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Corporatism and Communism: Too Close for Comfort?

October 7, 2009

Today I actually agreed with the opinions expressed in an article at HuffingtonPost. Don’t worry; I’m not abandoning the moderate ship, small and leaky as it is. Check the article, then see my response below.

I’m a staunch moderate and I applaud this article.

When I worked in the corporate world, I was shocked by the similarities between corporatism and communism: the disdain for individualists, the excessive regard for “team players” (comrades) who follow orders, the Orwellian notion that some team members are “more equal” than others, and of course, the dictatorship of unelected executives.

In other words, here was an ostensibly capitalist enterprise fostering the kind of soul-numbing collectivist values you’d find in the U.S.S.R.

The U.S. has become a plutocracy. Maybe it always was. The triumph of corporatism has smothered most of what was good about free enterprise: the George Baileys have lost out to the Mr. Potters; we’re all living in Potterville now.

How did so many Americans buy into this strangely un-American system? Well, the money was good.

You don’t have to be a leftist to fume about American corporatism. The system needs reforming ASAP: at the very least we need to put ordinary employees on the corporate boards, establish pay ratio limits and stop rewarding executives who make bad decisions. I don’t think the government should be running the companies directly (I’m not that far to the left), but we need to make them accountable to a central board comparable to the Fed.

Then the hard work begins: reforming the culture of corporatism from inside.

Rick Bayan
The New Moderate

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2009 5:05 pm

    Are you sure you are still “a moderate”? In investing its called style drift; it happens to a lot of us. Could it be that any system can be compared with another and you can draw parallels. Compare communism with facisim and you find common threads. All too simple, I’m cynical about DR’s conclusions; most things in life are gray not black and white.
    Oh, and I love your dictionary.

  2. October 9, 2009 12:08 am

    Ah, a fellow cynic — welcome! I know my comments on this topic make me look like Michael Moore on a bender, but one of my defining beliefs is that moderates can be radical, even revolutionary. (Look at Ben Franklin.) The key is to maintain a balance between extremes in society; a moderate doesn’t want to see the scale tilted toward the plutocrats or the underclass. For about 25 years now the scale has been tipping in favor of corporate ruling class. I’d just like to tip it back toward the center.

    I’m not an anti-capitalist, but I’m increasingly an anti-corporatist. Sure, plenty of corporations make plenty of worthwhile products, but 1) they’ve become far too influential with our elected representatives, and 2) they’ve essentially become winner-take-all games, with the CEOs often earning 1000 times more than the average employee. That, to me, is unacceptable; it makes a mockery out of everyone else’s hard work, not to mention our starry-eyed democratic ideals.

    When I was a kid in the 1950s, there were rich people and poor people, but we all seemed to exist within the same order of magnitude (or close to it). The top baseball players, for example, made about $80,000 a year when the average salary was about $8000. That 10-to-1 differential seems fair and acceptable within a free enterprise system; I’d even be fine with 20 or 30 to 1. But our current 1000-to-1 ratio reeks of Bourbon French class privilege, and you know what came next.

    So, at bottom, all I’d like to see is a restoration of 1950s-style capitalism: steady, equitable, loyal to good employees and worthy of their loyalty. That’s not so immoderate, is it?

  3. October 9, 2009 10:15 am

    Labels, critic, cynic, left, right, capitalist, communist, radical, pacifist. They get blurry with thinking people like you. I would mention Rockefeller, Carnegie, etc. of super multiples of salary, or returns, or whatever. They didn’t call them robber barons for nothing. They and greedy capitalists enabled the brave people responsible for the leveler: unions. From good comes evil and we know how that story is ending (GM, Chrysler, etc.). Bottom line, I agree with a lot of what you say, but big, whether it is government, religion, business, can become a mechanism for screwing the little guy.
    BTW: to GR’s point, China is a communist/capitalist country with mooch o oppression of its people. And, they will probably lead the way to alternative energy. Go figure.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    April 20, 2015 7:09 pm

    Finally someone who understands what is going on .Read Foundations Their Power And Influence by Rene A Wormser. .I lean to the right the author leans to the left. So what ? It does not matter. The author of this article hits the nail on the head and transcends party lines ! Why would ultra wealthy corporations vote to equalize everyone else ? Why would corporations give to environmental groups ? To control resources, that’s why ! Racism, Feminism, Environmentalism and all the other” ISM ” ideologies are tricks of control that I refuse to subscribe to .This is the essence of Communism .It is where the elite rule over the equalized .It is not a system of government to uplift the downtrodden masses. It is a system of government for control .Never in human history except the last 200 years has the common man been able to chart his own course and shape his own destiny with honor and dignity .For 35 of my 54 years on this planet, I have managed to resist the social conditioning of our media and culture .I have always been a staunch anti Communist and I always will be .My complements to the author.

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