Volatility

March 18, 2011

Corporations Are Extensions of Government

 

The nuclear disaster in Japan has once again highlighted the basic insanity of this technology. Allegedly failsafe systems readily failed, and aggravating the catastrophe has been the failure of spent rod storage, which again reminds us that no one has come up with a solution for what to do with nuclear waste because there is no solution.
 
We all know what the solution will be. It will be directly dumped in the ghettos of the poor, overseas and probably domestically as well. Any nuke supporters out there – you know it. That’s what’s going to be done.
 
I’m not going to rehash the whole argument here. Instead, I’ll just mention how nuclear energy is one of the most egregious examples of corporate welfare. The entire structure from uranium extraction to electricity delivery is a massive, bloated corporate/government nexus. Nukes = Big Government, Big Corporatism. In fact, as many objections as I have to nuclear energy, my main objection is that it represents the further centralization of political and economic power, the further concentration and intensification of corporate and government power. It’s a further step in the opposite direction from where we need to be heading.
 
As for the idea that nukes are somehow a substitute for fossil fuel extraction and burning, and that when we choose nukes we’re choosing not to blow up mountains for coal or drill offshore, that was never anything but a fantasy. The US has deployed nuclear reactors for forty years now, and there’s been no slackening in the pace of fossil fuel extraction or imports. It’s clear that the corporatist nuke complex is built only in addition to the exploitation of fossil fuels, not in place of it.
 
Indeed, the fact of the corporate/government nexus means that the economy couldn’t work that way anyway. There are no substitutes for existing rackets, only new members of the gang. There’s no established sector where supply has anything to do with what would be demanded in a truly free market. On the contrary, the goal in every sector is simply to produce, with the government guaranteeing the rent extractions wherever there’s insufficient demand.
 
The oil and coal companies have no purpose or responsibility but to produce and sell oil and coal. They bear no market risks or responsibilities, for example to “compete” with nuclear energy, because the government guarantees their rents with however many subsidies are necessary. There’s indirect subsidies like policy which favors increased energy consumption, military spending, and allowing externalizations of costs and risks on society and the environment. But there’s also things like alienation of public property through absurdly lenient royalty and mining laws. This is simple embezzlement, like all other privatization. Then there’s examples the way the government simply refuses to enforce the Clean Water Act where it comes to mountaintop removal mining. This is another example of how corporatism is legalized organized crime. There are also direct subsidies, tax breaks, and so on ad nauseum. The government will extend this hospitality however far is necessary to guarantee the sector’s accustomed level of rents.
 
So nukes do nothing to mitigate this corporate welfare sector. They merely become another, gratuitous one. Big Government doesn’t get more intrusive on the “free market” than this. The health racket bailout is merely an extreme example of the way the government creates forced markets for corporate rackets. This is the nature of the command economy.
 
Add the government’s imperial, police state, contract enforcement, and imprisonment functions, all on behalf of its corporate owners, and we have the bagman/goon theory of government. There are several different versions of the Big Lie to pretend that the government is not simply an extension of corporations, and vice versa. Conservative lie about being against Big Government when they really just want all government resources to go to the bagman/goon functions. But they don’t want it to get smaller, only bigger. Similarly, liberals lie about the government being a counterweight to the corporations. But they also want the corporations themselves to exist. In the end, liberals also want the government to keep getting bigger, but only as bagman and goon. By now they’re indistinguishable from conservatives on policy. Then there’s the more honest and childish “libertarians” who admit the existence of the command economy and claim to want to get rid of the bagman/goon completely, in favor of a direct corporate dictatorship. The corporations themselves are more intelligent than this and want to try to maintain the facade of government. Libertarians as well usually end up supporting the Big Government bagman/goon functions.
 
