The C-Word

An obsession with corporations is driving the left crazy.

In early January, the British medical journal BMJ completed an investigation into one of the most notorious articles in recent history: Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 study in The Lancet claiming that the MMR vaccine, designed to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella, causes autism. The Lancet had already retracted the piece in February 2010 (following a partial retraction in 2004), and Wakefield was stripped of his medical license three months later. BMJ concluded that Wakefield consciously distorted the medical histories of each of the 12 patients on which he based his study. “The MMR scare was based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud,” Editor in Chief Fiona Godlee wrote. Such “clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare.”

Since the original article was published, vaccination rates have tumbled in the U.K. and U.S., while measles rates have shot up. Certainly Wakefield and The Lancet shoulder some responsibility for the damage done to public health. But bad information does not spread and trigger action (or, in this case, inaction) without a willing audience. The vaccine/autism link has been debunked repeatedly since 1998—by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine, and the British National Health Service, among many others. Yet the myth persisted. Why?

One reason is perfectly understandable: Reported incidence of autism was going up, and parents in this overprotective age were freaking out. Anti-vaccine sentiment also overlapped with the ideas of the all-natural wing of the counterculture. But a key precondition for believing and propagating the anti-vaccine myth was a fundamental distrust of corporations, especially the pharmaceutical variety.

“The story of how government health agencies colluded with Big Pharma to hide the risks of [the MMR-style vaccine ingredient] thimerosal from the public is a chilling case study of institutional arrogance, power and greed,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote in an influential, conspiratorial, and widely debunked article for Rolling Stone in 2005. “The evidence suggests our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children.”

You do not need to be an apologist for Big Pharma to observe that maybe it’s against the self-interest of an industry to deliberately poison its customers. So how does one arrive at such a monstrous conclusion?

In Kennedy’s case it’s of a piece with his belief that Republicans are in cahoots with big corporations to steal elections (such as the presidential race in 2004) and reintroduce fascism. “While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business,” he wrote in the 2004 book Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy. “My American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as ‘a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership together with belligerent nationalism.’ Sound familiar?” In Kennedy’s nightmare world, corporations can only be restrained by granting more power to a centralized government through measures such as nationalizing oil companies, re-instituting the Fairness Doctrine, and emulating the enlightened policies of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (the “kind of leader my father and President Kennedy were looking for” in Latin America).

Although the anti-corporate virus only occasionally infects the host with pro-Chavez insanity, even less extreme versions can do tremendous harm. Whenever you see an otherwise semi-sound liberal or progressive thinker succumb to fact-free paranoia, expect to find the c-word nearby.

The autism-vaccine fraud found its most receptive audiences in the left-leaning media outlets Salon, Rolling Stone, and especially The Huffington Post. Fear and loathing of corporations is at the heart of liberal revulsion at the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a ruling that you would otherwise think should warm a liberal’s heart, centered as it is on the right to broadcast a political documentary without approval from the government. Yet there was MSNBC host Keith Olbermann saying that Citizens United “might actually have more dire implications than Dred Scott v. Sandford,” the notorious 1857* decision that declared blacks had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

If political hyperbole were the only byproduct of anti-corporate hysteria, we could safely laugh at it and move on to more pleasurable pursuits. Alas, we do not have that luxury. As two articles in this issue vividly illustrate, fear of corporations is directly responsible for a dreadful mistake: increasing government control over the Internet. In “The Rise of Cybercollectivism,” Adam Thierer documents more than a decade of consistent—and consistently wrong—techno-pessimism from a parade of left-wing activists who believe state power is the only defense against a corporate takeover of all things online. In “Internet Cop,” Associate Editor Peter Suderman explains how that belief led the Federal Communications Commission to foist “net neutrality” regulations on a public that has never expressed interest in federal controls over what is arguably the single most remarkable development of modern life. Suderman shows that neutrality activists have managed to codify some of their goals even though they have yet to offer convincing examples of the corporate misbehavior they are trying to prevent.

That sort of anti-corporate policy nullifies the hard-won insights that many left-leaning policy analysts arrived at in the 1970s. December saw the passing of a great American: the academic and bureaucrat Alfred E. Kahn, father of airline deregulation. Kahn was a liberal Democrat who, after applying rigorous study to the impact of federal regulation on industry, came to the conclusion that in many cases regulation served to raise prices, blunt innovation, form government-sanctioned industrial cartels, and discriminate against new businesses. The market, not the government, was the most effective tool to discipline big business, because corporations that punished their customers were doomed to failure. In short, Kahn understood that misguided regulation produced exactly what Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claims to despise: big business and government entwined in unholy corporatism.

Liberals and Democrats in the 1970s —a decade that should have proved once and for all the folly of letting “the best and the brightest” try to build a technocratic nirvana—understood that loosening government control helped consumers at the expense of big corporations. The senator most responsible for pushing through airline deregulation was Kennedy’s uncle Ted. The staffer who did the most important legwork on the Kennedy-led Senate hearings was a guy who would later become a liberal Supreme Court Justice, Stephen Breyer. The most famous consumer advocate in favor of decontrol was Ralph Nader. And above them all stood a liberal president.

“I share the basic beliefs of my region [against] an excessive government intrusion into the private affairs of American citizens and also into the private affairs of the free enterprise system,” Jimmy Carter said in his one and only presidential debate with the man liberals now blame for deregulation, Ronald Reagan. “One of the commitments that I made was to deregulate the major industries of this country. We’ve been remarkably successful, with the help of a Democratic Congress. We have deregulated the air industry, the rail industry, the trucking industry, financial institutions. We’re now working on the communications industry.”

If only there were Republicans, let alone Democrats, who were as deregulatory in 2011 as Jimmy Carter was in 1978. 

Matt Welch (matt.welch@reason.com) is editor in chief of reason.

* This article originally misidentified the date of Dred Scott v. Sandford.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    You seem to have bought the premise that measles rates are increasing because MMR rates went down. There is, however, some evidence that the reason measles incidence is increasing is because the bug has evolved to be vaccine-resistant.

  • sevo||

    "There is, however, some evidence that the reason measles incidence is increasing is because the bug has evolved to be vaccine-resistant."
    Where would we find that evidence?

  • ||

    UGH - annoyed with myself. I was thinking of pertussis. Mea culpa.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    So therefore, continued vacination would be a good idea, so we can keep up with its evolution. MMR or Pertussis no matter.

    Or should we be trying to fortify ourselves against the disease by using less vaccinations? Darwin was a genius, but his ideas make ethical decisions harder.

  • Sam Grove||

    Vaccine resistance?

    As vaccines are made from debilitated viruses, and resistant virus would enable the production of a new vaccine.

    Vaccines don't attack viruses, they stimulate the body to produce anti-viral defenses.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    But we don't get better immunity. I'm thinking of anti-bacterials as well. Medicine in general gets into a trick field.

  • sevo||

    "While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business,”
    Yep, that guy Hitler was just putty in their hands.
    What an ignorant jackass.

  • MNG||

    What they are getting at is that fascists tended to sell themselves as a better alternative to businesses than communism.

    Mussolini and Hitler saw communism as dividing the nation into classes and they would have none of it. Instead they promised to unify the classes for the sake of the nation. This would involve businesses changing some and unions changing even more. But the overall set-up of private capital and profits would be preserved.

  • Tim||

    Unless you happened to be Jewish.

  • MNG||

    Yes, racism was a fundamental element of the German environment, though I would argue Italy was only somewhat different (Mussolini was all about glorifying the "Italian people" it's just he had a less crass and racialist idea of what that was)

  • Tim||

    fundamental element- you're fucking A right about that.

  • ||

    Yes, Italians were aghast not only when Mussolini sided with the Axis but when they found out what the Germans were up to. They had no stomach for it. And their fighting spirit reflected it.

    They just weren't that into it.

  • seguin||

    It didn't help that the Germans regularly hoarded the supplies for themselves, supplies shipped in by the efforts of the Regia Marina, or that they often didn't let the RE's officers in on planning, or in general were arrogant POS pseudo-allies.

  • ||

    What they are getting at is that fascists tended to sell themselves as a better alternative to businesses than communism.

    So can we simply call fascism; business friendly communism?

    Wait that sounds an awful like Obama....

  • Jim||

    The biggest real difference is probably not economically, but rather in values. While some communist nations had a nationalistic bent to their rhetoric stemming from an anti-western imperialism stance, mostly they talked about the "international" working class, the unity and equality of races, etc. Even if they didn't practice what they preached, they did preach it. The Comitern was international in outlook, etc.

    Fascism, on the other hand, instead of overthrowing the existing elites and replacing them, generally gets the same economic results as communism, only using the existing elites that are already in place. They preach a lot about "traditional" values, the supiority of a particular nation or race, and the rhetoric is not about "joining" with other workers, but rather crushing and subjugating the inferior workers who are not part of the favored nation / race.

  • ||

    While some communist nations had a nationalistic bent to their rhetoric stemming from an anti-western imperialism stance, mostly they talked about the "international" working class, the unity and equality of races, etc.

    I think you are a bit confused. Here let me clear it up for you:

    Nationalist communists = Communists in power.

    Internationalist communists = communists out of power.

    See how that works?

  • cynical||

    No, I think internationalist communists = communists in a position to successfully conquer other nations and "liberate" their working classes.

  • ||

    National socialism=fascism
    International socialism=communism
    Ipso fascism=communism=totalitarianism

  • sevo||

    MNG|2.7.11 @ 4:50PM|#
    "What they are getting at is that fascists tended to sell themselves as a better alternative to businesses than communism."

    Not sure who was doing the 'buying' concerning the claim; Weinberg ("World at Arms") makes it clear that direction and finally ownership of the industrial plant was going to end up in Party hands in the near future.
    I'd say the difference is that Hitler didn't get a long enough chance to show they were very similar.

  • Tim||

    In my reading, it was OK for businesses to exist as long as they worked for the collective good. Private interest and the outcome of that business could not conflict with national interest.

  • sevo||

    "In my reading, it was OK for businesses to exist as long as they worked for the collective good. Private interest and the outcome of that business could not conflict with national interest."
    I'd suggest you read Weinberg; that's a common misconception.

  • cynical||

    "What they are getting at is that fascists tended to sell themselves as a better alternative to businesses than communism."

    The fact that you aren't an ignoramus doesn't cancel out their idiocy. They could no more distinguish between dystopian cyberpunk corporatocracy and fascist corporatism than they could distinguish between a theocracy and a monarchy supported by a state church.

    But even that's charitable -- corporatism may have been a fascist policy, but its origins are in the progressive movement of the 19th and early 20th century. There's a reason they'd prefer for people not to draw an ideological line leading from progressivism to fascism, particularly since you can see the same ideas at work today -- bringing Big Labor and Big Business together with Big Government to manage a centrally run economy that will beat all those other nation's economies.

  • ||

    Isn't communism very anti-business? Proletariat and the working man and all that?

    Not that I'm surprised a moron like Bobby Jr. would confuse political systems.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Communism is very pro-business so long as you are a member of the Party and your business at least as the appearance of serving the state/revolution/party.

  • ||

    Communism is very pro-business

    Yeah read GULAG....Anne really shows this.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Yeah read GULAG....Anne really shows this.

