Corporatist yin with Statist yang

The great American experiment with lliberty and free enterprise has outgrown this world’s capacity to sustain it.
Its glorious inception had been nurtured in a virgin-land seedbed of 18-century humanist enlightenment. Yoked, ever so curiously,  with a steadfast puritan work ethic,  this has become our quasi-mythical heritage  of creative capitalism.
Industrious yankee microcapitalism coupled with burgeoning agricultural productivity produced a bold, energetic continent-wide economic expansion. The magnitude and speed of its development was unprecedented in the history of the world.

But that diligent capitalist impulse has since devolved into a bloated postcapital opulence. Now, our overfed mega-corporate superstructure, based on safety in numbers and risk-dispersal through immensity, is divesting itself of its historically free-enterprising creative base.
It has become what I call the Corporatist economic system. And yes, it is degenerating into a sort of decline these days, though not irraparably so. All human institutions in the history of the world must endure this devolution and must eventually devise strategies for renewal. This includes the institution with which I most strongly identify, the church. The church’s long-term strategy for renewal is ultimately Resurrection, but that is another matter entirely.
Back on the worldly horizon of 21st-century development,  we see Corporatism as yin to the yang of Statism.
For the sake of clarity, I’ll offer two oversimplified definitions of these two.

Statism is an attempt by an educated elite to govern from the bottom up, with rhetorical emphasis on equal opportunity and income redistribution. In its benevolent expressions, statism is socialism and democratic politics. In its malevolent form it degenerates to Stalinism.
Corporatism is management of society from the top down by a wealthy elite, in which their corporations control what the people buy and sell. Its benevolent manifestation was turn-of-the-20th-century expansionist capitalism and republican politics. Its malevolent degeneration would reduce it militaristic fascism.

Statism operates, in theory anyway, on trickle-up economics. Corporatism is, of course, a trickle-down thing. In their long-term effects, the two are shown historically to be not much different, with the net result being in both cases society-wide procurement of security at the expense of liberty.

In the Statist model, zealous idealism coupled with politics is generally the source of heirarchical advancement;  in the Corporatist scheme, money fortified with politics is the source of wealth.
In 20th-century terms these polarized operating principles have played out as Soviet-Chinese communism and European-American capitalism.

The communist model originally envisaged by Marx, Lenin, Mao and others degenerated into Stalinist gulags and Maoist perpetually-revolutionary humiliation. The capitalist model is presently devolving into what we see today– counterproductive overdependence on a usurious financial sector, and the disappearance of unregulated business. The system enslaves what was historically an innovative spirit to market-neutralized mediocrity, rendering enterprise impotent to do what really needs to be done. This is one reason why Evergreen, the solar panel company from Massechusetts, has been constrained to move its manufacturing to China.
Speaking of China, their  Statist model now evolves on the detritus of that old heavy-handed communism. It idealizes, in an exploitative way, the common man’s laborious role in the Great State. Party policies and funds are doled out through government/party agencies, from the bottom up,  sometimes now (since Deng’s reforms) through state-owned enterprises.

In the USA, this statist strategy takes shape through democratic politics in make-work projects for infrastructure, welfare, and entitlements. Bureacrurats rule, or they think they do anyway.

The American-European Corporatist structure, of which the statist impulse is just a part,  has metastasized upon on a residue of the old robber-baron capitalism. It mythologizes the entrepreneur and executive functions of the Great Company. Money is ostensibly distributed by banks through boards of directors. Employees make the wheels of finance and industry turn, even if those machinations are increasingly cumbersome, inefficient, overpaid, and predictably redundant.
During this pos-industrial environmnet in which we live,  the Chinese model is in exuberant ascendancy. A State Party subsidizes and controls pseudo-enterprises. Although touting  an official rhetoric of equality for all people, the channels of power are strung along a technocratic elite whose basis of power is politics and rule-keeping. The system is a potent communist-capitalist hybrid, a la the Hegelian dialectic synthesis. Its  mega-capacity to accumulate resources propels the People’s Republic toward dominance in the world economy.
The American wealth machine, rusty from age and greedy entropy, is a government hamstrung by Corporatists. The corporations control congressional pursestrings,  funding and regulating a hyped-up stock market for self-absorbed investors. The lackey government generates pseudo-corporate structures, like Fannie and Freddie, so that smart, over-educated nitpicking technocrats have something to administrate. The system is a hybrid that is different the Chinese one, insofar as the myth of wealth creation through raw free enterprise is the rhetorical basis for advancement. It  enables a financially-adept elite to perpetuate control by wealthy folks. That’s a  myth different from the eglitarian myth that facilitates Statist creeping.

Between the constrictive powers of these two economic superstructures–the Chinese Statist one and American Corpartist one, all possibilities for classic, creative free enterprise are diminishing.
If independent business is to survive on planet earth, we must get back to small-scale, local market-based, risk-taking businesses that originate from the grassroots up. This is where the developing nations have an advantage, because their microcapitalism is raw, undiluted by statist rules and capitalist hype. Real people solving real problems in their own communities is where its at.
Land, food, minerals, and value-adding labor are ultimately the only sources for true wealth. Beyond that its all systematic hype convoluted by human vanity and exploitive power-grubbing.

Glass Chimera


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