What is a corporation, really? It’s clearly nothing but an artificial extension of government. Even in Dartmouth vs. Woodward, the original SCOTUS case which first invented the concept of a corporate “right” under the Constitution, John Marshall called the corporation “an artificial entity…existing only in contemplation of law.” This, what Ted Nace still calls the artificial entity theory, is actually the definition of a corporation. Subsequent “theories”: the transparent veil, the organic/natural entity, the “corporate personality”, were simply exercises in absurdity intended to Constitutionally justify jurisprudence and legislation which empowered this particular government branch over other branches of government and over the people themselves. In chapter 14 of his Gangs of America, Nace describes how even corporatist jurisprudence found these theories ultimately unusable (as explicit doctrine, though not as implicit guiding ideology) and discarded them in favor of ad hoc rationales.
 
Nace writes, “A business can exist without the blessing of government. A corporation, by definition, cannot.” As he says, this isn’t a theory, but a definition. From there it’s axiomatic that it cannot have Constitutional rights, any more than any other government body.  Here’s the extent of the rights of a corporation according to the artificial entity theory:
 

The artificial entity theory does not deny that corporations can
have some rights, but it limits those rights to the functional ones necessary
for the corporate entity to participate in the legal arena: the right to
own property, the right to enter into contracts, and the right to defend its
property and enforce its contracts in court.

Implicit in the artificial entity theory is the philosophy that legitimate
power can only emanate from democratic institutions. The theory
reflects the wariness toward corporations inherited from the colonial
period, a belief that corporations will inevitably seek power over their
legislative masters. Such fears have even older roots in traditional English
law. For example, mortmain (“dead hand”) clauses in church charters
limited the amount of land that the congregation could own, in
order to prevent the accumulation of real property in immobile corporate
hands. (p. 192-3)

 
Anything beyond this, for example the notion of a corporation having Constitutional rights, is an example of the solecism of sovereignty, a sovereign over sovereigns, a self-contradiction of the concept of sovereignty itself. We see how the exile of corporations from the text of the Constitution was indicative of how the framers recognized the corporation as too dangerous a concentration of anti-democratic power. They would not have been surprised to see the evolution of organicism, originally a liberal theory intended to create counterweights to the state, to the natural entity theory of the corporation, i.e. an extension of state power through the profit-seeking corporation, to its ultimate manifestation in fascist theories of the “corporate state”. The line of descent here is logical and, given the inherent fact of power’s encroachments on liberty wherever it possibly can so encroach, inevitable. Once again we see the inner affinity of liberalism and all other authoritarian corporatism.
 
The correct view of sovereignty is as follows:
 
1. The people and only the people are sovereign.
 
2. The people can constitute a body to incarnate this sovereignty, whatever they choose to call this body. Government is the most common term, but it can also be called other things.
 
3. Whatever its form and name, this sovereign entity cannot then create a new sovereign form which it then places prior to itself. This is a conceptual absurdity, a constitutional abdication, and a political usurpation. Yet that’s precisely what the “natural entity” theory of corporations claims: That even though a corporation is an artificial creation of government, it is also prior to the government in its rights and prerogatives.
 
We see how it’s impossible for the government to charter a corporation, thereby creating an extension of itself, and then declare this extension not only outside itself but prior to itself. Yet that’s exactly what government claims when it confers Constitutional rights on corporations.
 
We can analyze this absurdity another way if we look at the Bill of Rights, most of which have been hijacked for this fraudulent corporatist purpose. The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to restrain the tyrannical actions of government against the people. So by definition these rights are the rights of the people vs. the government. How can they also be the rights of government vs. government, which is the way we have to view such notions as “corporate free speech”?
 
In practice, such “rights” are in fact still meant to be the same government vs. the people, but with the tables turned. In its corporate form, the government is now represented as the victim of the people, which needs to have its rights protected against the people. It’s actually the criminal minority which needs protection of its “rights” against the democratic majority. Once again we see the fundamental malevolence of the ideas contained in Madison’s Federalist 10 and 51. That’s what’s really going on with the campaign to invent corporate rights under the Constitution.
 