    Got to put those kulaks and counterrevolutionaries somewhere.

  • ||

    No seriously read the book. The GULAG functioned like a corporation.

  • Janet Napolitano||

    I like this gulag thing. Wonder if we can implement it here...

  • Tim||

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote in an influential, conspiratorial, and widely debunked article for Rolling Stone in 2005. “The evidence suggests our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children.”

    Hey hey Hey! RFK! How many kids did you kill today?

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    What evidence? If this involves people who are still children, how does RFK know that they were actually poisoned. Just because something is poisonous in quantity X does not means that if we dilute it down to quantity Y it still will be.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    You do not need to be an apologist for Big Pharma to observe that maybe it’s against the self-interest of an industry to deliberately poison its customers.

    You're trying to prove too much. The question is not "Are they selling cyanide?" but "Are they selling something with an understated risk of side effects?" Corps have all the incentive in the world to cover up the latter question (continued sales, lowered legal liability, etc.). I take no stand on whether the MMR vaccine causes autism; I merely wanted to point out how this was in the corp's best interest.

    More generally, I'll believe Democrats & liberals are actually afraid of corporations when they stop shoveling trillions of dollars to them every year.

  • ||

    I'll believe the townsfolk are afraid of dragons after they stop sacrificing virgins to them every year.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    First, they need to prove that the dragon actually is out to get them. Maybe it only takes the virgins because they're offered, and would go back to killing animals in the forest if they aren't.

  • David||

    I don't think you understand how fear works.

  • sevo||

    "I merely wanted to point out how this was in the corp's best interest."
    Well, you've proven yourself a liar with less evidence, so why not?

  • Jersey Patriot||

    I guess that makes you the Evidence is Hard Barbie.

  • sevo||

    Go away, asshole.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Olbermann has always been pretty hysterical about just about everything.

  • MNG||

    You do not need to be an apologist for producers of peanut butter to observe that maybe it’s against the self-interest of an industry to deliberately poison its customers. Frankly, the very idea is unpossible!

  • sevo||

    MNG|2.7.11 @ 4:51PM|#
    "You do not need to be an apologist for producers of peanut butter to observe that maybe it’s against the self-interest of an industry to deliberately poison its customers..."

    Yep, real successful business plan; ask Bon Vivant soup company.

  • ##||

    Wow, I wasn't aware that producers of peanut butter were purposely marketing their product to people with peanut allergies. If only the gub'ment would step in and ban such a dangerous product. I'm allergic to penicillin. Better ban that too before it kills somebody!

  • ||

    Associate Editor Peter Suderman explains how that belief led the Federal Communications Commission to foist “net neutrality” regulations on a public that has never expressed interest in federal controls over what is arguably the single most remarkable development of modern life.


    There is a sizable percentage of people who favor net neutrality, but I'm having a hard time finding them thanks to lame question phrasing in polls such as this Rasmussen disaster that asked people whether they wanted the FCC to regulate the Internet the way radio and TV are regulated. That's not really the question; the issue is whether the current standards should continue vs. dual-charging people for traffic, and blocking or delaying some traffic in favor of other traffic -- that is, turning the Internet into a sort of cable TV-style walled garden.

  • Pip||

    First the came for the people opposed dual-charging people for traffic, and blocking or delaying some traffic in favor of other traffic.

  • BanditoWalrus||

    Yeah, but the problem with that is that no one has ever practiced dual-charging people for traffic, and blocking or delaying some traffic in favor of other traffic.
    Mainly because they would lose business if they did that.

  • MNG||

    I don't reflexively hate corporations. They are neat tool for pooling wealth and making money, which is a good thing. But I understand people that don't want to see corporations have too big a hand in our polity. They are creations, creations that intentionally separate ownership from management and liability, that are imbued with a fiduciary duty to simply generate profit (not push the public good, a value we usually hope is present in those participating in the polity) and their perpetual existence magnifies their influence.

    Members of corporations can participate in politics all they want, no problem. But they will do so as actual human beings with human concerns and characteristics. They can also combine in non-corporate forms, fine. But I understand some concern about corporate influence.

    Either way their reflexive corporation hate is no worse than the reflexive union hate of many here. If people fear something they really fear it when combination is possible.

  • Tim||

    Next you'll be telling us that Goldman Sachs is enriching itself at our expense.

  • ||

    Actually, Goldman is (and I am a shareholder).

    Hank Paulson gave them Fed discount window privileges in 2008 despite the fact that they were not a commercial deposit bank (and still are not).

    Goldman is a public hedge fund - not a bank at all, yet they get .25 Fed rates?

    One word -BUY!.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Dimon over at JP Morgan is also doing a pretty excellent job of showing why it's good to have preference from the regime.

  • cynical||

    "Actually, Goldman is (and I am a shareholder)."

    I think it was supposed to be more of a "no shit, sherlock" comment, unless I misunderstand.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I would say it amazes me that socialist pricks like shrike invest in the stock market, but socialist pricks like shrike invest in the stock market.

  • Pip||

    "Members of corporations can participate in politics all they want, no problem. But they will do so as actual human beings with human concerns and characteristics. They can also combine in non-corporate forms, fine. But I understand some concern about corporate influence."

    Jesus Christ are you stupid. Go tell that to the corporations affected by Obama's Hugo Chavezesq moratorium on drilling in the Gulf.

  • ||

    You're a fucking idiot. There is no moratorium on Gulf of Mexico drilling.

    I follow GOM E&P companies like MMR, EXXI, SGY, and others for a living.

    Turn off Fat Rush - he is a liar.

  • ||

    There is no moratorium on Gulf of Mexico drilling.

    Shrike is right...there is no gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium....it is in fact a moratorium on all offshore drilling in all US controlled waters.

  • ||

    God damn - you're even a bigger fucking idiot.

    Gulf of Mexico is such a hotbed of drilling that Ensco bought Pride today to capitalize on the new drilling operations.

  • Pip||

    SUCK MY COCK:

    Judge holds Interior Dept. in contempt over ban

    Associated Press Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press – Wed Feb 2, 9:05 pm ET
    NEW ORLEANS – The federal judge who struck down the Obama administration's moratorium on deepwater drilling after the Gulf oil spill held the Interior Department in contempt Wednesday, and ordered the federal agency to pay attorneys' fees for several offshore oil companies.

    U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman chided the department for its "dismissive conduct" after he overturned the agency's decision to halt any new permits for deepwater projects and suspend drilling on 33 exploratory wells after the Deepwater Horizon blast, which killed 11 workers and triggered the massive spill.

    After Feldman overturned the government's moratorium in June, the agency issued a second nearly identical suspension.

    "Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the reimposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this court with clear and convincing evidence of the government's contempt of this court's preliminary injunction order," he wrote.

    A magistrate will consider how much the companies' attorneys should get.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_.....moratorium

  • Pip||

    I guess U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman is a big Rush fan.

  • ||

    oh - a temporary ban on ultra deepwater drilling now called off? Where there are only a dozen rigs anyway?

    but you said "moratorium on drilling in the Gulf"

    That is a fucking LIE!

    There are hundreds of productive rigs and platforms in the Gulf that were NEVER affected!

    WE drill the FUCK out of the Gulf and never stopped!

    Now suck my cock!

    And Rush is a pedophile POS.

  • ||

    Gotta link for your last statement?

  • ||

    Seriously, link or proof please. We shouldn't tolerate ad hominen attacks with no evidence.

  • shrike is correct||

    ...many here conflate a deepwater ban with a total Gulf drilling moratorium. They are two entirely seperate things, as much drilling is not "deepwater" and thus unaffected.

  • ||

    In that case it's improper to say the federal government bans marijuana possession, since police officers in the course of their duties and the University of Mississippi are exempted.

  • ||

    I'm a bid Marty Feldman fan.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Defend the ban on ANY drilling, shrike, temporary or otherwise.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Hey, shrike... defend any ban on deepwater drilling, temporary or otherwise.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Shit, thought my browser hung up on the first post.

    Oh, well, it deserved to be asked twice, even if I don't get a sensible answer.

  • Nomad||

    I agree in spirit with this article but you mention a point that I have often taken issue with.

    Corporations, as they are defined in our country, are government created. By that I mean they are given a certain legal and financial status based on the rule of law. That status allows personal liability and responsiblity to be removed from the individual and placed in the 'entity' of the corporation. That is what I consider very dangerous.

  • ||

    Corporations, as they are defined in our country, are government created.

    Bullshit.

    Corporations are contracts. If they did not exist people would simply come up with a contract system which would do the same thing.

    You are conflating what a corporation is with how governments choose to interact and regulate them.

    Corporations are simply a way to pool wealth....you may as well be saying families are created by the government.

  • ||

    Correction - "pool wealth" - yes - but you left out "evade liability" - which is a BIG yes.

  • ||

    Correction - "pool wealth" - yes - but you left out "evade liability" - which is a BIG yes.

    BP would disagree with you on their ability to evade liability.

    Anyway corporations would still exist if the government did not grant limits to their liability....and in fact without it you would find that small businesses would suffer and Big Corporations would benefit from lifting the limited liability protections.

    But i think i sort of agree with you....as a land developer who makes his money through trading land I think you as a stock broker should be held personally liable for all the things that corporations do.

    That would make my job a whole lot easier.

  • ||

    BP stockholders were NEVER going to be liable for the Gulf disaster.

    Now the fact that BP stock declined in value is a different issue altogether. A corporation that benefits from personal rights should not be immune from personal liabilities.

  • ||

    BP stockholders were NEVER going to be liable for the Gulf disaster.

    I never said their stock holders were liable.

    I wrote:

    "BP would disagree with you on their ability to evade liability."

    You see even though they are a corporation with supposed limits to their liability they still had to pay out of their asshole damages.

    This fact demolished your claim that Corporations have the ability to evade liability.

    You really do have a reading comprehension problem.

    I suspect this is your strategy...and it is a terrible one.

    Essentially someone nails you for being an idiot then you intentionally misread what they wrote and act all angry about it.

    The same thing happened with the deepwater drilling conversation. Essentially someone did not mention that the moratorium was only deepwater drilling but instead of simply noting that fact you freak the fuck out and try to turn the conversation to be about Rush and your stock portfolio.

  • ||

    Sorry, JC. You're wrong.

    A partnership is a pure private contract. There can be managing and non-managing partners, who would purchase liability insurance to protect their property, but otherwise assume unlimited criminal and tort liability for illegal actions. Other than registering an assumed name (depends on the state), there is no filing with the government necessary.

    Corporations are legal statuses that have to file their articles of incorporation with the state. They would not bother filing if they weren't seeking the legal protection, unlimited loss and favorable bankruptcy protection that comes with incorporation.

    You also forget that stockholders are not the only people in the corporation protected from liability. There is a huge moral hazard by telling managers and employees that it is highly unlikely you would be put in jail if you cut legal corners and violate the rights of others in order to increase profits (for a better position/salary/etc). Worst case scenario, you get caught and lose your job. If you're an upper level executive, you retire with a nice golden parachute, so there's not much disincentive for a corporation to disobey for profits. If the company gets sued and the liability is more than the company is valued at, it just goes bankrupt and defaults on its obligations, socializing the risk on society.

