Socialists are either dense or immoral. They typically claim that capitalism is terrible because it allows the rich to maintain their dominance over the poor. Many of our societal problems are, to a socialist, the fault of the rich or the corporations. This is an absurd notion. All too often I hear the term “crony capitalism” thrown around to describe corporate influence in politics, a situation where a corporation supports political candidates or parties and in turn, receives political favors. While this is an endemic problem in our current society, it is a farce to associate it with capitalism. This is simply corporations taking advantage of the governmental authority over the economy (gasp… socialism) to further their ends. The problem is not that the corporations have undue influence in government, but the opposite. The government has undue influence in the economy.
The solution to “crony capitalism” is not to expand the influence of the government in the economy in the hopes that it will miraculously start to be moral or efficient or effective when it is agreed by both left and right that it has not been for decades. Punishing the corporations for taking advantage of the system which we have allowed to flourish would be akin to punishing a dog for taking a dog treat you put on the floor. The function of a corporation is to make money, they are in fact legally bound to make money for their shareholders. To fault a company for taking advantage of every possible system to effect that goal is very naïve.
If the issue is that corporations are able to unduly influence politicians in their favor, wouldn’t a better solution be to remove the incentive for this influence than to try and heroically wipe out corruption en masse? Since the earliest tribes of humans began to work together as communities, there has existed corruption. The government’s ability to influence the economy is the hypothetical dog treat placed tantalizingly available in the middle of the floor. If you punish the dog, while not innately wrong, it is immoral because you were the one who put the dog in that tantalizing situation. This puts American socialists ironically in the position of the serpent from Adam and Eve. You are not guilty of committing the sin, but it is American socialism that created the situation in the first place
The Wall Street and Auto bailouts of the last decade are often (and arguably so) decried as being catastrophic to the average American. These actions were only able to occur because of a socialist precedent already lurking in our government’s interaction with the economy. If the auto industry had been allowed to fail, the alleged 1.5 million jobs “saved” would not have simply disappeared. The world economy needs cars, so the market would still exist. While some would have been lost to foreign competition, the infrastructure to build cars on a phenomenal scale would still exist in America. That infrastructure would be pieced out to new companies more able to adapt to the current market. instead of 1.5 million jobs at 2 companies, we would have dozens of companies producing dozens of different models and employing Americans. The logic behind the bailout is the same logic behind the construction of roads that are engineered to fall apart and need repairs. The only people benefiting from this are the construction workers and the politicians who patronize them.
Socialism takes supreme economic power away from the people directly and places it in the hands of the government. WalMart is not some evil corporation that runs small companies out of business, they are a store that provides goods and services cheaper than other stores. If mom and pop stores going out of business is to be considered evil, then it is the consumers who are evil for selecting cheaper goods. How you choose to spend your dollars is your economic vote. Taxes on the other hand, are not an option and therefore not a vote. If the government takes your dollars through taxes and sends them to corporations, you are first off not receiving a service for that dollar, and second off having your economic vote systematically stolen by the government. Now, corporations have to decide, should they pander to the consumer (you and me) or to the government in order to make money. If the government has supreme economic power, is it not obvious what the logical choice is?
Modern American socialism is an aspirin pill being given to an economic system that has had its arm cut off. Socialists, however noble their intentions may be, are seeking to treat the symptom rather than the root cause. The side effect, just like with the aspirin (that the blood is thinned causing more bleeding) is that corporations now have more incentive to attempt to corrupt politicians. It is idealistic and naïve to think that greed, and evil can simply be legislated from existence. The real solution is to restrict the government and negate the reason for this form of corruption in the first place.
This is a map of the Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International in 2014