What’s the real relationship of rights and corporations? What’s the answer when a corporatist demands to know, “Can the police search corporate premises without a warrant?”, as Greenwald and others did in defending Citizens United and the concept of corporate speech? The answer is that a corporation is in the same position as any other government entity. Does the IRS or the FDA have “rights”? What happens if the FBI wants to conduct a search of another government premises? Whatever the procedure, no one claims it must recognize a Constitutional “right” of that government agency. The procedure with the corporate/government agency must be the same.
 
I’ll conclude with a reprise of the conclusions of two earlier posts, the first on the identity of corporations and government, the other on how to limit government and corporate assaults by limiting the government’s pro-corporate power:
 

Let’s get rid of ALL government regulation. That means all government assaults on our rights as citizens and human beings. And it means eradicating big corporations and all the regulations and taxes those corporations impose upon us.

1. Corporations are artificial creatures of the government. So by definition they are extensions of the government, and all corporate power is laundered government power. Every regulation and tax a big corporation inflicts upon us is really a government regulation and tax.

2. Corporations directly write or implicitly dictate all government laws, regulations, and taxes anyway. So any direct government regulation or tax is being imposed upon us by the big corporations.

So however you look at it, whether you approach it from the “left” or the “right”, whether one’s preferred mode of thought and expression is anti-corporate or anti-government, either way it comes down to the same thing.

This is one tyrannical nexus of regulation and taxation, corporate and government, all of it purely predatory and parasitic. The only answer, the only way forward, is to rid ourselves of this evil nexus in all its manifestations…..

The radical extension of government’s contract power as well as the radical extension of its initial arrogation in empowering corporations in the first place are expressions of Big Government at its most aggressive. How ironic that it’s the self-named “libertarians” who have been the most fervent ideologues of this radical, aggressive Big Government, and all these aggressive interferences in the market. (There’s no such thing as a “free” market, but there are certainly more or less free markets. A market where government interferes to create corporations is a market greatly distorted by Big Government action.)

So there’s a basic principle and practical outline for policy advocacy.

1. Limit corporations by limiting government, and limit government by limiting corporations.

2. The most simple and far-reaching solution: Abolish the government power to create corporations in the first place.

3. Short of that, the basic concept is to limit the contract recognition and enforcement power to the kinds and magnitudes of contracts which are in the public interest.

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30 Comments

  1. This post should be required reading!

    Consistently great points one after another.

    Pass it on…

    Comment by Tom Crowl — March 18, 2011 @ 7:03 am

    • Thanks, Tom.

      Comment by Russ — March 18, 2011 @ 8:16 am

  2. The problem isn’t the existence of corporations but rather the collossal failure to limit exploitation of the corporate form. Regulation has been hijacked to produce monopoly and rent extraction on the one hand, financiering and insider looting on the other. Veblen understood that corporations were useful in the primitive accumulation stage of capitalism, but should have been turned over to a cooperative society of engineers by roughly 1915. Instead we got the income tax, the Fed and perpetual war.

    Comment by jake chase — March 18, 2011 @ 7:48 am

    • What’s up, Jake.

      Who knows, maybe that could have worked. It’s a moot point now. By now corporations are out of control beyond any chance of recall, and anyway they’re the vehicle of the re-imposition of feudalism as we enter the post-oil era.

      So we can’t compare the situation to what should have been done at the beginning of the Oil Age, and we can’t turn to clock back. We either continue to democratically evolve, or perish.

      Comment by Russ — March 18, 2011 @ 8:23 am

      • Jake’s got it right and it is not a moot point at all …

        Government is an ALLIANCE of all the people.

        When the wealthy few buy the politicians of that government and create exclusive self serving ALLIANCES — like corporations — to exploit other members of the original ALLIANCE and ultimately take over the entire government, which is the case now, they have deceptively hijacked the original ALLIANCE — it no longer exists!