    Corporations are not free market entities. Libertarians should share the Left's (and Adam Smith's) skepticism of corporations simply because they are, like government, quite powerful and generally able to get away with the violation of rights (not to mention use the force of government to cripple competition and subsidize them). Unlike the Left, though, profits aren't my problem with corporations - the moral hazard is.

  • ||

    There is a huge moral hazard by telling managers and employees that it is highly unlikely you would be put in jail if you cut legal corners and violate the rights of others in order to increase profits

    how is this different then if an individual did it or if an LLC did it?

    How is this different then the liability protections one gets when hiring a contractor?

    Also how are the liability protections of an LLC (you called then partnerships) different then a corporation?

    Corporations are not free market entities. Libertarians should share the Left's (and Adam Smith's) skepticism of corporations simply because they are, like government, quite powerful and generally able to get away with the violation of rights

    This is the crux of the lefts argument or even the left-libertarian argument. I will be honest and say I do not know...only suspect (with evidence) that you are wrong so i am debating to illuminate.

    My example would be BP. They obviously had to pay and obviously did not evade liability.

    So that is my counter example to your argument that corporations "are, like government, quite powerful and generally able to get away with the violation of rights". I ask that you provide an example or examples of how corporations get away with liability that an individual or LLC cannot get away with.

    If corporations are these powerful entities with a corrupting influence then please illustrate this corruption in the real world.

    I know the theory...show me the data that supports it.

  • RanDomino||

    BP hasn't paid even a fraction of what they owe. That $20 Billion fund isn't even half a year's profit, not that it will actually get paid; and they haven't made any substantial changes that would prevent another disaster.

  • sevo||

    RanDomino|2.7.11 @ 7:06PM|#
    "BP hasn't paid even a fraction of what they owe."

    You seem to be chock-full of bullshit claims and no evidence. Got any?

  • RanDomino||

    http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAUL.....01-31-Gulf Oil Spill Claims/id-1c0effedd7a34f5c9779e8103af11ab7
    (copy-paste the whole thing)

  • sevo||

    RanDomino|2.7.11 @ 9:05PM|#
    "http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAUL.....01-31-Gulf Oil Spill Claims/id-1c0effedd7a34f5c9779e8103af11ab7
    (copy-paste the whole thing)"

    Bullshit, asshole, don't give us a blind website. State facts and then offer backup.
    Put up or shut up.

  • ||

    LLC partnership. LLC = "limited liability corporation." Also a government-created legal status.

    If I own a proprietorship or partnership and I defraud my customers, I can very easily be personally sued or thrown in jail because there is no distinction between my "person" and my "business." If my liabilities exceed the cost of my "business", my personal wealth is also on the line. Thus I would have to purchase liability insurance to cover my wealth and property. This is how a free market would work.

    Actors within a corporation do not need to purchase liability insurance for their risk because they are unlikely to be held personally liable unless it is a very egregious/obvious crime. Fraud gets the corporation sued and the stockholders pay the price (up to the cost of their investment - no more), and rarely does anyone go to jail. Note the BP stockholders had to pay for the spill via lost stock value, but who within the company went to jail or lost all of their personal wealth for criminal negligence resulting in deaths and the destruction of property? Had these people been fully liable for their actions, it is highly unlikely they would have cut any corners regarding safety at all.

    A free market which assumes full liability would be a comparatively fraud-free and environmentally friendly system where those who violate rights get punished, those who are unproductive fail and those who are productive and responsible succeed and are rewarded.

  • ||

    If I own a proprietorship or partnership and I defraud my customers

    Fraud is fraud and a crime....it does not matter if you commit fraud while working alone, in partnership, an LLC or a corporation. You are not given any protection against being prosecuted for that crime. If you do not believe me then go ask Bernard Madoff about it

    LLC partnership. LLC = "limited liability corporation." Also a government-created legal status.

    LLC is what you meant when you wrote "Other than registering an assumed name (depends on the state), there is no filing with the government necessary." You described an LLC.

    I should note that an LLC is available to anyone..not just corporations or partnerships....hell I could form an LLC within 15 min and like 100$.

    Actors within a corporation do not need to purchase liability insurance for their risk because they are unlikely to be held personally liable

    The corporation buys the insurance...an individual can buy the same insurance and can protect his liability simply by hiring contractors and other means. You have not provided me with any proof that corporations have any particular protection that an individual or a partnership or LLC (the partnership you described in your first comment is identical to an LLC) does not have access to.

    You have not provided me with any proof that bad things happen....only theory with no data.....You are just babbling.

    Show me the proof bitch or shut the fuck up.

  • Jim||

    He's saying BPs investors took the hit in the stock price, but no one actually running BP was punished. Some folks probably resigned, with nice compensation packages, but that's it. And RanDomino was saying that the penalty 1) may be tied up in appeals for many years, and ultimately reduced, 2) even if it isn't, the amount isn't nearly enough to actually incentivize BP to avoid future mistakes.

    It seems like you're both haggling over the definition of being "held responsible". You're saying BP as an entity had to pay, thus they did not evade liability. Hobo is saying that since no individuals, specifically individuals who made the decisions which led to the problem, were personally punished, essentially the moral hazard is nonexistant because the temporary pain is simply diffused through the stockholders.

  • ||

    You're saying BP as an entity had to pay, thus they did not evade liability.

    That is the definition of liability.

    You are liable for the damages you cause.

    I fail to see how a corporation is any different then an individual.

    If i spilled oil all over your font lawn i would have to clean it up and make you whole. Once i did that i would have meet my obligations to my liability. I would not be further punished....

    Why should BP and its employees be treated any different?

  • sevo||

    Joshua Corning|2.7.11 @ 7:33PM|#
    "stuff"

    You're missing a difference, and it's the reason the government gets to charge for any sort of corporation; LLC, Inc, etc.:
    Owners (stockholders) are limited in their liability to the amount of their investment.
    A private (or partnership) owner does not have that protection; the owners can be sued for their undies.
    AFAIK, corporations are government 'inventions' dating to the early spice trade; it was the only way to raise sufficient capital and get insurance to accomplish that trade.
    Removing that limited liability would certainly stop the trade in equities and make it damn difficult to raise capital to start large businesses, not to mention various 'non-profits'.
    Whether those ROADS! are worth the cost, I can't say.

  • ||

    A private (or partnership) owner does not have that protection; the owners can be sued for their undies.

    Yes they are...if you do not know how to separate your Business liability from the title of your home and Ski boat then you probably do not deserve to be in business.

    Again there is nothing special about the liability immunity a corporation has vs what an individual can get.

  • sevo||

    "Yes they are...if you do not know how to separate your Business liability from the title of your home and Ski boat then you probably do not deserve to be in business."

    In most states, you can do that by two methods; both are state "inventions".
    You're really missing the point.

  • ||

    In most states, you can do that by two methods; both are state "inventions".
    You're really missing the point.

    I don't think i was arguing that limiting liability both for an individual's business and for corporations was not an 'invention' of the state....although i may argue it originated in common law...but that really is not the issue.

    I was arguing that corporations are not inventions of the state and that even without the limited liability they would still exist.

    I am also arguing that corporations get nothing special in terms of limiting their liability then an individual can't also get.

  • JoshINHB||

    I was arguing that corporations are not inventions of the state and that even without the limited liability they would still exist.

    Do an experiment then.

    Found a corporation and don't register with your state. Or get a Fed tax ID number.

    See how far your "corporation" in business, or if it gives you any liability protection.

  • The Black Hand||

    Tell us about it!

  • ||

    "I was arguing that corporations are not inventions of the state and that even without the limited liability they would still exist."

    The nature of a corporation is an invention of the state. You can set up a corporation-like partnership structure, but growth would still require increased liability insurance protection for the owners' personal property, as opposed to a corporation, where the liability insurance is on corporate assets alone. It would still be "officially" an unincorporated partnership, and it would not operate the same way as a corporation due to the liability factor. If you're so dense you can't distinguish between the two, I can't help you. Liability protection is the primary reason for incorporation - without it there are no corporations.

    To function like a corporation, the partnership would have to purchase insurance for non-managing investors to where they guarantee to repay any personal financial loss beyond the value of investment in the event of a lawsuit for fraud, violation of rights or violation of contract inflicted upon them. Investors would also want to purchase liability insurance on their investment just in case the company goes belly-up before it can repay their personal loss. As you can see, this risk would force companies to operate far more responsibly and avoid debt, and would ensure that investors are dedicated to safety and enforcing good business practices.

    A system of full liability is both the closest thing to a free market (self-regulating via insurance), and would correct all of the valid points that the Left makes about the problems with corporations. Monopoly would be virtually impossible because the insurance would be prohibitively expensive and complex, and the market would be forced to include externalities into the cost of business and steer society away from dangerous technologies because the risk would force the cost to exceed that of safer technologies.

    I don't necessarily think such a system could be practically reached, since the benefit of limited liability is mostly unimpeded growth with socialized risk that society has come to expect. But libertarians can't claim to be for both a free market/limited government and for an artificial government distortion of the market at the same time.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    You are not given any protection against being prosecuted for that crime. If you do not believe me then go ask Bernard Madoff about it

    Madoff was the Martha Stewart of the 2008 bank meltdown; his activities had been known about for some time, a relatively small fish that was tagged because he was an easy symbol and didn't have the political connections that guys like Blankfein and Dimon had.

    I can't really take your argument that there's no protection against committing fraud seriously. The last couple of years have been pretty good evidence that if you know the right people, you not only won't get prosecuted for it, your company will be given special favors from the government to try and keep the ponzi going.

  • sevo||

    "Madoff was the Martha Stewart of the 2008 bank meltdown;"

    Naah. Much as I dislike "throw sparkle on everything!" Stewart, she was framed.
    Madoff broke criminal law, period.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Much as I dislike "throw sparkle on everything!" Stewart, she was framed.
    Madoff broke criminal law, period.

    No doubt that he broke the law--my point was that he was a convenient symbol for the government to go after to show that they were "doing something" about the meltdown.

    The SEC had been warned about Madoff's dirty tricks years before and didn't do shit then; they only tagged him well after the stock market went into meltdown mode.

  • ||

    The last couple of years have been pretty good evidence that if you know the right people, you not only won't get prosecuted for it, your company will be given special favors from the government to try and keep the ponzi going.

    An individual can know the right poeple as well.

    Again this has nothing to do with corporations vs individuals....both can break the law and both can get away with it if they "know the right poeple"

    If you remove the liability limits of corporations it would change nothing.

    Shitty poeple will still get away with doing shitty things.

  • cynical||

    "If you remove the liability limits of corporations it would change nothing."

    Really? IANAL, but I imagine that every investor in failed or negligent businesses would potentially face lawsuits from those business' creditors.

    No one's going to risk losing their home over a $100 stock buy, so the middle class would do less stock trading, and put more money into savings and bonds or put larger amounts into specific small enterprises where they had more control. Even large investors would likely focus on a smaller number of businesses and more directly manage them. In other words, it would encourage entrepreneurship over passive capital "ownership" in a mutual fund.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Really? IANAL, but I imagine that every investor in failed or negligent businesses would potentially face lawsuits from those business' creditors.


    Even if they were not acting as agents of the corporation?

