Friday, August 27, 2010

The Friends of the “Free Market” Are Its Worst Enemies

Amplify’d from

The people who talk most about “free enterprise” and “free markets” in American political discourse, far from actually favoring those things, have appropriated the label “free enterprise” for their system of corporate welfare, corporate protectionism, and crony capitalism.

Quite frankly, I’m thoroughly sick of seeing right-wing Republicans referred to as “free market fundamentalists” by people like Thomas Frank. I’m sick of seeing “free market” treated, on the Left, as synonymous with a modernized version of Robber Baron capitalism. But it’s hard to blame them for this, considering that about the only people you see praising “the free market” in the mainstream media are, well, Robber Barons.

The private sentiments of the so-called friends of “free enterprise” — people like Dick Cheney, Tom Delay, and Dick Armey — are probably more honestly represented by former Archer Daniels Midland CEO Dwayne Andreas: “The competitor is our friend and the customer is our enemy.” “The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians.”

Tom Friedman, the foremost defender of corporate globalization, knows exactly what the system really requires:

“For globalism to work, American can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is.  The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

But then, I like the cheerfully sociopathic Blago unknowingly recorded on the phone (“effing golden”) a lot better than the guy on the talking head shows who lifts his eyes heavenward and compares himself to Gandhi and Mother Theresa. At least with people like Andreas and Friedman, you know what you’re dealing with. No hokum about “free enterprise.” Just flaming death from the skies for anybody who fails to ratify the Uruguay Round TRIPS accord or stops using the dollar as a reserve currency.