        The answer is to make government BIGGER so that it maintains the strength and integrity of the ALLIANCE.

        Corporations, or separate large task specific entities, are necessary to take on projects of scale, like NASA and going to the moon. They should not be owned by a wealthy few. The solution is to demand elected citizens be put on corporate boards (large task boards) in number proportional to the potential impact of the specific project entity. In the case of nuclear power it would never have got off the ground as a truly citizen representative board would have opted for less dangerous, more decentralized self sustaining technologies. Similarly a truly representative government would not allow and revere all of the billionaire assholes, like Warren Buffet, running around the planet exploiting and enslaving at will.

        Which gets us to the real central problem; the electoral process is owned and controlled by the wealthy elite and their corporations and there are too many ‘work within the system dodo sucker believers’ that continually validate that corrupt system by suggesting remedial plans to it and voting every few years. The sustained aggregate generational corruption of the rich has also allowed media corporate giants to come into being that have shifted the culture and produced the system dodo sucker believers and haters of ‘big government’.

        Big government, a TRUE ALLIANCE of all of the people equally –voting every day with their actions of respect of others in the ALLIANCE — is the answer.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        Comment by i on the ball patriot — March 19, 2011 @ 8:16 am

      • Hmm, that doesn’t sound like the kind of stuff you used to post, i ball. Is it a joke?

        The i ball I remember knows as well as anyone what a lie all that good government crap is.

        And we’ve seen how worthwhile the space project has been for everyone but the contractors.

        Comment by Russ — March 19, 2011 @ 9:27 am

      • No joke Russ and I didn’t say NASA was perfect. I used it as an example that bigness is sometimes necessary for larger social projects.

        If good government is crap it is because the citizens don’t demand transparency and accountability. They have been brainwashed into believing that they can have good government by simply voting every two or four years and further brainwashed into believing that their current problems are governments fault. The wealthy elite and their corporations own and control the government. They are responsible for the intentional global financial crisis — the serial bubbles and counterfeit derivative products — that now pit the prudent against the not so prudent globally.

        They are also responsible for the intentionally divisive “government is bad” meme which you have apparently bought hook, line and sinker. Societies can not function without alliances of individuals. Those alliances are called governments. Governments are good and necessary and the more all inclusive and fairer they are the better the are. To hate ‘your’ government is a form of self loathing. But it is not your government. It is the wealthy elite’s government. Taking down the rich and reclaiming that hijacked government is the solution.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        Comment by i on the ball patriot — March 19, 2011 @ 11:26 am

      • i on the ball, I am skeptical of any social project on the scale of NASA.

        NASA, anyway, was never a “social project”; NASA is an outgrowth of militarism, empire, what-have-you.

        The conquest of space does not benefit humankind in any rational way that I can see. It’s another one of those technological “givens” of which the underlying assumptions are going to have to be seriously re-examined.

        I understand what you are saying about people being universally involved in their self-government, but there’s the point Tao Jonesing raises below: bigness is just not a positive attribute.

        Comment by Lidia — March 19, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

      • I agree with all of that except your counter-evidentiary contention that we can still “reform” top-down centralized elitist government (that’s a multiple redundancy I just wrote there).

        It’s proven that all forms of government except direct democracy, which I obviously don’t call “government” at all, inherently move toward corruption and tyranny.

        Even if a citizenry did temporarily maintain freedom’s necessary vigilance toward power (as the ideals of the American Revolution assumed it must do at all times), power would wage its usual war of attrition, the vigilance of the people would be worn down and lulled to sleep, and the end would be the same as always.

        It’s simply a broader manifestation of the same attrition phenomenon whereby it’s impossible to regulate corporate rackets. Attrition will always win in the end.

        So the only course left is to finally take democratic responsibility for ourselves, get rid of the state and corporations, dump all “elites”, and assume full human status.