    No one's going to risk losing their home over a $100 stock buy, so the middle class would do less stock trading, and put more money into savings and bonds or put larger amounts into specific small enterprises where they had more control.


    Which would prevent people from growing their wealth.

  • David||

    "Even if they were not acting as agents of the corporation?"

    Yes, precisely. They get to be hands off *because* of the limited liability status of corporations - their loss is limited to the value of their investments; their stock may go to zero, but they won't owe more on top of that. If you get rid of that status, their individual assets are potentially forfeit if the company owes more than it can pay. The situation would otherwise be the same as being a partner in a non-LLC company - if you're an owner, you are responsible for what your company does.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Again this has nothing to do with corporations vs individuals....both can break the law and both can get away with it if they "know the right poeple"

    That really isn't relevant to what you mentioned earlier though--you claimed that there was no protection against prosecution for fraud, because fraud was against the law. The leveraging of political influence by the Big 5 banks post-TARP should be evidence enough that committing fraud, even with a regulatory group in place like the SEC (and, tengentially, the FDIC) with a mandate to squash and prosecute these activities, is no guarantee that there will actually be prosecutions if the people in charge of the companies have access for favors from those in the regime.

  • ||

    If the fraud can be attributed to one individual or group of individuals within the corporation, and the fraud is major enough to trigger criminal actions, yes, the corporate veil can be pierced by the government and individuals can be prosecuted. Usually this only happens in major cases where millions of dollars are lost (Enron, Madoff, etc.) Most of the time it's settled through lawsuits and the money simply comes out of corporate profits, and the corporation deals with the responsible people internally.

    In a proprietorship or partnership, the owner IS the company and they are personally and completely liable for the actions of the company. That doesn't mean they can't sue one of their employees. But they could still easily go to jail as they ARE the company and are fully responsible for it.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    If the fraud can be attributed to one individual or group of individuals within the corporation, and the fraud is major enough to trigger criminal actions, yes, the corporate veil can be pierced by the government and individuals can be prosecuted.


    Individuals are always liable for their own actions, both civilly and criminally.

    Most of the time it's settled through lawsuits and the money simply comes out of corporate profits, and the corporation deals with the responsible people internally.


    The reason for that is that the corporation has deep pockets, and the corporation, as a principal, is liable for the acts of its employees.

  • Mensan||

    "Had these people been fully liable for their actions, it is highly unlikely they would have cut any corners regarding safety at all."

    The same could be said of the federal inspectors from the Minerals Management Service. But if we started holding public employees accountable for their actions, what's next? Prosecuting cops for beating and framing innocent citizens? ,< sarcasm >I don't think anyone wants to go down that road.< /sarcasm >

  • Will||

    What are you talking about? Is BP really a good example? BP failed as a free market business 100 years ago. It was a 100% government-owned company for most of the 20th century. How can a 100% public, entirely government-owned corporation be an example of how corporations are a free market entity? You need to find another example to make the point you're trying to make because using a corporation that was a government corporation for almost a century as an example that corporations are free market entities is completely absurd. Look at BP's history. BP had use of the British Secret Service and the CIA and the military of both countries to topple leaders they didn't like and impose dictatorships that they did. They had free access to land and resources. They were able to raise funds by stealing money from private citizens through taxes. They were able to get away with anything they wanted and were able to have their success guaranteed by taxpayers. They essentially had their profits protected at gunpoint with the gun aimed at the private citizens of Iran, Britain, the US and more. We have had our country and free citizens in our country ripped off by corporate socialist Brits and now they've destroyed our water and land thanks to the commie corporatists in DC. They are not an example of American free enterprise. Why don't you go move to some socialist country in Europe is you like corporate socialism so much? Somewhere where they'll take your guns away and cram public healthcare down your throat. You can get out of my country where we prefer freedom. BP is one of the worst possible examples you could use to make your point. You need to do a little research and read some history. In fact the entire oil industry is a bad example. Big Oil is Big Government. Over 90% of the world's oil corporations are public corporations.

  • Tim||

    On some level it is true that big government create families. They create the licenses that allow them to exist and obtain legal benefits of their relationship. The family is created by the mom and dad but the charter is created by the government. The same holds true for a corporation. It is a legal privalge given to a business so that the corporation and its assets are liable and not the assets of the business owner. BP is liable for the damage it does but not the CEO's personal property. Only BP's property is liable in any lawsuit.

  • ||

    They create the licenses that allow them to exist and obtain legal benefits of their relationship.

    Only legal benefits given from the government.

    All the other benefits can be drawn up in a contract.

    State recognized marriage is like state recognized corporations. You can create the legal frame work for either of them by simply writing up a contract...but why do that when you have 100s of years of common law to already go by and a shit pot of government goodies that you would not get if you did it through contract.

    Implying that if you take away the goodies these two institutions would disappear is a fallacy...the only thing that would change is that poeple would stop registering them with the government.

  • BanditoWalrus||

    Wait, but why should there be "goodies" attached in the first place?
    Of course marriage and corporations will still exist if you remove the goodies, but while the government is offering the goodies, it gives those who can obtain the goodies unfair advantage over those who are regulated out of them.
    Take marriage for an example. Sure, I as a priest can still "marry" a gay couple, and draw up a contract to give them almost-the-same-amount-of-benefits-as-straight-marriage, BUT the "goodies" offered by the government gives a straight couple an unfair advantage over them.
    Thus, these systems of "a government giving out goodies to whom it pleases" is an unfair, unfree market practice, and these "goodies" should be eliminated.

  • David||

    Marriage and *companies* will exist. A defining point of a corporation is the fact that the liability of its members for the actions of the company generally is limited to their investment in the company.

  • ||

    BP is liable for the damage it does but not the CEO's personal property. Only BP's property is liable in any lawsuit.

    There are plenty of ways an individual can protect itself from the same liability. There is nothing special here that corporations have that individuals do not have access to.

    Also why should the CBO be held liable but not the stock holders?

    What makes the owners of the actual company so fucking special that they should be immune from liability but then employees should be held liable?

  • David||

    "What makes the owners of the actual company so fucking special that they should be immune from liability but then employees should be held liable?"

    Just the limited liability status of the corporation, granted by the government.

  • ||

    In Germany they once had the big ICE train crash. After the investigation it was found that there was negligence from the train safety staff.

    In Germany the law required that an individual is held responsible not the company, which predictably resulted in some mid managers getting the blame and the company getting away scot free. The irony is that the left wingers over here hyperventilated about the ruling.

    So be careful what you wish for, if one day your favourite evil company did something particularly bad, and then ended not being punished because it made someone the scapegoat, you would not doubt be shouting the same as the German leftwingers: "make corporations responsible".

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    If the actions were made by a low level employee, but they were following the rules, shouldn't whoever came up with the rules be punished? Just thinking...

  • ||

    shouldn't whoever came up with the rules be punished?

    Good point.

    Corporate officers or employees get nowhere near the protections from liability that government employees and elected officials get.

  • bigT||

    After all, they were 'just following orders.' Been tried, with poor results. At some point the individual is responsible for his/her actions, even within a corporate structure. These are all case-specific.

  • sevo||

    "At some point the individual is responsible for his/her actions, even within a corporate structure. These are all case-specific."
    True enough for criminal actions, but actions that might be liable under tort law?

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Well, that calls into question what punishment there would have been for not following orders, or whether they should have spotted the error at all. If the entire procedure was new, and they had little previous experience, then it *isn't* their fault.

  • ||

    I don't reflexively hate corporations. They are neat tool for pooling wealth and making money

    As a left wing nut I don't reflexively hate people. They are neat tool for pooling wealth and making money for the state.

    Fixed.

  • DLM||

    When you talk about corporations in regards to politics, you need to apply this to ALL organizations no matter what their alleged purpose.

  • cynical||

    Well, I suppose I meant in the Constitutional sense.

  • cynical||

    Goddamn squirrels. That was a reply to JoshINHB below.

  • cynical||

    "Members of corporations can participate in politics all they want, no problem. But they will do so as actual human beings with human concerns and characteristics."

    So, why not apply that same standard to the political parties? Corporations are at least creations of law, not private factions that pretend to be part of the machinery of government.

  • JoshINHB||

    They're not pretending.

  • ||

    I have noted here before that Carter was the most Libertarian president since Coolidge.

    Dereg - airlines, trucking, finance, energy/natgas - never raised taxes (unlike Reagan), and kept us out of stupid fucking wars.

    And the inflation of the 70s was due to Nixon and his break from $35 gold which led to a GOP "wage and price control" era.

    Carter = Harry Browne (except he lives in GOPers minds).

  • Clinton and Reagan..||

    also kept us out of stupid wars, unlike the Bushies and Obama.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That shrike. Whatta fuckin' laugh riot.

  • Mensan||

    Clinton and Reagan..|2.7.11 @ 10:29PM|#
    also kept us out of stupid wars, unlike the Bushies and Obama.

    Really?

    Libya (in '81 and again in '86), Granada, the Persian Gulf (Prime Chance and Earnest Will), Somalia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Iraq (Desert Fox), Afghanistan (Infinite Reach), Cambodia, Kosovo.

    Maybe not large scale fighting, but it sure as hell felt like war to the guys in combat.

  • matt||

    Nixon didn't take us off as much as Bretton woods broke down. Price fixing don't work.

  • pmains||

    Right. The increased spending and loose monetary policy of Johnson and Nixon pushed down the value of the dollar, which price fixing wasn't going to prevent. That said, keep the value of the currency steady relative to gold is possible with sound monetary policy, fiscal policy, or a combination of the two.

  • JoshINHB||

    It's no coincidence that Bretton Woods became inviable when the US welfare and regulatory state was expanding dramatically.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Kahn was a liberal Democrat who, after applying rigorous study to the impact of federal regulation on industry, came to the conclusion that in many cases regulation served to raise prices, blunt innovation, form government-sanctioned industrial cartels, and discriminate against new businesses.

    Clearly Mr. Kahn did not understand that regulation is the only thing separating us from the animals and the only thing protecting us from big, scary, evil megacorporations from turning America into cyberpunk dystopia.

    Now hush up with all that talk of regulatory capture and barriers to entry. You libertarians are ruining the narrative.

  • ||

    KAAAAAHHHHHHHNNNNN!!!!

  • Khan||

    From hell's own heart, I stab at thee.

  • matt||

    Gold price was fixed at about $35 since fdr and massive money printing was done to pay for lbj's great society and Vietnam. Korea got hot again as well. Although Nixon continued the build up for the stagflation this was a bi-partisian fuck up.

  • ||

    Deregulation Carter and free trade Clinton.

    The democrats really have let themselves go.

    what do we call Obama? TARP Obama?

    Socialized medicine Obama? Spend till you are broke then spend some more Obama?

  • ||

    The only new entitlement program since LBJ was Bush the Ignorant and his Medicare Fixed Price Pharma Welfare Scam of 2003.

    And Obama and his mandate may be onerous but the requirement to buy insurance from an Aetna/Cigna is definitely NOT an federal entitlement.

    Once again - Bush the Lesser is the villain - not Obama.

  • ||

    Once again - Bush the Lesser is the villain - not Obama.

    Here is the difference between libertarians and Shrike the hack.

    libertarians have no problem seeing both Obama and Bush as villains.

