An Unwritten History – (5) The “Free Market Myth”

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          Under cover of a constant barrage of propaganda promoting the worship of capitalism, the wealthy elite have persuaded millions of Americans of a need for corporate “freedom” to innovate and flourish and grow the economy, ostensibly for everyone’s benefit.  Many radical capitalists, however, have only had their own personal benefit in mind. 

          A “free market” depends upon the forces of competition.  Once in control of government, the radical capitalists have enhanced their own “market power” and weakened the constraints of competition in several ways: (1) they have weakened through non-enforcement the anti-trust laws designed to ensure competition in all market sectors; (2) they have pressed to eliminate price regulation of monopoly and oligopoly providers of essential goods and services (some of which has existed since the 19th Century); and (3) they have avoided or evaded regulation designed to prevent abuse of the banking and financial systems.  As a result, there have been vast increases in profits, while consumers have received less value and fewer options at greater cost.  This ability to circumvent the constraints of competition and regulation is called “market power,” and the pursuit of market power is inherent in the capitalist system.  The corporate elite seek market power to enhance their ability to increase their wealth at the expense of everybody else.

          Abuse of the government procurement system reduces competition and creates cost overruns and increased profits for the wealthy elite, hardly an example of the free market at work.  As discussed above, the wealthy elite have even established their interests as America’s “national interests,” and profited in this way through government military contracts.  The profitability of these contracts has been greatly enhanced by control of the procurement process.  Military contractors have also used the procurement leverage to create additional demand by influencing the desired level of military power (weapons systems) or military activity (war).

          Another very effective approach to making more money is reducing regulations designed to reduce “externalities,” such as air and water pollution, or unsafe products, food or pharmaceuticals.  When they are at the helm in Washington, radical capitalists have been quite successful at increasing their profits through reduced government regulation by repealing laws or regulations or by simply not enforcing them.  To gain power for these purposes, they brainwash Americans into feeling negative about regulation as an attack on corporate “freedom,” as if it were somehow a personal attack on all Americans.  They further mislead citizens into regarding the additional costs to corporations (reducing their profits) as costs “big government” has somehow imposed on the taxpayers themselves.  The reality, however, is that the corporations have simply heaped more costs related to poorer health, and other externality costs, on taxpayers.    

JMH – 3/1/11

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