        Comment by Russ — March 19, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

      • Lidia, I see tremendous societal benefits in the conquest of space, all centered around the knowledge that has been gained as a result of it. It has a past similar parallel in the conquest of the oceans by shipbuilding. Consider that one could also argue that shipbuilding is/was not rational at the time that ships were first developed. There is a potential good and bad in most everything that humankind creates. The key is how larger scale social projects are selected and managed, either by the elite few who favor the militarism and empire you speak of, or by the democratic masses, who, if not so sullied by the propaganda of the present elite, I would hope would make more socially responsible choices.

        Bigness is a positive attribute in the sense that it is as necessary as the size of the alliances that are forged. Bigness provides the bonding security for the group and must be all inclusive of the group in order to sustain itself. Corporations of the wealthy elite shatter the alliances and break down that bonding security with their self serving actions and internal exploitation of other group members.

        Looking way down the road … ultimately if we are to have peace and harmony in the world we must all become one in a global ALLIANCE of one. Those that seek to create self serving alliances must be reigned in. Balance is the watchword. Evolution must be served with continued growth but evolution will and can accept a more balanced self sustaining growth that limits the individual pig billionaires in income wealth and asset accumulation wealth. It is the crooked over consuming and over controlling deceptive rich that inhibit freedom and stifle the remedial collective will of the people — the remedial collective will that would provide them (the people) with more freedom and the opportunity for developing a more accountable and transparent ‘eternal vigilance’.

        Russ said; “So the only course left is to finally take democratic responsibility for ourselves, get rid of the state and corporations, dump all “elites”, and assume full human status.”

        And you will not do that on your own … and when you form that ALLIANCE of like minded democratically responsible individuals, BIG ENOUGH to effect that change you desire, you will be forming a group that is universally recognized as a ‘state’. And will you then rescind all powers of that newly created BIG STATE when you have accomplished your goals or will you rather create a workable system of more accountable and transparent ‘eternal vigilance’ to maintain your newly acquired freedom?

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        Comment by i on the ball patriot — March 19, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

      • i ball, I don’t think anyone here thinks one can form a “party” or armed movement or something which could take over the whole Ozymandian structure intact.

        On the contrary, it’s clear that we must organize federatively, primarily to have a relocalized structure intact as the kleptocracy inevitably collapses, however gradual that process is. This will also help erode the deteriorating foundation, accelerating its collapse.

        So your notion that we’re going to take over a “big state”, or replace one big state with another, is unresponsive. Big structures are doomed because they’re physically unsustainable. The energy to power them will no longer be available.

        The same goes for growth, which hasn’t existed in over a decade now. What you’re still calling “growth” is really just financialized accounting fraud and shell games, and adding to the externalized environmental bill on the civilizational credit card.

        And even if large structures weren’t physically impossible to sustain, they’d still have their proven record of corruption and tyranny. Size and democracy cannot coexist. History proves this. So I’d still oppose them.

        Comment by Russ — March 19, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

      • i-ball, I hear what you are saying about wanting a responsible government, but this current incarnation of society is just borked. It cannot be reformed, you must let it die. Your energy will be better spent helping to move through our next social phase-transition.

        Corporate control of the economy is a problem. Voting based on opinion for what is popular (either in the polling place or the marketplace) is a problem. Don’t worry about the baby in the bathwater because there isn’t one. These are simply outmoded ways of organizing ourselves. We can do better, and there is no reason that we should tolerate systems with known structural flaws.

        I do take issue with the idea that “big” is intrinsically “bad”. The particular relationship that small parts have with the larger system determines if this is so.

        Comment by Karl — March 19, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

      • Just to be more clear, Karl, by “big” I mean any power concentration above the sovereign (local/regional) level.

        I don’t necessarily mean any vastly confederated project as such, although I’m skeptical that any post-oil project is going to be worth extracting such a surplus and entrenching such a sunk-cost power center. We know where that leads, and where all previous promises have led.