    I don't think the problem with the poeple on this board is that they are sucking Bush's cock.

    The problem is Obama's balls on your chin distracts you from actually reading what poeple write here.

  • ||

    As Stossel has noted Bushy-boy doubled spending to $3.5 trillion.

    Obama is holding it there-ish.

    So far.

  • ||

    The price of tea in china has gone up by 2 points in the past few months.

    FUCK YOU CHRIST FAGS AND BUSH COCK SUCKERS!!!!!!

  • bullshit, shrike||

    You know born-again Obama is one of the Christ Fags that you hate so much.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    1. While being forced to buy insurance is, indeed, not an entitlement, it is, indeed, a fucked-up idea.

    2. Until Obama spends *less* than Bush, he's still spending *at least as much as* Bush.

    3. LBJ can continue to rot in hell for creating those programs.

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    “My American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as ‘a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership together with belligerent nationalism.’

    He needs a new dictionary, hopefully one not written by communist hacks.

    How, exactly, does a system of strong central authority and planning mesh with the "individual liberty/repsponsibility, small government conservative" ideology?

    If fascism is to be defined as "extreme right wing", the person doing the defining must be to the left of Stalin on the political ideology scale.

    AND

    Mr. Kennedy is loco if he thinks Obama et al. aren't in bed with corporations. From Goldman Sachs to GE, he's stuffed his administration with former CEOs, and is virtually indistinguishable from GWB on that point.

  • ||

    Fascism is a right-wing political system gone amok.

    Militarism, Religiosity, Nationalism, Racism, Corporatism, and hatred of Jew/liberals is right on target for the GOP Birchers and the Third Reich.

  • ||

    They hate the jews, yet are the biggest supporters of Israel. Makes sense !

  • ||

    Well, the Fundie Christ-Fags want Big Jesus to come back to Israel and pull the guts out of all the non-believing Jews.

    So a Hagee/Falwell type cocksucker can be pro-Israel AND anti-Jew at the same time!

    Its all in the GOP playbook - right under Larry Craig!

  • ||

    Or perhaps you are wrong and simply on some deranged rant making your enemies into Nazis.

  • ||

    My GOP fundie family in Georgia prays every day for Jesus to come back and kill all the non-Christians.

    Tim LeHaye sold millions of books to these fucking GOP hayseeds.

    Look it up.

  • sevo||

    shrike|2.7.11 @ 6:16PM|#
    "My GOP fundie family in Georgia prays every day for Jesus to come back and kill all the non-Christians."

    One of these days, you might grow up and quit blaming your parents for the asshole you've become. It's called "maturity"; you ought to try it.
    Oh, and about your fucked up family? I don't care; the world isn't about shriek.

  • DLM||

    Oh, and about your fucked up family?

    Fucked up according to shrike. Take his judgment with a large grain of salt.

  • SHreek, what Hate Group||

    do you belong to?

  • sevo||

    shrike|2.7.11 @ 5:38PM|#
    "Fascism is a right-wing political system gone amok."
    Define "right wing".

  • RanDomino||

    "Militarism, Religiosity, Nationalism, Racism", sexual hierarchy (ie anti-homosexuality, anti-feminism, anti-free love)

  • sevo||

    "Militarism, Religiosity, Nationalism, Racism", sexual hierarchy (ie anti-homosexuality, anti-feminism, anti-free love)"
    So, just like the USSR and Mao's China, right?
    Got it.

  • Small correction...||

    The USSR and Maoist China were not religious. In fact, many on the right's biggest beef with communism was it's attacks on religion.

  • bigT||

    Many would submit that traditional religious cults were simply replaced with leader cults, ie Mao, Stalin, Hitler, that were essentially state religions.

  • sevo||

    Small correction...|2.7.11 @ 7:51PM|#
    "The USSR and Maoist China were not religious."

    If you don't think "religion" includes the "belief" in both the leaders and the governments under those conditions, I have some books you might read.
    Yes, they were "religious", and the state replaced the outlawed "religions".

  • DLM||

    If you don't think "religion" includes the "belief" in both the leaders and the governments under those conditions, I have some books you might read.

    There were many Chinese that literally worshiped Mao. He was a god to them.

  • RanDomino||

    Then agree that the main tension is not left vs right, but authoritarian vs antiauthoritarian

  • Mr. FIFY||

    No, Ran... the main tension is left-wing authoritarians vs right-wing authoritarians.

  • RanDomino||

    Left-wing authoritarians meaning Marxists or meaning Democrats? Marxists don't exist as an effective political force and Democrats are basically the same as Republicans.

  • Jim||

    ""Militarism, Religiosity, Nationalism, Racism", sexual hierarchy (ie anti-homosexuality, anti-feminism, anti-free love)"

    So...just like the modern republican party?

  • cynical||

    anarcho-syndicalism isn't right wing?

  • sevo||

    "anarcho-syndicalism isn't right wing?"
    Dunno. Want to show it is?

  • cynical||

    Sarcasm, motherfucker! Do you speak it?!

  • sevo||

    cynical|2.7.11 @ 11:06PM|#
    "Sarcasm, motherfucker! Do you speak it?!"
    Well, asshole, stuff it up your ass.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Jew/liberals"

    One or the other, shrike. Besides, liberals are not a protected class - nor should they be.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    I put fascism at the bottom left-center of the Nolan Chart.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolan_Chart

  • RanDomino||

    Although the Nolan Chart is fundamentally correct in having an "economic" and "social" bi-axial graph, the labels and assumptions of that one are outdated and unnecessarily restricted by ideological baggage. Use http://politicalcompass.org/ instead.

  • sevo||

    "Although the Nolan Chart is fundamentally correct in having an "economic" and "social" bi-axial graph, the labels and assumptions of that one are outdated and unnecessarily restricted by ideological baggage."
    I'm still waiting for one pisce of evidence. So far you've offered bullshit claims and worthless opinions (as above).
    Hey, asshole, put up or shut up.

  • RanDomino||

    Get over yourself.

  • sevo||

    RanDomino|2.8.11 @ 6:28PM|#
    "Get over yourself."
    Put up or shut up, asshole. I'm tired of stupid claims with no evidence.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    So...do you agree or disagree with my placement?

  • sevo||

    "So...do you agree or disagree with my placement?"

    Possibly more free in economic activity than communism in practice, but the political system didn't exist long enough to find all its pathologies.
    Who knows? Maybe Sarte would have sung the praises of Fascism if he had the chance.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    That's about what I think. Fascism held onto a little economic freedom, but generally had no political freedom. The only bad thing about Nazi Germany's fall is that we don't get a complete example of fascism. Communism we have several clear examples of. This still doesn't seem to disinfatuate people.

  • RanDomino||

    Fascism in practice was little different from Bolshevism, in that they were Command economies ruled by a Party. I don't know the extent to which there was competition in Fascism. My point is just that more capitalism does not necessarily mean more economic freedom.

  • sevo||

    "My point is just that more capitalism does not necessarily mean more economic freedom."
    Uh, got any examples/alternatives?

  • RanDomino||

    Deregulation of stock markets would make fraud and manipulation easier, for one. With money, quantity has a quality all its own. There's nothing particularly free about a market dominated by one or a few extremely powerful bad actors who can just stamp out any competition.

    The big hangup I have about just saying "capitalism" or "economic freedom" is titles. Who decides which ones are legitimate? How long do they last, and how can they be lost (if ever)? Clearly, having pervasive capitalism and no government at all would lead to an impossible society since there would be no certain way to tell who owned what, and thus trade would not work (as you're only supposed to be able to give away what you own).

    The Nolan Chart also conveniently ignores Anarchism, or mistakenly lumps it in with Right-Libertarianism. The Political Compass does not have any of the flaws I've mentioned.

  • ||

    I have come across a fair share of anti corporation rants on the internet. I have always speculated who these people were and what they did in life. My guess was that they were either students not yet concerned about what job they will do one day, or disgruntled workers at some corporation who think they are earning unfair "slave wages".

  • ||

    Like unions, corporations are powerful entities that can use the state to do their bidding, which is usually to restrict competition and get subsidies and contracts. There are also major moral hazards with the limited liability concept that their defenders seem unwilling to address (I lay them out above).

    The Left makes these points, yet somehow refuses to see all the same problems with government and they advocate "anti-corporate" policies that end up helping only the biggest corporations and encouraging conglomeration. Likewise, libertarians refuse to address the nature of corporations seemingly out of fear of being labelled anti-market. You don't have to be an academic or disgruntled worker to see these problems, which libertarians seem largely unwilling to address.

  • sevo||

    "You don't have to be an academic or disgruntled worker to see these problems, which libertarians seem largely unwilling to address."

    You have a very good point; for some reason the corporate entity is not seen as a government construct.
    The (counter historical) question I've got is: What sort of economy would exist without limited investor liability?

  • JoshINHB||

    A better one.

    Almost every major economic development has been created and or implemented by small businesses.

    The modern corporate business structure was invented by financiers in the late 19th century in order to reduce "inefficient competition", that is reduce competition by consolidating many competing businesses into a few co-operative ones all to drive prices up. This is no different than unions reducing the supply of labor to drive up wages for their members.

    Neither would exist in an 'ideal' free market.

  • sevo||

    "The modern corporate business structure was invented by financiers in the late 19th century in order to reduce "inefficient competition", that is reduce competition by consolidating many competing businesses into a few co-operative ones all to drive prices up."

    Nope. Limited liability corporations are much older than that and served (and serve) to promote competitive advantage. The question I have is: What is the alternative?

  • JoshINHB||

    I was referring to the amalgamations that created companies like standard oil, US steel etc., that set the standard of a few behemoths dominating entire sectors of the economy. I think that is what a lot of lefties see as the problem, although they're to stupid to equate it with a lack of competition or see that big government aids the formation and entrenchment of those behemoths through regulations and graft.

    As far as what organization could replace them, why not full liability partnerships? The idea that mega-corporations are an essential part of modern economies because they are the only structure that can raise vast sums of capital assumes that there is some benefit of having mega organizatons. There is no reason to believe that the hundreds of individual business combined into US steel were incapable of provided what the economy at the time needed. In fact, the whole rationale for the combination was limiting production to drive prices up.

  • sevo||

    "I was referring to the amalgamations that created companies like standard oil, US steel etc., that set the standard of a few behemoths dominating entire sectors of the economy."
    Not sure that "domination" by a company of any structure is bad, since that never lasts for long.

  • JoshINHB||

    Limited liability corporations are much older than that and served (and serve) to promote competitive advantage.

    Only if by competitive advantage you mean eliminating the competition so as not to compete.

    There's even a phrase that investment analysts use to describe this effect.

    It is 'market power' and businesses with it are much sought by investors. But the very concept means that a free market for that businesses products does not exist because effective competition does not exist.

  • ||

    If one looks at the early history of corporations in Europe like in Venice or Holland, they came about and succeeded in raising capital for big ventures that no other way would have. The formation of corporations is a natural human solution, central planning is also a solution but does not seem to have a good success rate.

  • ||

    The formation of corporations is a natural human solution, central planning is also a solution

    ARGH! I hate it when people try and introduce this (false) dichotomy.

    A corporation is a product of central planning. It is a legal fiction endowed with special rights by government -- a creation of government -- designed to achieve central planning goals (in this case, economic goals).

