"What we have now is not capitalism. It's corporatism. We need a return to true free market capitalism!"
You've probably heard this statement a few times, especially if you spend any time frequenting any alternative media or groups that aren't left wing in nature. It's the maxim of libertarians and conservatives disgruntled with the current system.
It's time to put this delusion to bed.
The idiom is correct in one aspect - what we have now is corporatism. But what its proponents fail to understand is how this came about. This is not a case of "capitalism going wrong", and if we just "do it right" things will be better.
"Corporatism" is the inevitable result of capitalism!
Don't agree? Just think for a minute how it came about. How did companies get so big? How did they get so powerful that they could take over the government, creating laws to make them even more powerful?
Here's a clue, it wasn't some lucky accident. Money makes money, and money buys power. Accumulation is self perpetuating. In a "free" market, eventually, some corporations are going to grow so big they become monopolies. And the more free the market, the more likely this becomes.
Once a couple of companies are big enough, they can start taking over the governments. It can start with good old fashioned bribery, then lobbying, then they get bolder and bolder until they're writing their own bills. Or even printing the money which is the reserve currency of the whole planet...
Again, this is not some lucky fluke. What do you expect to happen when corporations get richer than governments?
We can't fix this by "getting money out of politics", because as long as there is an incentive for corporations to control the rules which restrict their wealth accumulation - it will always find a way in.
We're not going to fix the problem of corporatism with a return to free market capitalism. Free market capitalism is what caused corporatism in the first place!
Image by Ryan Van Lenning