        Comment by Russ — March 20, 2011 @ 3:33 am

  3. I’m still here, checking in nearly every day, finding myself in agreement with most of the Ted Nace stuff, not so much on the Middle East, where I think it will simply be a choice of thugs and a turn toward virulent religious fanatacism. As for America, I believe, unfortunately, that it will take more and bigger disasters for a sufficient goundswell to produce anything resembling useful change. The good news (taking a long view and apart from the cost to existing people) may be that disasters are becoming more frequent. I always thought Marx was naive about capitalism, but perhaps the naive one was Keynes?

    Comment by jake chase — March 18, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    • Glad to hear you’re still reading, Jake. Yes, the Middle East evolution is fraught, and there’s lots of ways to fall off the tightrope. But I’m not going to waste the first real chance for optimism even for the shorter run. And as I’ve been saying, though you disagree, I’m fully confident about the long run.

      I think Marx’s basic forecast – that capitalism will be inexorably driven to destroy itself by generating overwhelming force against itself even as it fatally undermines its own structure – is coming true, although it took longer than he expected, and the details are totally different. Most importantly, it will not be a concentrated industrial proletariat overthrowing a (physically) concentrated industrial power structure.

      Since I already wrote a post on the current status of the Marxian prognosis, I won’t recap it here.

      https://attempter.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/marx-neo-feudalism-and-peak-oil/

      Keynes was evidently far too optimistic about the possibility of taming capitalism, and as far as I know he believed in infinite growth.

      I admit I also feel Schadenfreude over how the very name “Keynes” has become an all-purpose insult among conservatives, the very capitalists Keynes wanted to save from themselves. Ah well, you know what they say about the company you keep.

      Comment by Russ — March 18, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

  4. It’s good that you keep hammering these points home. A lot of neoliberal doctrine depends on ignoring the fact of the corporation and the distortions it creates in society. The fact that otherwise right-thinking civil libertarians like Glenn Greenwald support free speech rights for state supported artificial entities that have no bodies and, therefore, no voices with which to speak, shows just how successful neoliberals have been.

    Interestengly enough, Walter Lippmann recognized the statist nature of the corporation in his “The Good Society,” which became the blueprint for Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” and Friedman’s “Free to Choose” (the dumbed-down version for American readers). But Hayek and Friedman left out the part about corporations . . .

    Comment by Tao Jonesing — March 18, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    • It seems like they just keep a list of who nominally has free speech, and want to make that list as quantitatively long as possible. They fight for corporate speech rights and say “Hooray! This makes the list a lot longer!”

      They’re too stupid to understand that if one speaker drowns out a million others, the actual amount of speech has been hideously degraded. But at least they have their longer list. That’s process liberals for you. It’s crackpot civil libertarianism.

      Of course, I think a lot of them are actually intentional traitors.

      Greenwald actually has said some worthwhile things about corporations. His post on the health racket bailout got to the core of the issue, that everything is now corporatism vs. democracy, like few others I read.

      Then, of course, he pulled his characteristic one-step-forward-two-steps-back move, regressing to process liberal mode and saying “Maybe the bill is marginally better than the status quo!” Suddenly the structural onslaught he had just analyzed, compared to which even a real short-term crumb would mean nothing, no longer mattered.

      I analyzed the Greenwald two-step as well:

      https://attempter.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/did-you-read-your-own-post/

      But I do think Greenwald is mostly good, unlike some others. For a truly vile denial that corporations are any problem at all, goofing on stupid hippies like me (I’m a hippie refugee from the Sixties, evidently), check out this swine:

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/hive-minds-and-kleptocrats/

      Comment by Russ — March 18, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

      • “if one speaker drowns out a million others”

        There’s the “too big” thing again. Scale swamps everything, especially morality.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — March 18, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  5. Large coal and nuclear power plants also place a heavy burden on water resources and the creatures that live there.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/15/nuclear-earthquake-tsunami-energy-industry

    France likes to showcase its nuclear power industry, which supplies 78% of the country’s electricity. But such is the nuclear industry’s water intensity that EDF withdraws up to 19bn cubic metres of water per year from rivers and lakes, or roughly half of France’s total freshwater consumption. Freshwater scarcity is a growing international challenge, and the vast majority of countries are in no position to approve of such highly water-intensive inland-based energy systems.

