Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.

– Benito Mussolini

There comes a moment in the life of all declining civilizations when the periphery is being bled dry but rivers of money still flow through the capital cities. It happened in Athens, it happened in Rome, and right now it’s happening to us. It’s getting harder and harder to make money as an independent contractor, but easier and easier if you’re in partnership with the state.

I won’t go through the current details – you already know about the hundred types of taxes, the currency controls and the ever-harsher treatment for anyone who might break one of the ever-growing list of laws. We’re being bled dry and we are scrambling to adapt faster than the state can take stuff away from us.

But, as I say, you know that. What I want to express in this article is that it will get worse, not better… unless the system falls down, of course. If that happens before too long – and if the majority doesn’t get its wish for a strong man to rebuild it – things will get massively better. (This is explained in FMP #17.)

EASY MONEY

In the 19th Century, being profitable was ALOT easier than it is now, at least for average people and local companies. The West was legitimately expanding; all sorts of new technologies were coming to market without having to pass through an impossible regulatory gauntlet; taxes didn’t take away the surplus of the producer before he could use it; ingenuity and dedication paid off.

Those days, alas, are gone.

Big money is made now by enforcing some kind of monopoly. That’s why nearly every industry association promotes professional regulation laws: they’re using the power of the state to stop people from competing with them. That’s why copyright lasts essentially forever nowadays: the entertainment mega-corps are forcing people to keep buying old products at premium prices… and that’s why they sue 12-year old girls for downloading old songs, and are now getting teenaged downloaders extradited.

Corporate profits in our time are all about using the power of the state to exclude competition.

And, of course, the mass Wall Street craze of the past thirty years assumes strong quarterly profits forever. The only way to get those now is to find “special circumstances” where the market is somehow rigged.

So, since purpose-made market dislocations are the only way to keep getting over-sized profits, the obvious strategy is to pay-off politicians and get laws written to authorize force on your behalf. There are now thirty-some lobbyists in Washington for each member of Congress. Their job it to obtain these purposeful market dislocations for their clients.

If the politicians weren’t eager to sell the use of their offices, the lobbyists would be starving. They’re not. Take a drive down K Street some time.

So, we’re in the age of corporatism. The corporations pay-off the politicians, who pay professional manipulators to confuse the populace and get voted into office, and who write laws to benefit their donors. That’s how it works in the real world.

Over time, this corporatist strategy has to fail, but at every step along that path it pays for the politician to sell his or her services, and for the mega-corp to buy stronger laws. Until it fails, of course. But, by then, everyone else has already been bled bone dry.

So, what’s your strategy for this situation?

I don’t have one to offer you, by the way… but you had better start thinking about it. This is a one-way road and the end of it is ugly.

 

Free-Man’s Perspective – If you enjoyed reading today’s Global Speculations piece, subscribe to Paul Rosenberg’s monthly dispatch on the important things of life: virtue, courage, science, art, history, philosophy and personal growth. The things we end up thirsting for once we look up from our work and investments. Subscribe today and get special introductory rate of $9.99 a month.