    Capital can be accumulated without special government charters and "special rights."

    There is nothing "natural" about forming a legal fictional entity endowed and protected by government fiat.

  • sevo||

    "Only if by competitive advantage you mean eliminating the competition so as not to compete."
    Nope. Re: Ricardo.

  • BakedPenguin||

    James Randi had an article about this.

    Also, from Science Based Medicine.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Also, for keeping Keith Olbermann employed for so long, MSNBC is the worst corporation in the world!!

  • ||

    MSNBC is the worst corporation in the world!!

    ......

    When did the New York Times stop being a corporation?

  • ||

    Speaking of autism, every time I see that ad which talks about, "The odds of [some golfer] winning the U S Open are upteen hundred billion to one..." I want to hunt down the person responsible and dump two tons of flaming dogshit on him.

  • ||

    My GOP fundie family in Georgia prays every day for Jesus to come back and kill all the non-Christians.

    Earth to Shriek-

    We are not your goatfucking blood relatives down in the holler.

    Please send your spittle and bile to its appropriate destination, in future.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I'm sure he does, but they keep praying for him, which no doubt leads to even more spittle and bile.

    At least we now know why shrike's a leftist--his political philosophy basically amounts to FUCK YOU DAD.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I doubt shrike's family is that fucked-up. I think he hates religious people so much, he views all of them that way.

  • Boxbot||

    Almost all of the people who technically believe that crap have the decency to be appropriately horrified if you phrase their beliefs in genocidal terms like shrike did. Left Behinder types imagine that everyone basically everyone they've ever met would figure out that they're right and go to Team Jesus, and the only people left to face God's wrath would be child molesters and people who talk in the theater.

    Luckily for humanity, a little natural xenophobia and a tendency not to think things through doesn't ALWAYS equal latent genocide.

  • DesigNate||

    90% of people that identify as leftist do it out of that same reason.

  • hurly buehrle||

    I hate having to explain this so often to both liberals and conservatives, but here goes:

    Fascism is just communism in drag. The latter is the attempt to put all wealth into the hands of elites by abolishing private property and seizing that wealth directly. The former attempts to put all wealth into the hands of elites, but does so by regulating and micromanaging pseudo-private industry so as to favor those with close ties to the government. Put another way, fascism tries to maintain the veneer of a free society where people have property rights, while communism dispenses with that veneer completely.

  • sevo||

    "Put another way, fascism tries to maintain the veneer of a free society where people have property rights, while communism dispenses with that veneer completely."
    Agreed. They are slightly different paths to centralized (statist) control of economics and behavior in general.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Sounds quite logical. Who knows what sort of economy fascist Germany would have had if Hitler & Co. had been in power in, say, 1955? Doubtlessly a bad one.

  • sevo||

    "Who knows what sort of economy fascist Germany would have had if Hitler & Co. had been in power in, say, 1955?"

    Highly recommended:
    "The Wages of Destruction", Adam Tooze. Hitler's Germany was pretty much bankrupt at the beginning of the war and only survived as long as it did by literally trading human fat for fuel at the end.
    As sad as "Bloodlands"; equally enlightening.

  • bigT||

    +1 Close enough for government work.

  • RanDomino||

    "You do not need to be an apologist for Big Pharma to observe that maybe it’s against the self-interest of an industry to deliberately poison its customers."

    These are the same kinds of corporations that regularly lay off huge numbers of critical employees in order to make stock price jump for a quarter, so the executives can ride a golden parachute out of the burning wreckage. Rationality is only measured by the margin! Making a stupid statement like what I quoted just smacks of that atrocity, praxeology- To hell with evidence! If reality contradicts how you think it works, reality must be wrong!

  • RanDomino||

    Oh, and how could I forget. The point of Net Neutrality isn't to let the government regulate the Internet. It's to ensure that ISPs treat all internet data the same. That's all Net Neutrality is! Without it, if I want to go to Reason.com and read some bullshit, Verizon might have put it behind a paywall (or blocked it!) because they disagree with your politics. Now that's how to destroy the Internet!

  • sevo||

    "The point of Net Neutrality isn't to let the government regulate the Internet. It's to ensure that ISPs treat all internet data the same."

    And who would "ensure" that? Sorry, you seem to be a lefty with all the built-in contradictions.

  • Brian||

    For all the horrible hypotheticals about what corporations might do to the internet without net neutrality, I can point to an equal number of possible government abuses if net neutrality were enacted.

  • RanDomino||

    Net Neutrality is already a fundamental principle of how the Internet works.

  • sevo||

    RanDomino|2.7.11 @ 8:55PM|#
    "Net Neutrality is already a fundamental principle of how the Internet works."

    So, fucking.............
    what?
    I haven't seen you answer the questions, yet, bozo.

  • RanDomino||

    although, yes, it would not be for the best if the FCC had authority to enforce Net Neutrality (even ignoring the gov't regulatory agencies largely being tools of the corporations they are supposed to guard us against)- My point is that leaving it up to the corporations would result in a much worse outcome. That's why it's important to be against both government AND corporate power, and arguably capitalism itself.

    Accusations of being a Marxist in 3, 2, 1...

  • sevo||

    RanDomino|2.7.11 @ 9:00PM|#
    "My point is that leaving it up to the corporations would result in a much worse outcome."

    You keep making claims about how horrid business is, and you know you have yet to offer *one* bit of evidence for your claims.
    I'm calling bullshit on everything you post until you start backing something. Put up or shut up.

  • ||

    Net Neutrality is already a fundamental principle of how the Internet works.

    Were that true you wouldn't need to codify it into enforced regulation.

    Govt-enforced net neutrality is not.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Gosh, Ran, you sure do trust government.

    Did the docs do a good job of hiding the lobotomy scars?

  • BanditoWalrus||

    Correct! It's a fundamental principle of a Free Market internet. People LIKE Net Neutral ISP's, so they get their service from ISP's that offer it. The ISP's know that Net Neutrality is popular, and thus, they aren't idiots, and treat data fairly ON THEIR OWN.
    WHY do we need a government involved in this?
    Should we codify more things that people do on their own into law? Perhaps we should pass a law requiring everyone to breath.

  • RanDomino||

    ISPs are effectively monopolistic in geographic areas in practice, due to the infrastructure. If my ISP started charging for different kinds of data, there wouldn't be anything I, alone, could do about it (except boycott, which is ineffective unless organized).

    My point is that there's reason to be wary of corporations when it comes to Net Neutrality. They would certainly end it, doing great damage to the Internet, if they thought they could get away with it.

    Anti-government sentiment should not imply that corporations are somehow so altruistic that they'll just skip over a chance to make money at everyone else's expense. This whole article read like half hit-piece, half fairy tale.

  • BanditoWalrus||

    Correct! It's a fundamental principle of a Free Market internet. People LIKE Net Neutral ISP's, so they get their service from ISP's that offer it. The ISP's know that Net Neutrality is popular, and thus, they aren't idiots, and treat data fairly ON THEIR OWN.
    WHY do we need a government involved in this?
    Should we codify more things that people do on their own into law? Perhaps we should pass a law requiring everyone to breath.

  • Mike||

    You might notice that almost *none* of the major rights groups pushing net neutrality want it to be enforced by fiat from the FCC. They would much prefer a more specific act from congress essentially saying "keep the status quo." The EFF, for example, has strongly criticized the idea of the FCC just saying it can regulate the internet.

    Also, for all that reason keeps claiming the opposite, there have been cases of ISP's changing data prioritization, and moreover every major ISP has been claiming for years that this is what they *want* to be doing.

    Personally I'd prefer that they just broke the last mile monopoly and require companies to rent their cables, instead of trying to make that monopoly play nice.

    Government intervention may not be the best solution, but sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending that Comcast isn't a threat to the internet as we know it is ignorant as well.

  • BanditoWalrus||

    Examples of this please?

    And, if my ISP does start blocking the sites I like, I'm just going to get a new ISP.

  • RanDomino||

    Lucky you. In the real world, it's not that easy.

  • sevo||

    RanDomino|2.8.11 @ 6:47PM|#
    "Lucky you. In the real world, it's not that easy."

    Stupid you. In the real world, people deal with facts, not idiotic claims.

  • RanDomino||

    Exactly.

  • sevo||

    "You might notice that almost *none* of the major rights groups pushing net neutrality want it to be enforced by fiat from the FCC. They would much prefer a more specific act from congress essentially saying "keep the status quo."
    So you're please that the enforcing body is named "congress" instead of "FCC"?
    Thin gruel.

  • shorter RanDomino||

    Keep your greedy corporate hands off my torrents! Call the FCC, that'll make it better!

  • cynical||

    The point of Net Neutrality is use gullible, corporate-fearing netroots patsies to open the door to broader FCC control over the internet under the guise that it is merely "stretching" the Net Neutralizing powers it already wields a little bit. The FCC, in pursing Net Neutrality after being rebuked both by the judiciary and the legislative branch, is self-evidently seeking more power for itself, regardless of justification or legality. There FCC will not stop seeking more power for themselves until some greater force compels them to stop.

    Besides, if you're worried about anti-competitive behavior, then you should be talking to the FTC.

    If you're worried about censorship... I don't know why you would be turning to the federal agency which engages in censorship on a regular basis. Unless you're a dupe for the sort of people that openly talk about the need for an internet kill-switch, I guess.

  • mgd||

    And we need to let the government regulate the internet, because this is happening all over the place! Isn't it! Like, that one place!

  • mgd||

    If Verizon does that, dump them, get a new ISP.

    Why is everyone in such a goddamn rush to fix a problem that doesn't exist?

  • ||

    Yeah, that is real likely in a free market system where consumers are just waiting for Verizon to fuck up so they can jump to another sp...

  • BanditoWalrus||

    "Verizon might have put it behind a paywall (or blocked it!) because they disagree with your politics. Now that's how to destroy the Internet!"

    Dude, no one has ever done that. Why? Because if you do that, people will get a different ISP!

    This is a /hypothetical/ threat. And, there is the other /hypothetical/ threat within Net Neutrality that a Government agent could abuse his power in the same mannerisms.

  • ||

    no one has ever done that. Why? Because if you do that, people will get a different ISP!

    That's right.

    In addition to Verizon, just here we've got Comcast (if you want a wired connection) and a HUGE number of wireless 3G and 4G providers including Sprint, AT&T, Clear, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and a few dozen smaller WiMax players.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Praxeology. I do not think this word means what you think it means.

  • sevo||

    "These are the same kinds of corporations that regularly lay off huge numbers of critical employees in order to make stock price jump for a quarter, so the executives can ride a golden parachute out of the burning wreckage."
    Cite, please. I call bullshit.

  • ||

    "These are the same kinds of corporations that regularly lay off huge numbers of critical employees in order to make stock price jump for a quarter, so the executives can ride a golden parachute out of the burning wreckage."

    I don't see why this is any of our business.

    I mean lets say one corporation does what you are saying...but if so then they are only hurting themselves...any company that does not do that that one company did do would out compete them in a free market.

    Put simply it is no one's business what business model a business chooses to pursue....if they fuck up then the market will destroy them golden parachutes and all

  • sevo||

    "I don't see why this is any of our business."