    Comment by Karl — March 18, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

    • Thanks for mentioning water. Almost everything we discuss here has dire water implications as well, but I usually don’t mention it just because I can’t focus on everything. (I probably will say more about it where it comes to farming issues, ethanol, etc.)

      Yet liberal nukesters and other greenwashers like to claim that nukes are somehow ecologically friendly, and better (even good) from the point of view of resource limitations.

      That would be a “No” on water. Same for the way uranium mining inflicts the same hideous destruction as surface mining for coal. And the fact is that the mining and distribution of uranium and construction of nuclear power plants all depends on the foundation of cheap, plentiful fossil fuels. Just like every other major industrial project, including any large-scale renewables buildout.

      We can’t have a mass consumption based way of living without cheap oil. Where it comes to energy there really is no free lunch.

      I wouldn’t make such a big deal about the illusions of “smart grids” and such if they were merely harmless. But such notions are actively harmful because they continue to astroturf faith in “solutions” which still rely on centralized big government and big corporations. Any idea which relies on the continuation of these is by definition a bad idea.

      Comment by Russ — March 19, 2011 @ 3:12 am

  6. “What is a corporation, really? It’s clearly nothing but an artificial extension of government.”

    I believe the inverse to be true. The Government is an artificial extension of the corporatocracy. The Mafia, in its prime, was a corporation. Corporations + Government = Mafiocracy.

    I live in the city that has the distinction of being the home base for the GE-Hitachi nuclear division. Two days ago I asked one of the GE nuclear division engineers why thorium isn’t used instead of uranium. His sincere answer was, “What is thorium?”

    Walmart Nation is populated by the ignorant and the addicted–addicted to government paychecks and subsidies, prescription drugs and corporatist controlled mass media. There is little left to do but to try to prepare, as best as possible, for the inevitable collapse of Walmart Nation.

    Comment by black swan — March 19, 2011 @ 7:17 am

    • It’s a dialectical nexus by now. Corporations certainly were originally creations of government. Since then they bought the government and turned it into what is largely an appendage of themselves. They want to make it purely such an appendage. That’s the purpose of the globalization administrative system.

      This bagman/goon government in turn enables the corporation to get far bigger and more predatory than it ever could if it dealt with the government of the civics textbooks.

      So it’s government -> creates corporations -> buy and corrupt the government -> works only for the further aggrandizement of corporations -> and so on in a vicious circle.

      So one can phrase it any way one chooses, as long as it’s clear:

      1. Corporations originally were created by government and can exist at all only on account of government.

      2. They now comprise a single kleptocratic nexus.

      Comment by Russ — March 19, 2011 @ 9:35 am

  7. Russ,

    Enjoyed reading your latest post, and I still check out this blog every couple of days, or whenever I have time.

    I was also reading some comments today at Naked Capitalism, and can’t believe how many pro-nuke shills have suddenly appeared there. Over the last week or so, it seems the pro-nuke lobby is everywhere, and they keep spouting the same non-sense and self-serving lies: according to them, Chernobyl only killed 50 to 100 people. The reality, of course, is that Chernobyl has killed and is still in the process of killing hundreds of thousands of people, as documented in “Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”, a 327-page volume by three scientists, Alexey Yablokov and Vassily and Alexey Nesterenk, considered the definitive study to date.

    Also over the past week, I’ve been surprised by the number of people calling themselves greens or environmentalists (such as George Monbiot, for instance) who still support nuclear power.

    Are these people insane, don’t they understand that the nuclear waste will all be dumped on poor countries? And if that isn’t bad enough, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a major accident in Europe or the USA.

