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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Executive Committee of the Ruling Class

Via Adam at Mutualist Journal Club. IBM is moving to support Open Document Format.

As Adam says,

we should expect the capitalist powers-that-be (corporations and governments) to oppose any monopoly that affects an input to production, as "office productivity software" clearly does. Capitalists will also make a point of preventing any one of them from acquiring much more wealth than the others, hence Microsoft is a prime target for them.

That was a major point in Baran and Sweezy's description of how the state functioned as executive committee of the ruling class, in Monopoly Capitalism. Because the state functions in the interests of the corporate economy collectively, it acts to rein in specific corporations or industries when they hurt the collective interests of organized capital. When low rates of profit in some industry threaten the economy as a whole, likewise, the state intervenes to create a floor (as with agriculture and the extractive industries).

It's interesting, in this regard, that so many of the major anti-trust actions of the U.S. government have involved resources or infrastructures that were centrally important to the corporate economy as a whole: Standard Oil, AT&T, Microsoft.... It's also interesting that the industries most prone to nationalization under the so-called "social democracies" are those very same resources and infrastructures, which the large corporate interests may prefer to manage collectively through the state.

2 Comments:

Blogger troutsky said...

Looked at from another perspective,"these corporate interests are still being managed collectively by the state" even if one aspect of this management invlolves "trust busting" or the breaking up of large entities.There is a remnant populist sentiment that rebels instinctively against the "evil" mega corporation, WalMart is running up against this image problem right now.To manage social control, the corporate state has to occasionaly re-affirm the PERCEPTION that the corporate and state are seperate and that the state will PROTECT the people.On this level it is simple good cop/ bad cop but deeper it is a perfect manifestation of Debords concept of The Society of the Spectacle."Quite simply, the spectacles domination has succeeded in raising a whole generation moulded to its laws.The extraordinary new conditions in which this entire generation has lived constitute a comprehensive summary of all that, henceforth, the spectacle will forbid; and also all that it will permit."

December 15, 2005 9:19 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Heh. Good analogy. The supposed opposition between big business and big govt is about as authentic as that between the good cop and bad cop in the interrogation room. And the average working taxpayer, unfortunately, is the guy with the broom handle jammed up his ass.

December 15, 2005 3:06 PM  

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