<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d7519574\x26blogName\x3dNanovirus\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://nanovirus.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://nanovirus.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-286840175626180089', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Thursday, August 12, 2004

 The Corporatist States of America, Part 1

I'm becoming increasingly convinced that America is no longer a capitalist democracy but a corporatist democracy. Capitalism is the private ownership and private control of capital. Communism is the public ownership and public control of capital. Corporatism, which was the economic component of fascism during World War II, is a blend: private ownership but public control of capital.

Corporatism is socialism for the wealthy: it has the outward form of capitalism in that it preserves private ownership and private management, but as with socialism, government guarantees the flow of material goods, which under true capitalism it does not. In classical capitalism, what has been called the "night-watchman" state, government's role in the economy is simply to prevent force or fraud from disrupting the autonomous operation of the free market. The market is trusted to provide. Under corporatism, it is not, instead being systematically manipulated to deliver goods to political constituencies.

Public control over the private sector is manifest is a variety of ways. For example, the US security establishment is rapidly increasing its ability to monitor average Americans by hiring or compelling private-sector corporations to provide billions of customer records. Sounds like tinfoil hat stuff, but it isn't. Check out the ACLU report that
  • Documents how individuals are being recruited to serve as "eyes and ears" for the authorities
  • Examines how companies are pressured to voluntarily provide consumer information to the government
  • How the government uses private data on a mass scale, either through data mining programs like the MATRIX state information-sharing program, or the purchase of information from private-sector data aggregators; and
  • How some companies are pushing the government to adopt surveillance technologies and programs based on private-sector data.
Corruption associated with government contracts, especially contracts for military expenditures, are blatantly corporatist. Beyond doling out goodies to companies, the profiteers feed back into the Bush re-election machine. The powers of government have been harnessed to maintain a Republican party lock on power. Consider that...
  • In 2003, a few of Bush’s closest political allies created New Bridge Strategies to help corporations "evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the U.S.-led war." New Bridge shares its Washington, DC offices with Barbour, Griffith & Rogers -— the high-powered Republican lobbying firm founded by Haley Barbour, former head of the Republican National Committee and current governor of Mississippi. The firm’s CEO is Joe Allbaugh, the Bush/Cheney 2000 national campaign manager (and subsequent head of FEMA), and others involved include Ed Rogers (a top aide to Bush Sr.) and Lanny Griffith (who held several top advisory positions under Bush Sr., and is a 2004 Pioneer). Allbaugh recently registered as a lobbyist with Lockheed Martin.

  • Top GOP strategist Charlie Black’s clients have included Fluor, which received a big public works contract in Iraq to reconstruct the country’s water and electricity. Black is chairman of BKSH, an affiliate of global public relations giant Burson-Marsteller, and a big backer of Ahmed Chalabi before the war. In June, the London-based Telegraph reported that an arrest warrant was issued by the Iraqi police for Francis Brooke, a BKSH consultant who attempted to block a recent raid on Chalabi’s Iraqi headquarters, after Chalabi was accused of passing American secrets to Iran.

  • The US Agency for International Development allowed BearingPoint to help write the specifications for the $240 million contract, which in effect knocked its competitors out of the running, according to AID’s own inspector general. BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting) and its employees have given more than $117,000 to the 2000 and 2004 Bush election campaigns. In 2003, an $80 million BearingPoint contract in Florida was withdrawn after critics complained about the company’s close ties to Gov. Jeb Bush.

  • Former Rep. Bob Livingston, R-La., runs a lobbying firm that has represented well-placed Iraqi families seeking to form business alliances with U.S. and foreign companies wishing to do business in Iraq. Livingston has also gained some notoriety in Washington for lobbying against provisions that would ban tax-dodging companies that have incorporated offshore from being eligible for federal contracts. Recently he was part of an effort that succeeded in convincing Congress to drop an attempt to block the Department of Homeland Security’s from giving Bermuda-based Accenture a $10 billion contract for, of all things, "border control." (US taxpayers who don’t have any offshore accounts might not be happy to learn that Accenture also has a contract to help the IRS upgrade its website.)

  • In 2003 Coalition Provisional Authority chief Paul Bremer issued a decree that Iraq’s 200 state-owned companies would be privatized and that foreign owners would be allowed to expatriate 100 percent of the profits. This looting of Iraq’s state-owned businesses—disguised as "private-sector development" was stalled by worker protests and skepticism among wary investors concerned about the strength of the insurgency. Thomas Foley, a former Citigroup banker assigned by the CPA to oversee the privatization process, returned to Greenwich, Connecticutt in early 2004, where he is the state co-chair for the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign.

  • Three weeks after construction and engineering firm Washington Group was awarded a contract to rebuild water projects in Iraq, 31 company employees gave $27,750 to Bush. By the end of April 2004, CEO Stephen Hanks had become a Bush campaign "Pioneer" (by raising more than $100,000).

  • A political appointee working under Douglas Feith made the decision to override objections from career Pentagon contract experts to award Vice President Cheney’s old firm, Halliburton, a key oil-related contract which provided the company an inside track for no-bid billion-dollar contracts. (The fact that Cheney’s chief of staff was notified of the decision contradicts the vice president’s claim that he has had no involvement in the decision.)
I'll continue this analysis in Part 2.


Post a Comment

You are NOT on the Nanovirus home page. Go here to read more articles!