3/02/2006

The Age Of Nefarious:Hippies Reckon With Manipulated Economics

(Corruptco Week tips a hat to Rev. Gisher for tirelessly spreading the K Street joy around blogarama)
Ok, we have a global economy and it is perhaps a dated mindset to consider things like economic protectionism and trade partnerships. Where we used to criticize our government for favoring sectors in our own economy, we now see a scenario emerging where we favor certain economies, certain governments, and on the surface this seems fine because after all, in the liberty clique, we should only trade with nations that, like us, uphold their moral authority. I mean, we would not deal with a country that say, gives comfort to the ‘enemy’. Nah. Lobbying by foreign governments? How ABSURD! Giving them control of essential infrastructure? Hardly proof that we’ve gone mad!
Next you’ll suggest that free trade would reduce the influence of multinationals and foreign governments, next you’ll say that we should reduce the influence on our elected officials by considering free trade policies. And then as hippies, we will be forced to think outside the bong a bit. (continued)

Because we are talking about corruption, we cannot help but get around to lobbyists and the economic factors that make lobbying so successful at this point- we can trace many actions we disagree with to their influence on policy – which is without question undermining our political process. This is a reality we cannot ignore on the right or the left, although we tend to look at economics from these places. Should we? Many of us disagree also about indicators of prosperity, and often the free trade argument considers such factors as jobs compared to cheap goods.

Consider though the difference between a free trade system and an economy significantly regulated by government, domestic and globally. On the surface it sounds incompatible with our ‘lefty’ arguments to suggest less governmental oversight as opposed to more. This does not sound like a ‘leftist’ argument at all. But there is a difference between regulating the legal actions of industry, say, for the good of the environment and regulating the ECONOMY to such an extent that the government is constantly trying to tinker in favor of one sector or another, thus raising the strength of certain industries by artificial means and often at the expense of another sector. Or trade agreements that do not address human rights and equity, but rather, address the whims of the fatcat foreign investors.

Why do we criticize the Bush administration, for example, but yet-want to increase the authority of his ilk?

Now, if they tinkered for the good of the public, as WE the public would like, we might applaud this stance on business. We might look at tinkering as a way to address inequity, imbalance, even the playing field, help those businesses that are less able to compete to thrive. Whether we should even do that is debatable, but certainly there is a time and place for the law to step in and impose a standard of fairness. For example, we can agree that stopping child labor is an acceptable intrusion. But petropolicy? How many lives will that cost us? Energy subsidies?

Why are we giving killers and destroyers tax breaks while we shout about countries that shelter terrorists? While we knowingly support companies that have a hostile position on environmental degradation? How many have died from tsunamis, hurricanes, acts becoming more frequent and more catastrophic as the climate changes?

But what about those areas that do not pertain to human rights- Subsidies, back room deals, corporate welfare, tax breaks, legal loopholes and no bid contracts? We know that we have an environment that feeds the inexhaustible appetite of the lobby interests. We know that the more the government regulates and the more politicians are owned by industry- the more opportunities there are for the political processes to carry out the will of industry perhaps in direct opposition to the public’s best interest.
We must therefore work on curtailing the interests of lobbyists and their ability to set policy, or we must concede the fact that the government is perhaps not to be trusted with the reigns of the market to the extent that we give it. The current system is a lot like permitting foxes to run the henhouse.

The excessive interests of well funded lobbyists are arguably the biggest threat to social change, social reform…perhaps the biggest barrier to addressing injustice and participatory democracy. As long as this goes on, the system will be too corrupt for any of us to exert any influence no matter who is elected, no matter what party you support. The planet will continue to deteriorate, poverty and hunger will continue.


So, it either needs to be addressed by limiting the power of the lobbyists or limiting the power of the government to respond to them. One or the other, but the current system cannot continue.

13 comments:

The Hole in the Bucket said...

Not sure who the protagonist is here or who is at fault for the current ideals/results of free trade as their are many hands in an ever emptying bucket...but I do have a suggestion. Let's only do business with countries who are willing to buy stuff with actual money. I heard it's a good way to cut down on the debt we have and the debt we are owed...as a part of this deal we should also fire all the congressman/senators and just have the lobbyists run the country...they're already doing all of the legwork...and they are obviously smarter than the people we elected.

fosco said...

yeah but what if they insisted WE only use actual money to buy THEIR stuff? We would be devastated!

