Corporatocracy

By Jacob | Related entries in News

Wikipedia

This article has multiple issues.

No kidding.

Let’s start at the beginning:

Is corporatocracy a far-left conspiracy theory or is it that government of the people, for the people and by the people perishing from the earth?

It’s hard to say – literally, corporatocracy is a hard word to write and say.

It occurs to me that a certain segment of the population has a large bullhorn and is gearing up for a civil war.

Their fears are justified. But is the enemy who they think it is?

I think the answer lies in the “multiple issues” that need to be worked out in the corporatocracy section of Wikipedia.

Now, if we can figure out how to say it, maybe we can talk about it.


This entry was posted on Saturday, November 7th, 2009 and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

10 Responses to “Corporatocracy”

  1. Tweets that mention Donklephant » Blog Archive » Corporatocracy -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Justin Gardner, Donklephant. Donklephant said: DONKLEPHANT: Corporatocracy http://ow.ly/160daC [...]

  2. Chris Says:

    I think the real reason behind this upsurgence in talk about this country being a “corporatocracy” is the peasant complex. People have been fooled into believing they need the rich people at the top to keep the country running. That makes the rest of us serfs.

  3. kranky kritter Says:

    People think that when they manage to give something that bothers them a name, that they’ve achieved something of worth.

    It’s astonishingly obvious to most folks that various corporate entities have substantial influence within many elements of American government. Nevertheless, our government remains a republic, governed via representative democracy. And that repesentative democracy is subject to the influence of an extremely wide variety of interests. This includes but is not limited to things such as corporations, institutions, those practicing identity politics, unions, industry collectives, and on and on and on. And on.

    And on. The most irritating thing to me is that folks who think giving something a name is an achievement usually go on engage in a bunch more bad thinking. If for example America is called a corporatocracy, then this somehow means that its not a democracy or a republic or a meritocracy or an oligopoly or whatever. The evil has been identified and exposed, and fight can go on from there. Right? Whatever.

    America is a big, diverse, complicated, and often conflicted country. So it’s many things. It’s already well within the critical thinking skills of interested folks to discuss the extent to which corporations influence our politics. So here’s the thing

    We gain no real insight or utility by framing this discussion in terms of whether or not America is a corporatocracy.

    The use of the term therefore deserves to be restricted to idiotarian scholarship in graduate school for polysci students. Where the vitriol level is so high because the stakes are so low.

  4. Nick Benjamin Says:

    I doubt many actual political scientists use the word. It’s just not very useful for figuring out why government behave the way they do.

    The biggest problem is that in states where private enterprise is not organized into corporations economic interests are still very important to the government.

    A second gigantic problem is that “corporation” is usually defined as any group of people organized together for a common purpose. This means political parties, churches, etc. count. Thus a political party is, by definition, corporate, and therefore any country run by political parties (aka: all of them, except Uganda, which swears it has no political parties) is by definition a Corporatocracy.

    Corporatism is a more useful concept. In those systems everyone is organized into interest groups in the capital, and political decisions are made by those interest groups. Fascist Italy made extensive use of this system.

    Actual government by for-profit corporations is not a new concept. From the late 18th century onwards European countries frequently awarded corporations the sole right to trade between themselves and various non-European groups. The British East India company is the most famous, but it had French, Portuguese, and Dutch competitors. Much of Africa was colonized the same way.

  5. Jacob Says:

    KK:

    Obviously picking something at random and blaming America’s problems on it is stupid (akin to all the liberal/conservative blame going around these days). But:

    The most irritating thing to me is that folks who think giving something a name is an achievement usually go on engage in a bunch more bad thinking

    I don’t get it. How else do we learn and grow? Someone identified gravity once, gave it a name and defined it. Lot’s of people discussed it and some good things happened.

    It’s already well within the critical thinking skills of interested folks to discuss the extent to which corporations influence our politics.

    So don’t worry about it, the grownups are taking care of everything? I disagree. The interested folks are fighting a partisan war – either having Tea Parties or blindly supporting Obama. I think their critical thinking skills need a bit of exercise.

  6. kranky kritter Says:

    Not what I meant Jacob, nor what I said.

    As Nick seems to also see, it’s about utility. I don’t think the term corporatocracy is a useful addition to the vernacular concerning political thought.

    Gravity ? I think gravity is something in a way that corporatocracy is not. As a concept, as an idea, as a phenomenon, gravity seems to exist in a concrete, demonstrable, measurable way. Corporatocracy? Not so much.

    Of course, I’m open-minded enough to also wait and see whether folks who love their new coined term can prove me wrong. For now, I think this is an effort to lend some sort of philosophical and academic legitimacy to the longstanding populist progressive complaint that corporations are a root of substantial evil. Maybe they’ll be be able to provide some useful insight, and turn that into useful viable prescriptions for change. I’m not holding my breath, though.

  7. Jacob Says:

    I don’t think the term corporatocracy is a useful addition to the vernacular concerning political thought.

    I’m inclined to agree just because it’s so hard to say. But Corporatism doesn’t quite address the the specific influence of for-profit MNC’s that, I believe, needs to be defined so it can be discussed.

    I’m inclined to think that some of the energy spent on the partisan wars would be better spent defining this “concept/idea/phenomenon”.

    P.S. I wasn’t trying to put words in your mouth, just trying to get what you were saying.

  8. Nick Benjamin Says:

    One reason I’m very suspicious of attempts to describe the actions of multi-national firms with entirely new words is the simple fact that multinationals have been doing this shit for centuries. A lot of the change is a simple reflection of the end of Imperialism. Remember at one time Canada, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, and Nigeria were all the same country.

    This means one of two things is happening. One: A brilliant new group of Progressive intellectuals has discovered behaviors that went on for centuries without being noticed by intellectuals. Two: A bunch of pretentious blowhards made up new words for well-known concepts, are now demanding tenure, and will probably whine about corporate influence if the Dean dares to notice their entire careers are BS.

  9. Mike Finnigan Says:

    Most of those calling for civil war – the tea baggers – remind me of serfs, who, having been informed that the Master’s castle is under attack, grab their pitchforks and rush out to defend him. A populist movement that addressed the issue of our corporatocracy would be welcome. But then, that would require an informed electorate and we aint got one.

  10. Jacob Says:

    One reason I’m very suspicious of attempts to describe the actions of multi-national firms with entirely new words is the simple fact that multinationals have been doing this shit for centuries.

    I’m concerned with the effect of “age old multinational behavior” on America in the information age.

    Specifically, I’m concerned with neutralizing the negative effects of this behavior that has demonstrably screwed people over the centuries.

    Ideally, our constitution/government is the best weapon we have against tyranny. But our constitution isn’t advertising on TV or billboards. Heck, even our politicians don’t seem well acquainted with the documents.

    History has shown us that MNC’s lack a moral compass. I just think this is a conversation more Americans should be having. Not to wage war against the evil corporations (!) but simply to make sure we’re still holding the leash.

    I think corporate influence in American policy, much like gravity, exists in a concrete, demonstrable, and measurable way. We should come up with a less hyperbolic name and encourage people to attain tenure discussing, defining and experimenting with it.

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