    It's not. I still call bullshit on RanDomino's claim.

  • ||

    I think his point is that the execs are not concerned for the best interests of the company.

    Of course, the investors who are asleep at the wheel while this is going on are the ones who should be policing them.

  • sevo||

    Tulpa|2.7.11 @ 10:38PM|#
    "I think his point is that the execs are not concerned for the best interests of the company."

    I think you're being too kind; his/her comments earlier suggest s/he hasn't a clue.

  • sevo||

    BTW, if you look pretty far above, the evidence RD offered is a blind web site with the suggestion you copy the 'whole thing'
    'Nuff said.

  • Unfortunately...||

    ...not true (about the golden parachutes). Yes, the businesses who fuck up eventually get destroyed in the market, but the execs who ruin them often make out like bandits, and never regret it. Even losing a couple of lawsuits, Angelo Mozillo is going to live like a king for the rest of his live on hundreds of millions of dollars, after creating the debacle at Countrywide.

  • sevo||

    "but the execs who ruin them often make out like bandits, and never regret it."
    Well, you're welcome to cut off *your* nose if you don't like your face, but I'm not so envious.

  • ||

    There's "envy" and then there's "fact."

    If you're an executive who deceives clients, customers, partners and investors into believing that a financial fiction is reality -- that the subprime loans that you issued to sure-to-default welfare recipients are "AAA-rated safe," for example -- you committed fraud.

    You should be in prison.

    Unfortunately, under the US system of corporatism, the fraudster doesn't go to jail (or even pay a significant portion of the damages his fraud caused business partners) but rather claims "limited liability" and walks away scott-free.

    In some cases, he even gets a bailout.

  • Peter Gibbon||

    It's been five years you've been working at Initech, Michael. Five years of your mid-20s, gone! And tomorrow morning they're gonna throw you out in the street. And you know why? So Bill Lumbergh's stock will go up a quarter of a point."

  • DLM||

    It's been five years you've been working at Initech, Michael.

    He probably should have quit when he discovered after that first couple of weeks that they weren't going to pay him.

  • sevo||

    "He probably should have quit when he discovered after that first couple of weeks that they weren't going to pay him."
    Gee, that would have been a clue right there!

  • sevo||

    Peter Gibbon|2.7.11 @ 7:59PM|#
    "It's been five years you've been working at Initech, Michael. Five years of your mid-20s, gone!"
    Gone? Five years of getting paid, gaining experience? Yep, a brain-dead lefty would call that "gone".

    "And tomorrow morning they're gonna throw you out in the street. And you know why? So Bill Lumbergh's stock will go up a quarter of a point.""
    Prove it; I call bullshit.

  • ||

    -And what did Huffington get for her troubles for buying into the hack science? 315 million smackeroos.

    *shakes head*

    -About the autism link. It NEVER had any legs. I know, I ran an autism charity and was close to the community.

    We have friends who freaked out and refused to take shots of any kind. It was an irrational reaction.

    -Although I think the dirtiest 'c' word ends in 'unt,' people's distrust of corps is exaggerated sometimes. Guys like Olbermann would be best to remember one adage the bulk of responsible society already knows: Don't bite the hands that feeds you.

    That's why, as a whole, people like Olbermann are not taken seriously.

    -Speaking of corps, a few of my friends are in pharmaceutical companies. If you think public pressure turning on them hasn't been noticed think twice. They're no longer developing their pipelines. Pfizer in particular was making inroads with Alzeimer but killed off the project. It's no longer feasible.

    There's always a consequence.

    People: You get what you wish for. In 10 years, the same people who bitched and railed against pharma will complain they "don't care" about society and that it's all about "saving" money.

  • sevo||

    "-Speaking of corps, a few of my friends are in pharmaceutical companies. If you think public pressure turning on them hasn't been noticed think twice. They're no longer developing their pipelines. Pfizer in particular was making inroads with Alzeimer but killed off the project. It's no longer feasible."

    This is an argument from utility, but one I've heard in a slightly different way:
    Large pharm outfits are, in effect outsourcing R&D; they'll buy a start-up which has at least got the FDA tests underway for a particular drug rather than try in-house development. In effect, they transfer the early liability costs to the start-ups, and provide legal support and lobbying thereafter; limited liability protection agency stuff.
    Dunno where that's going to go, but a sharp day-trader like shriek should be able to scream the answer.

  • ||

    Interesting. Thanks.

    The thing that troubles me is the freezing of the pipelines. It takes at least 15 years to develop and test a drug.

  • GMT II||

    All hail the ignorant that wrote "And what did Huffington get for her troubles for buying into the hack science? 315 million smackeroos".

    She will receive 18 million from the sale and a yearly salary of 4 million. Where do these idiots come from?

  • ||

    First of all, my name is Firefly. Rufus T. Second, be careful going around calling people i-gnorant:

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....ion-2011-2

  • GILMORE||

    But... but.... teh corporashuns BAAAD!!

    Didn't you see the movie?

    Corporations are our modern day Dragons... they eat our livestock at night, and piss in the wells, and deflower our daughters. I've never seen one, be WE KNOW THEY ARE THERE. Why else does all this bad shit happen?? WalMart is a giant evil firebreathing flying snake, is why!

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Sounds about the way some people think. Blame everything on capitalism and the free market, even though we've never given either a fair shot.

  • ||

    Sorry, but a government-chartered, government-licensed legal fiction with special powers of "no liability" isn't "free market."

    Arguing that "capital markets cannot form without limited liability regulations" is like the liberal who claims that without the FDA, we'd all die of food poisoning. Sorta silly.

  • ||

    Being a Punk I have lots of people I would want to call a CUNT like Barak Obama, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi along ith a lot of people I'm too drunk too drunk to talk about.
    Now I'w you'll excuse me, I have a slut to screw..

  • Realist||

    "An obsession with corporations is driving the left crazy."
    You mean crazier!

  • ||

    I think it is in society's best interest to blot out the sun for the sake of those who have xeroderma pigmentosum.

    Ban it all, baby!

  • shrike||

    Correction: I am the biggest fucking idiot, douche left wing tool you'll ever meet. I also let my father beat me off at gay porn in my mother's basement.

  • ||

    Finally...some honesty from Shriek!!!

  • ||

    An obsession with corporations is driving the left crazy

    yeah, fuck corporations, class war!! Who needs those greedy, self-motivated, job-providing, revenue-creating, risk-taking, hard-working, money-loaning assholes! We would do just fine without rich, corporate assholes , right? We don't need their cell phones, sports cars, and ipods... I mean, unless some poor guy’s company manufactures it. Why do the poor hate the rich so much yet emulate them and idolize them so profoundly? It is so unbecoming. Ugly, Useless and Jealous, oh yeah, great contribution there…. Put that on your job resume.

  • poor||

    It's always interesting to see the American left so cavalierly equate "corporatism" with "fascism", when most formal political science/political economy/economics literature uses "corporatism" all the time to describe the current European welfare states that the American left so highly esteems. An off-the-top-of-my-head example: "Global Capital, Political Institutions, and Policy Change in Developed Welfare States" by Duane Swank (it's about the effects of free movement of capital/investments has, if any, on the ability of welfare states to function).

    I felt this was necessary to say.

  • jagoeng||

    Haha..there are many pro and contra..isn't it?

  • ||

    sevo,

    Without liability it in essence requires a complete rethinking of the capitalist structure for something entirely different from what we are used to. I call the system "proprietrism" but I'd guess someone else might have thought of a different name. It is essentially laissez-faire and heavily meritocratic.

    I could see many small, very specialized businesses working in tandem and each responsible for pieces of bigger products. Cars could still be built, for example, but it is unlikely there would be a "Ford" company - there would be many component companies and multiple assembly companies working cooperatively to assemble a finished product where each piece is competitively priced and liability for each piece is assumed by that company. Many markets would be close to perfect competition and a large percentage of the population would be self-employed entrepreneurs that would contract to other companies. It would largely resemble a "nation of shopkeepers", and all businesses would have incentive to act ethically and responsibly.

  • ||

    wont work

  • ||

    wont work

  • DesigNate||

    One could dare to dream.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Sounds reasonable, and probably where modern, decentralizing technologies will take us. I wonder why chaos punk doesn't think this will work?

  • sevo||

    "I wonder why chaos punk doesn't think this will work?"
    Dunno about c-p, but to me it sounds like we'd lose any economy of scale, not to mention the increased handling/transportation costs, driving product costs and prices up tremendously.
    And I doubt dispersed liability would survive the first lawsuit; whoever's name was on the product would get the shaft.
    It might work, but we'd be trading limited liability for $10K computers.

  • ||

    we'd lose any economy of scale, not to mention the increased handling/transportation costs, driving product costs and prices up tremendously

    Nope, you'd still see large enterprises exist without limited liability -- there'd simply be more controls in place by smart investors and lenders.

    we'd be trading limited liability for $10K computers

    ROFL! Hardly.

    I always find the clinging to government-chartered, government-regulated "corporate entities" to be a failure of libertarian imagination and a lack of faith in human ingenuity.

  • ||

    Economies of scale would still be a factor, but the playing field would be more level between the tiniest business and the largest, since the liability risk required to attain those economies of scale would no longer be shifted onto society and would increase expenses for larger businesses. If limited operation specialty companies with a handful of employees could compete on a relatively closer cost basis with the Microsofts and Apples of the world, it is likely enterprise would remain as small as possible to produce what they need to produce at the best cost and quality while minimizing their risk, leading to an incredibly efficient and competitive market with great innovation and creativity.

  • ||

    I'm skeptical of any political, social or economic ideology that relies on the "good will" of humankind. A nation of small time shopkeepers that mind their business and don't do harm to one another.. sorry bro, it just doesn't coincide with reality. Just like communism and socialism, it rejects the natural default tendencies of human beings to outclass and outrank one another.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    These big corporations just write everything off.

  • GMT II||

    What a dumb statement. Try selling that line of logic to an investor. It would sound something like this....."Hey stockholder I got a bright idea; lets spend one dollar of profit so we can save .40 cents in taxes. You must work for the government.

  • Brian||

    Wow, you missed that one by a mile.

  • sevo||

    Oops. Sarcasm detector failure.

  • ||

    Sloppy journalism, Matt. The main focus has not been the MMR vaccine itself, but rather the thiomersal (aka thimerosal) that's used as the anti-staph agent (preservative, if you will) in the vaccine. Thiomersal is classified as "highly toxic", and contains mercury, a heavy metal known to persist in human tissue and have high toxicity to humans. Unfortunately, you chose to focus on Mr. Kennedy's whack-job accusations rather than on thiomersal.

    All studies have shown no link between the thiomersal levels used in vaccines and autism. Regardless, it is a highly toxic substance and deserves scrutiny.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    From my reading on the subject, I understand that the thermisol is used in levels well below dangerous to humans. And the FDA is no friend of big business.

  • sevo||

    "Regardless, it is a highly toxic substance and deserves scrutiny."
    AFAICT, it's gotten that scrutiny.

  • ||

    Hi Matt,

    Your article does a decent job of defending corporations, but it fails to tackle the harder issues of how to deal with the power imbalance between a multination CEO in the pursuit of profit (which can be to the detriment of value if corporations cannibalize their assets) and... really anyone else.

