That's just giving the government more power that they can sell to the highest bidder. The answer is to strip away the government's power. This may seem counterintuitive, because it appears to leave us unprotected against corporate abuse. But when the vehicle to that abuse is through government power, then curtaining that power leaves the corporations themselves unarmed against us.

This is really quite analogous to the arguments for/against gun control. Sure, demanding licensing of guns, etc., keeps the weapons out of the hands of much of the public. But the bad guys still get the guns, and the poor law-abiding citizens are then left defenseless. It's better, in my mind, to ensure that we can all compete on a level playing field, rather than handicap the citizenry so that the bad guys (or the corporations) get the power.




...You're being way too reductionist, buying the anti-regulation propaganda. To be sure, there's plenty of bad things to be said about regulations. But it's tremendously naive to believe that a lack of regulations - a case which we have recently experienced with the deregulation of the finance markets and of Wall Street, and the subsequent financial melt-down - will cure our ills.

There is ample evidence of corporate fraud in recent years, not the least of which is around the mortgage securitization processes.

We need a level playing field, with known, equitable rules, and with enforcement, and with judicial review.

Commit to regulation and a pro-governance model? Lose.

Commit to a corporate model and a pro-corporate model? Lose.

It's about balance.


it's tremendously naive to believe that a lack of regulations ... will cure our ills. ... It's about balance.

You'll have to first account for two words: "regulatory capture".

Until you can find a miracle to get around that problem, regulation is in the long run destined to be turned inside-out and used to sustain the industries. Look no farther than the current debates about various IP problems for an example.


This is one of the better reasoned comments I've read in a while.

There is an old Milton Friedman video floating around which dates back to the 1970s. At the time he was spending a lot of time trying to convince people that oversized governments weren't a good thing.

One of the very salient points he makes to a detractor is that if you limit the size of the government, you - by nature - limit the power a corporation can obtain. If the government has limited powers, so it goes that a corporation can gain limited powers - it should be impossible for a corporation to gain more power than a government.

It's the essential point that everyone skips over - they see government powers failing to check corporate growth, and so want more government power. If you take this to the argument by absurdity, you end up with a fascist government that exerts total control over the people, and then licences that control out to selected corporations in return for cash and favors.

The problem is human nature - and the solution must be to design a system that makes the assumption that humans will try and gather power and abuse it. It's the same concept as term limits but applied across a much broader spectrum.


People still invoke Milton Friedman like some guru to be respected? They guy's theories were the cause of the worst economic fiascos in the history of fiascos (in general, not just economic ones).

Consider this "very salient point": "if you limit the size of the government, you - by nature - limit the power a corporation can obtain. If the government has limited powers, so it goes that a corporation can gain limited powers - it should be impossible for a corporation to gain more power than a government".

This point is BS. There are places where corporations (or even one corporation) have more power than the government everywhere around the world, especially in Africa and Asia. There are entire countries where the government is just paid lackeys and a front for some mega-corporation. There is even a term for those, they are called "banana republics".

The limiting of the argument to "one corporation" is especially BS, since even if a single corporation cannot get "bigger than the government" in a place like the US, the "corporate interests" can and do get bigger than the government.

Despite fighting in the market (and that, only if they are serving the same market, which, say, Google, Exxon and GE do not), corporations also agree on a lot of things. For example media companies agree on SOPA and PIPA and a thousand other things (drm everywhere, destroy cinematographers unions, etc). And all corporate interest's also converge on a lot of things, like tax deductions, being able to fire any employee at will, lower minimum wages, unpaid overtime, etc.

Consider a country where there is no public health coverage. What will happen will not be "competing health services for the benefit of the customer" but an emergence of a health industry cartel and the total dependence of the people in it. Things that need big scale and resources, like building, buying equipment, and running a hospital or a bank or an insurance company, have been seen time and again to build cartels with "competitors" and kill competition to maximize profits.

(See also: http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27512/ , but one can also see it from experience, if one follows the political/social history of more than one country --something easy to do in Europe).

People talking about the limiting of the power of government always have in mind the equation "government = some politicians who abuse their power", and never "government = the only power body that is elected and somewhat controlled by the general public".




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