A Suddenly larger hole in the bucket said...

Good point, I was hoping nobody would mention that possibility!

Adorable Girlfriend said...

The people might be for this as long as they still have their evil Wal-Mart to shop at. Some how that seems to be the only concern of Middle America anymore. It certainly isn't the Katrina lies!

tp said...

See, I can understand people with a different political philosophy or a dfferent ideology. I can understand differences in what one thinks 'should be'. But to support Bush is like supporting the neighborhood child abuser. Supporting his administration is like supporting something independently sinister and swinely.

It is more than a party matter, its a matter of permitting criminal acts to go unpunished and that flies in the face of our conceptions of justice.

Rory Shock said...

sounds like it ain't a democracy ... this system is too insulated from the interests of the people ... the people should be the only lobbyists ... there is no reason to have lobbyists except to support corruption ... lobbyists should be outlawed ... those with the most money should not have the loudest voice ... fuck em ... if it would be too "disorganized" to allow all the people who want to say something to talk, fuck em ... we essentially have such a system ... anyone can "write to their congressperson" that, campaign reform, and swift sure, reliable and speedy execu ... er elections should take care of the horseshit ...

LILY BRANFORD said...

Thats the point, I think, that the PEOPLE should be the lobbyists. Or they should not be on the public dime. We have the WORST of both ideologies, big spending bureaucracy but LITTLE for the people and taxes that go to their games instead of people's interests. We have these bastards trying to control who we marry and when we have children, but they don't get involved where it is their damn place. THAT is the irony and that is what I am questioning. Both sides, left and right, are getting the flipside of what they want.

I'm just trying to make sense of that idea.

Rory Shock said...

And thanks for doing so ... this is a good one to chew on ... a really central issue that needs clarity ... thanks for broaching it so starkly and clearly

Static Brain said...

Hey Lily You mentioned at unspun on a post I made that you didn't know what had happened to me. Well I write for unspun but I have an old blog at staticbrain.blogdrive.com which is where all my archives are. I also went out and bought my own web space and dot com, so you visit my new home at staticbrain.com Glad to know somebody actually reads what I write. Thanks. You write pretty good yourself. Come on by new site and say hi.

Dude said...

For example, we can agree that stopping child labor is an acceptable intrusion.

Cheap clothes are like cheap drugs. You'll need to convince people they don't need 12 sets of sneakers, before they're going to get on-board the ban child labor bandwagon. Oh, they'll condem it...but the siren song of Wal-Mart is pretty powerful.

some_maineiac said...

this is the point exactly...the influence that lobbyists have had over this government's economic policies since perhaps the waning days of Ike's reign, when he noted the existence of the military-industrial complex...these lobbyists are the tools of the oligarchs who have been allowed to run our country through economic manipulation and their actions are a big reason why the "new boss" of one party's government is always very much like the "old boss" of the other's when you look past the differences in social attitudes...

and in the existence of a global economy, the global lobbyist becomes much more sinister...

tp said...

I vote for Maineiac!

brandongeraghty said...

The global ecoomy is nothing more than a means by which Multi-national corporations--which show no loyalty to anything or anyone except the bottom line and themselves--are attempting to destroy nation states.

The irony here is that the people who feel threatened by "big government" have actually allied themselves with anti-representative enties over which we have no control. At least in a democratic society we have a chance of voting out our leaders. survivingh By their very nature corporations are totalitarian in nature. The question being, if pirate capitalism is so good for representative government, why don't we get to elect the Boards of Directors and CEOs? I'm speaking tongue in cheeck, of course, but the fact remains that the bottom line philosophy of corporate America is in direct opposition to American values and American liberty.

BTW. If capitolism and freedom do NOT always go hand in glove. Think the People's Republic of China which is making economic reforms but very little in the way of political reform.

Graphics by Lily.Template Designed by Douglas Bowman - Updated to New Blogger by: Blogger Team
Modified for 3-Column Layout by Hoctro