    Have all these pro-nuke, so-called environmentalists sold out to the nuclear lobby and corporate money, or is there something else going here on that I’m not aware of?

    Comment by Frank Lavarre — March 19, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

    • Hi Frank,

      I remarked at NC how it seemed like the pro-nukers were out faster and in greater force even than the Wisconsin Koch shills had been.

      It seems like they’re insane. It’s as if the obvious insanity of nukes, even more than that of the banks, disproves the most fundamental delusions of techno-“growth” civilization, and they just can’t take it, so they’d rather double down and destroy the world than admit they were wrong and that growth and consumerism just don’t work.

      It seems like the inhibitions are being shed with increasing abandon, as everyone is scrambling to be the first off the cliff. It’s like the medieval Dance of Death.

      It seems like something even worse than disaster capitalism, which is rational at least from the short-term perspective of the predator. But here we really seem to be seeing a death wish. People would literally rather be dead and the whole world be dead than accept anything less than the kind of consumer luxury the TV promises.

      That must also be the reason they haven’t done anything about the banksters. Like they need a melting-down nuclear reactor, they feel they need the TBTF banks as well.

      Well, if enough people continue to be that way, in the end they’ll get exactly what they’re really asking for. If the meltdowns and waste storage disasters don’t get them, JPMorgan’s debt prison will. Or Smithfield’s lethal pandemic. Or Monsanto’s famine out of GMO collapse. Or Blackwater’s direct murder.

      Comment by Russ — March 19, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

      • NC seems to be full of astroturf commenters these days. They’re probably being paid to deliver the message.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — March 19, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

      • Yeah, I thought the Freudian death wish (“the task of which is to lead organic life back into the inanimate state”) had been pretty much discredited by now, but it seems to be making a comeback.

        It looks like it’s going to take a major catastrophe right here in the USA to wake people up. Something like an uncontrollable pool fire of radioactive waste triggering a nuclear meltdown which then spreads radioactive debris over a 400 to 600 mile radius, including Cesium-137 (which causes cancer, genetic damage and birth defects).

        Maybe that would change people’s minds about nuclear power? (Although by then it will be too late, and when it comes to Cesium-137, iodine pills aren’t going to help save anyone.)

        Comment by Frank Lavarre — March 19, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

      • I think most people have woken up to the problems of nuclear power. Their voices just get drowned out by astroturphers who get paid by corporations to make it look like there’s even a debate.

        This is just one manifestation of one voice drowning out many voices.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — March 19, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

      • One of the weird things is how it’s become an issue of nuclear vs. fossils, as if those are the only two choices.

        But you know, I–along with probably a lot of people–came here from Naked Capitalism, which started out as more of a markets blog before turning into a general econ blog. And having been in the markets for a while now that old saw about alternative energy being worthless is COMPLETELY WRONG.

        It may have been true ten or twenty years ago, but not any more. Wind and solar can accomplish a whole hell of a lot. We might have to subsidize it in the near term, but the strides these technologies are making are very encouraging. And another nice thing about them is that they can be decentralized, meaning that we need not rely on some poorly regulated private company to serve us electricity… we can make it ourselves.

        Comment by jimmy james — March 19, 2011 @ 11:47 pm

      • I read somewhere that just last week Chu asked for a major escalation of nuke subsidies. On the Dance of Death meter that’s even more advanced than Obama’s doubling down on offshore drilling right before the Gulf Oil Eruption.

        Here’s the Obama (i.e. the US elites in general) administration doubling down on nukes as the newest, worst disaster unfolds.

        Still no word yet on what is to be done with that radioactive waste. I also read that Obama wants to cut spending toward figuring out how to dispose of it.

        Like I said – in the end they’ll dump it directly wherever the rich don’t live and don’t have their food grown.

        Comment by Russ — March 20, 2011 @ 3:46 am

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