The Nature of the Ruling Class
...one robber (the literal apparatus of government) keeps you covered with a pistol while the second (representing State-allied corporations) just holds the bag that you have to drop your wristwatch, wallet and car keys in. To say that your interaction with the bagman was a “voluntary transaction” is an absurdity. Such nonsense should be condemned by all libertarians. Both gunman and bagman together are the true State.
Brilliant. I've seen too many "libertarian" defenses of big business that attempt to absolve it of any guilt for its role in this partnership. Big business is just the passive victim, so they say, forced to accept corporate welfare and obtain special privileges in self-defense against the forces of the regulatory state. According to this argument, the recipients of differential tax advantages are the good guys, managing to keep a bit more of their own money.* Complete and utter horseshit.
The rotation of personnel between senior corporate management and political appointees in government agencies is such that corporate and government leadership are, for all intents and purposes, a single power elite. Large corporations are not passive victims of the state; they act through the state. It makes about as much sense to separate them from the state, as it would have made to separate the landholding class from the state in Medieval times. The state, by definition, is the instrument of a ruling class. Sometimes the state and the ruling class are one and the same, as under Soviet-style bureaucratic collectivism. But sometimes the state is the instrument of a nominally "private" ruling class, or of a mixed ruling class of state and corporate interests (e.g. Scandinavian "social democracy").
Most of the recipes for "free market reform" I see coming from neoliberal politicians leave the gunman in place, but increase the ratio of nominally-private bagmen to gunmen. The more of the work of robbery can be "privatized" to the bagmen, supposedly, the larger the portion of all activity is nominally private. So isn't that a freer market? Isn't that "a step in the right direction"? To see some of the contemporary agitprop in favor of increased "global trade," it must be.
*Note--To those who say differential tax advantages aren't "corporate welfare," by the way: please remember that the practical effect of such exemptions is exactly the same as if we started with a corporate tax rate of zero, and then imposed a tax penalty on those not engaged in favored forms of enterprise. The effect of rapid depreciation, say, is the same as a punitive tax on those not engaged in capital-intensive forms of production. The fiscal and competitive effects are identical.