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
. 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.
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.