Progressive Corporatism and the Resistance
By Arnold Kling
Glenn Reynolds comments on the plight of Freddie Mac as reported in today’s Washington Post.
When Freddie Mac’s executives concluded a few weeks ago that they had to disclose that the government’s management of the McLean company was undermining its profitability and would cost it tens of billions of dollars, the firm’s regulator urged it not to do so, according to several sources familiar with the matter.
Freddie Mac executives refused to bend. The clash grew so severe that they threatened to go to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees corporate disclosures, to secure a ruling that the regulator’s request was out of line. The company’s regulator backed down, the sources said.
Remember, when a private company wants to cover up billions in losses and the responsibility for them, that’s a major scandal and proof of the evils of capitalism. But when a government regulator does the same thing, hat’s just how people are, these things happen, whaddyagonnado…
Read the whole thing. You can see how the U.S is going to function under what I call Progressive Corporatism.
Another post you should read is one that was written last month by Pete Boettke.
Perhaps a more timely book to read than even Hayek would be Mises’s Omnipotent Government and in particular the sections on the German economic model of national socialist policy. Our current policy path seems more along those lines, [rather than] outright expropriation of private property by the government. In the German model, Mises argued, private ownership was nominally maintained and the appearance of normal prices, wages and markets was kept. But in reality entrepreneurs were replaced by government-appointed shop managers, and the government dictated how the “capitalist” must use his funds and what wages workers must work for. Government effectively controlled production and distribution.
At this point, I think that the relevant political divide is not between the two parties. It is between the forces of Progressive Corporatism and the (much smaller) forces of The Resistance.Boettke quotes a woman who resisted the Nazis and ultimately was executed.
Sophie Scholl wrote the following about the damage to the German people caused by fascism: “The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.”
For now, I think that mockery is the most useful form of resistance.