The God of the Machine - Tranche 33

Posted by mshupe 9 months ago to Economics
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Chapter XVI, Excerpt 2 of 2
The Corporations and Status Law

The mixture of political power in economic life had the effect of insolent corruption. The remedy for abuse of political power is to limit it; but when politics corrupt business, modern reformers invariably demand the enlargement of the political power. This was done by diverting attention from the cause to the effect and legislating against the natural process which had been injuriously affected – triple perversion. The proposal to regulate corporations to prevent monopolies seemed plausible.

Other complaints comprised a triple contradiction. They were accused of charging too much, or underselling competition, and of price fixing. The only acts which could be alleged against corporations are the necessary acts of production and exchange. The real offense was the use of political power. The reversion to status law in anti-trust legislation went unnoticed. They had secured a law under which it was impossible to know what constituted a crime . . . all productive effort liable to prosecution.

Its name is Administrative Law. During the 19th century, it survived only in Russia. Travelers heard of it with astonishment. Nothing more preposterous could have been imagined to fix upon American corporations, which have carried on a variety of trade so vast that it makes all previous production and trade look like a roadside stand. In the political field, competition is for power over other men. Government cannot restore competition . . . is monopoly. This is the essence of the Society of Status.


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  • Posted by 9 months ago
    It is very commonly assumed that businessmen corrupt politics, but this is absurd. Politicians have always held themselves to be morally superior and have a fiduciary responsibility to voters and all citizens. Businessmen have a fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders, bondholders, suppliers and employees under the bonds of written and verbal contracts. Ultimately, they must serve their customers best to fulfill those obligations.
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    • Posted by freedomforall 9 months ago
      It isn't either corrupt politicians or corrupt businessmen. It's sociopathic, evil people that desire the power to rule over others and to enslave them.
      The sociopath is not chained by laws or by contracts. Those are just speed bumps to be overcome.
      The banking cartel was not devised and formed by politicians.
      The military industrial complex could not have formed without demand from government power-seeking tyrants, but financing that demand came from the power-seeking members of banking cartel.
      The system of centralized power in virtually all large organizations gives sociopaths the structure they need to seek power using every lie and destructive trick they can devise. Everyone else is prey.
      Systems that allow unlimited growth of centralized power has always been the problem. That attracts and promotes sociopaths, imo.
      I wish I had an easy solution, but the only exceptions I can think of are 'benevolent dictators' and that only works as long as they live.
      Even that exception may be false since a dictator has some ability to control the history written about his reign.
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      • Posted by 9 months ago
        It is not true to say that it is sociopathic. It is also not good form to psychologize when principles and logic are much more useful. As Dr. Samenow (author of Inside the Criminal Mind) has stated, it doesn't matter why criminals act criminally. It matters to correct that behavior. Even worse is your benevolent dictator panacea. Regardless, my comment and this post are directed at the solutions for organizing society. It is not systems that allow unlimited growth of centralized power that are the problem. It is people who allow other people to create and maintain those systems. What this post doesn't mention is the plurality of rational people needed to defend and maintain true civilization. What attracts people to government power is fear and envy. There's a bazillion of them out there who are not sociopaths.
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  • Posted by VetteGuy 9 months ago
    Reminds me of Reagan's comment:
    "Government is not the solution to the problem. Government IS the problem". No one seems to get that these days. For every issue, both sides seem to be screaming for the government to "do something". Rarely is anyone screaming for the government to GET OUT OF THE WAY.
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    • Posted by 9 months ago
      I think that's why the conservative argument for free markets falls on deaf ears. Reagan is correct, government is the problem, but it's essential to say exactly how and why. When that is accomplished, it will be evident that government is not the primary problem, is the effect. It is up to us to identify the cause. No conservative has ever done that. Henry Hazlitt was great, but he was more utilitarian. Mises is even greater, but neither could he make a total break from altruism. A great place to start is to simply, clearly and forcefully define the solution. For example, capitalism requires the absence of force. Socialism (welfare statism, progressivism, fascism) require force. Then, it must be understood simply and clearly how force manifests itself and why it is really bad.
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