I just want to take a moment on Super Bowl sunday and say that I am very pleased to see that the phrase “crony capitalism” is getting more airtime in the media, such as this piece in the Washington Examiner by Glenn Reynolds (linked via reason), here on Forbes, and on this piece on prison privatization (which I actually agree with.)
Another term I’m glad is appearing more often is corporatism, which is being misused more often than not, but I’m at least glad it’s appearing and people are discussing it, such as in this reason piece.
The reason I’m happy is because this is what libertarians have been fighting against for years. Throughout the Clinton and Bush administrations, when libertarians tried to argue for capitalism and free markets, they were hounded by progressives and so-called “liberals” for supporting big businesses exploiting and plundering the American economy for their own gains. Of course, libertarians do not support corporate subsidies, corporate welfare, and corporate bailouts, but the term “corporate socialism” which I heard used was really inadequate and made absolutely no headway. Corporatism and crony capitalism, on the other hand, both do a far better job describing what is going on in this country than “corporate socialism” ever did, because let’s face it: it’s not socialism. Sure, there many be elements of it, but it’s not socialism.
I find it even more important in the wake of the Occupy movement, because that was the original and core concern of the Occupiers. They were not socialists or bat crazy progressives, at least not in the beginning. They were average Joes and Janes who felt cheated by the system, who had done what they were expected and told to do and came away with nothing, but watched the TV and saw banking executives walking away with billions of taxpayer dollars after the market crashed. There is really no way you can argue with that, because it’s all true: corporate (and particularly financial) executives cheated. They lobbied, they bribed, and they won. It’s not fair and it’s wrong. The Occupiers had the right idea, originally.
The problem came when they simply refused to really do anything about it outside of just sitting on their bums and
whining protesting. They blocked streets during the commute for no other purpose than, perhaps, to annoy everyone and cause them to lose public support. They were taken over by labor unions, socialists, and idiotic hippies who figured they had another lifeline to extend their dead-end political ideologies, not to mention several people who just wanted to be there to be “cool.” And then, of course, you had the rapes and the public health hazards that were created by the poorly maintained camps, which is cited as the main reason that police in cities across the nation have started pushing people out.
Make no mistake, the real threat to freedom and free markets today is crony capitalism, not socialism or other left-wing ideologies. It is simply corruption, and that is something that everyone–left, right, and center–can agree must be driven from the economy. Getting the word out right now is the best thing we can do, so we can educate the populace and let them know that yes, Virginia, there is truly a difference.