    We need to remove corporate person-hood from the law and consider what it means to have such powerful faceless entities in our society.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    We need to remove corporate person-hood from the law and consider what it means to have such powerful faceless entities in our society.


    Why?

    What harm does corporate personhood do?

  • RanDomino||

    Corporations aren't persons, though. Why should they have person-like rights?

  • ||

    Hello Michael,

    Let me ask you, should our institutions in our society protect other institutions?

    Corporate personhood enables corporation to receive protection under the law as if they were primary beneficiaries of our society.

    This personhood allows the corporation to exist as an entity that is protected in the court system as if it were one of the base units that comprise society (persons). But the corporation is far from a base unit, in fact it is a very complex unit comprised of stockholders, management and employees in a relationship for the pursuit of profit. To make the mistake of calling this organization a person is to protect the pursuit of profit, of an indefinite entity, that is much more powerful than any individual person could be, on the same grounds as the natural rights of man.

    It is a question about the purpose of laws and the court system. Should the courts protect corporate interests as if the corporation had a will of its own? A corporation in and of itself has no will, it is not a monad, it is merely an organization and should be treated as such.

  • ||

    What harm does corporate personhood do?

    It endows a non-entity legal fictional abstraction with "human rights" via government license (and payment).

    I find it difficult to see how a libertarian cannot recognize that as a bad thing.

  • ||

    There's another reason for the rise in diseases like polio and measles: a vast influx of unvaccinated immigrants. Not just Mexicans, though. I'd say the biggest group by percentage is Muslims. The notion that vaccines are Western poisons is a rampant and persistent one throughout the Muslim world, yet we allow tens of thousands in every year, and are poised under Obama to increase immigration from those countries.

  • ||

    I love the excellent citations, extensive data, and links that you provided to bolster your indisputable argument.

  • ||

    It's obvious the writer is an idiot that knows nothing about vaccines.

    A simple statistic will clear up all the he said she said crap about the vaccines, because obviously the writer of this article couldn't be bothered to get into the nuances of the vaccine/anti-vaccine argument and instead just trumpeted the government and corporate line that it's all good.

    Check the statistic that states what the differences in autism for male children vaccinated with the MMR shot after 3 years old vs. before.

    There chances of autism in boys that receive the shot before 3 is much higher then those after 3. Period. Government and corporate propaganda be damned, the numbers are the numbers.

    I know, it's so much easier for "libertarians" to trust government and corporate interests then to actually do some real legwork and/or investigation into valid statistical analysis.

    Just like doctors used to recommend certain brands of cigarettes as good for you, or the whole fluoride issue, how about the FDA approved VIOXX killing 400k+ people. Possibly the recent and very good research stating that stain type drugs don't help cholesterol at all in most people.

    Yeah, of course corporations and the FDA would NEVER lie to us about the efficacy of a certain drug. No, never, not them, no way. Much better for "libertarians" to trust corporate and government authorities then to get up off their asses and do any real research.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    You're really not thinking here, and obviously don't know what you're talking about.

    The probablility of autism in boys above and below three yoa comes from when it is identified. If you looked at the numbers for unvaccinated boys, you would probably find the same results (please cite source, next time). Lots of people not affiliated with the government approve of vaccines, and consider the effect of *not* using them. We had it 150 years ago. Look at the survival rates of children. Then tell me that getting rid of vaccines is a good idea.

    Beyond that, it is not self-interested at all to lie about the safety of a vaccine. Only a fool would do that. It's possible that they made a mistake in their testing, or that their actual risk-reward (possible hurt people vs. those who wouldn't get disease) include that. I don't know, I'm not a pharmaceutical industry expert.

    Furthermore on autism, the increase in rate over that last several years stems largely from better detection and including a larger group of symptoms in the category of "autism." The definition has not been static for decades, by no means.

    Your assumption that libertarians just march to the corporate government drum also indicates that you have little or no understanding of libertarianism. Libertarians are very questioning of government. We also question the value of corporations that use government money. We trust the free market, which is something never tried in its true undiluted form.

  • sevo||

    Freedom|2.8.11 @ 12:26PM|#
    "It's obvious the writer is an idiot that knows nothing about vaccines...."
    You're a tin-foil-hat ignoramus. Nuff said.

  • ||

    It's worth mentioning that corporations are creatures of the state, legal "people" that have no temporal existence, and have limited liability that natural persons do not have. Why should a person be able to avoid responsibility for tortious behavior through a state-granted privilege (namely, a corporation)?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Why should a person be able to avoid responsibility for tortious behavior through a state-granted privilege (namely, a corporation)?


    They do not.

    People do not get immunity from civil liability merely because they work for a corporation.

    Respondeat superior does not mean that the agent is shielded from liability, only that the principal is not .

  • ||

    A distinction without a difference.

    If I as an *individual* poison your land and drinking water, and squirrel away all the profits in my retirement account, you can sue me. When you win, my retirement account and other assets are immediately available to pay damages and recompense (to the maximum amount possible).

    Now, if I pay the government a fee and get a pretty piece of paper called a "corporate charter" from the state, I can have "my corporation" poison your land and water, pay myself nice dividends into my retirement account. When you sue my corporation, all the profits were paid out to me and I'm protected due to "limited liability." You get whatever meager assets exist in the corporate shell, while I keep all the ill-gotten gains for myself (and the government gets some off the top in corporation franchise tax and corporate income tax).

    The situations and parties identified are identical -- the only difference is the government's legal fiction protection racket that allows me to extract resources from you for my personal gain and place them beyond your ability to recover them.

  • ||

    Also, the discussion above is conflating the "agent's immunity rule," which applies to employees of corporations (or individuals) and limited liability. All state-created entities enjoy liability - limited to the assets held by the entity, and not to the assets held by the principals. Agent's immunity means that the employee cannot be liable for work performed by the employer if the agent was acting at the direction of the employer. Instead, the employer is liable.

    The agents immunity rule would apply whether the employer was an individual or a corporation.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Also, the discussion above is conflating the "agent's immunity rule," which applies to employees of corporations (or individuals) and limited liability. All state-created entities enjoy liability - limited to the assets held by the entity, and not to the assets held by the principals. Agent's immunity means that the employee cannot be liable for work performed by the employer if the agent was acting at the direction of the employer. Instead, the employer is liable.


    To illustrate further, under the doctrine of respondeat superior , the employer is not liable for the personal debts of the employee. If the employee maxes out ten credit cards, the employer is not liable.

    Respondeat superior applies if the employee commits a tort in the scope of employment.

    Now, are there any laws that grants agents immunity?

  • Mensan||

    Kennedy wrote: “My American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as ‘a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership together with belligerent nationalism.'...”

    That's strange, because my copy of the American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as " a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regulating all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism."

    It seems that Kennedy's copy of the dictionary differs from the actual dictionary.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Not going to comment on Kennedy's little screw up, but dictionaries probably shouldn't put political systems on a left-right scale. A lexographer is probably not a political expert, and a dictionary is supposed to state facts, not opinions.

  • KJFX||

    Seems to me this article points more directly at peoples distrust of large corps because they do sometimes engage in calculated risk directly envolved in an individuals own personal safety from their service or product. Yes this is a very bad business practice and is far from the norm, but it does happen and every time light is shed on this happening people become fearful because there is a belief that this is probably a widely held practice across all of the large businesses. Today this view of large uncaring businesses is made even more prominent by so much of the American workforce being replaced by cheap foriegn labor in areas with questionable work ethics. What people in genral don't realise is that most the businesses that get away with something is in direct result of being a more or less gov sponcered business which gave them the ability to fly below the radar in the first place, was givin incentive by regulations that worked in their favor to for go practices that otherwise their competition have to hold to. Only when they are caughtin their unbusiness like behavior will the gov run in the other direction pointing their fingers back at the corps screaming how it's all big biz fault and how you must give gov even more power over them so they can control them even more cause the free market failed, when it wasn't even true free market in the first place. Give the gov full control of these biz's and you'll trully see how corupt it can become when it doesn't have to perform to a certain standard to still recieve full pay for it's good or service. The corporations don't hold power, that's the gov's monoply, and complete power corupts completely.

  • ||

    They refuse to admit that corporations are a product OF and given all their special privileges and protections by THE government.

    And they refuse to admit that Socialists(Dem) LOVE CORPORATIONS because they allow the centralization of the means of production and allow the central planners to easily control the economy by only having a few large entities to strong arm, make back room deals with, etc..instead of a free market with many smaller independent business entities.

    Every time a Democrat/Socialist is complaining about an evil 'big corporation', they are LYING through their teeth. They need and love big corporations because they are essential in their form of government.

    Read FA Hayek, he predicted the rise of big corporations in the 1940's as the government grew and the central planners(socialists) grew in power.

  • KJFX||

    Bravo Han

    ...but it's not just Dem, if ppl don't wake up and realize the prob is gov across the board then we'll just be doomed to continue the status-quoe and cronie capitalism within the largest structures of business. It's all about power and bein able to wield it. We (the people) must create an end to this "unholy" alliance between gov and big biz by limiting the power of gov within the structure of business.

    Dems get it right when they are suspect of big biz`s intent thru lobbying of the gov for special favors, and repubs get it right when they say gov needs to get out of the way and allow free market solutions to evolve. However both then perverse these concepts in a way to benifit their own particular brand of gov sponsored power grabs and involvement contrary to the very values they say they uphold.

  • General Motors||

    Corporations are awesome free market entities.

  • Bank of America||

    As a free market corporation, we stand behind the value of the corporate charter as a powerful tool for free enterprise!

  • Citigroup||

    Only a communist would argue that we're not a free market entity.

  • ||

    "The vaccine/autism link has been debunked repeatedly since 1998—by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine, and the British National Health Service, among many others"

    Government-funded agency defends government funded initiatives.

  • ||

    It is against the interest of a business to poison its customers - when there is a market. On the other hand, things are more complicated when people are required by government to use your product - and poisoning them will enable you to sell them other products.

    By the way, Welch is operating on the assumption that this all has been proven wrong. But all we know is that establishment groups - the same ones who have always supported vaccination - say its been proven wrong, and strip credentials. So what? You've listed a bunch of government agencies saying that the government was right.

  • Kevin Carson||

    "You do not need to be an apologist for Big Pharma to observe that maybe it’s against the self-interest of an industry to deliberately poison its customers."

    I'm surprised there aren't any "methodological individualists" pointing out that an "industry" doesn't have interests. A lot of things aren't in the interest of an industry, in the sense of its long-term profitability, that are very much in the interests of its individual senior managers (from the standpoint of maxing the quarterly numbers and collecting their bonuses and then moving on before the chickens come home to roost).

    I'm for genuinely competitive free markets, not because I believe that large corporations like Big Pharma would do the right thing under a free market incentive structure, but because I believe unfettered market competition would destroy Big Pharma and replace it with genuine market actors capable of doing the right thing.

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  • wag||

    How is it in the best interest of pharmaceutical companies not to poison their customers? If you can create a dozen inflammatory and autoimmune symptoms with a single shot and these don't manifest for years, you just have to turn these symptoms into their own diseases and watch business boom. I'm not saying that this is what is happening, but you can't just assume benevolence and full public knowledge when you talk about rational self-interest.

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