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Corpocracy: Has The Supreme Court Opened The Door To Our Future Government?

01/25/2010
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In this week’s landmark decision, by the Supreme Court on campaign financing, one may argue that in their precedent setting decision the Court has opened the door to a new political party and to a new form of American Government?

In stating that basically corporations are people too, the Court has set America on the path to Corpocracy.

Corpocracy, or Corporatocracy, is a form of government where corporations, conglomerate or government entities with private components, control the direction and governance of a country. As much as the “right” rants against the Obama Administration taking us down the path of socialism, Corpocracy is considered to be a form of fascism.

Corpocracy has two factors: campaign finance and special interests, also can include government ownership.

Corporations provide financial support to competing political parties and major political party candidates. This would allow corporations to hedge their bets on the outcome of any election so they are assured to have a winner who is en-debted to them. As politicians are increasingly dependent on campaign contributions to become elected, their impartiality on issues which have corporate interest is compromised.

I believe this is far from what our “Founding Fathers” envisioned when they wrote the Constitution.

Under a Corpocracy, former corporate executives could be appointed as powerful decision makers within government institutions. They would be in charge with the regulation of their former or future employers which would lead to regulatory capture. Rules for lobbying would be a thing of the past.

Those who dismiss the Corpocray theory will say the only way it is possible is if it were legal to buy the votes of our politicians and that is illegal. However, under the terms of at-will employment, corporations can require their employees to vote certain way in exchange for (continued) employment.

It does not take an overt effort to buy a politician’s vote. Making a substantial donation to a certain politician’s campaign can be seen as a signal that the money is there if they vote in a way the corporation desires. Conversely, the money could be donated to an opponent if the vote does not go the way of the corporation.

President Dwight Eisenhower even saw fit to argue against the strengthening corporacy and the evils of such a government. I join him in that argument.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Duh permalink
    01/26/2010 12:35 am

    McCain-Feingold was enacted just after the 2002 elections so it has only been around a few election cycles. The court has, so far, simply overturned a portion of this attempt at campaign finance reform and returned things to the way they were just a few elections ago. I don’t see it as an earth shattering ruling on the part of the Court.

    I am somewhat sympathetic to the fears of an all powerful corporatocracy and believe Eisenhower’s admonition to beware the military-industrial complex, as you pointed out, is with merit. But your arguments have fallen flat on a few key points (when specifically put in the context of McCain-Feingold).

    “This would allow corporations to hedge their bets on the outcome of any election so they are assured to have a winner who is en-debted to them.”

    They always have and McCain-Feingold did not change this. There are numerous lists available showing campaign contributions by company to each party (and candidate). It is public information. McCain-Feingold (“MF”) never prohibited it. The relevant portion of MF only limited the amount of direct corporate contributions. That is primarily why 527’s popped up with such vigor (such as the Swift Boaters against Kerry). They become indirect contributions and under MF were still as limitless as the number of 527’s they could create.

    “Under a Corpocracy, former corporate executives could be appointed as powerful decision makers within government institutions. They would be in charge with the regulation of their former or future employers which would lead to regulatory capture.”

    This is also independent of MF. It too has always been this way. Look at the current administration and count the number of Goldman Sachs executives who have been appointed as powerful decision makers at Treasury, the SEC, etc. Then look at the number of former executives from JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley… Wall Street is completely embedded in this administration. You would think the Republicans were in office by just looking at the appointees!

    “However, under the terms of at-will employment, corporations can require their employees to vote certain way in exchange for (continued) employment.”

    Can you name just one instance of any employer accompanying employees into a ballot box to ensure employees vote a certain way? Ever? This isn’t a serious argument.

    So what is the main change you will see this November with the repeal of certain parts of MF? Corporations and labor unions may run commercials mentioning candidates by name within 30 days of an election. That’s pretty much it.

    Again, I sympathize with the corporatocracy argument and believe it should be addressed. McCain-Feingold, however, didn’t do it — not one little bit. In my opinion, the most egregious things about MF are 1) the government telling me how much of MY money I may donate to the candidate of my choice and 2) those stupid “I approve this message” disclaimers at the end of all campaign commercials now. Neither of which, unfortunately, has yet been overturned.

    I know your post was addressing the larger issues and not the specifics of MF but you placed it under the umbrella of the “landmark” Supreme Court decision so I am just trying to point out that the decision was not very “landmarky” and we are no nearer or further away from a corporatocracy because of it.

  2. Duh permalink
    01/26/2010 12:40 am

    Again, I disagreed with you but thanks for another post that makes me sit back and think about the issues we are facing.

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