Sunday, October 25, 2009

You say potato, I say facisto, potato, facisto, let's call the whole thing off

George Washington, the founder of our country, or maybe somebody else, asks if our government is currently capitalist, socialist or facist.

The vast, government run and sanctioned campaign of looting that is taking place is unprecendented in the United States. Certainly at this scale.

Washington writes:
...one of the best definitions of fascism - the one used by Mussolini - is the "merger of state and corporate power".
That could never happen in America, right?
Consider:
    • The government has given trillions in bailout or other emergency funds to private companies, but is largely refusing to disclose to either the media, the American people or even Congress where the money went
    • Congress has largely been bought and paid for, and two powerful congressmen have said that banks run Congress
    • The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the former Vice President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, and two top IMF officials have all said that we have - or are in danger of having - oligarchy in the U.S.
    • Economist Dean Baker says that the real purpose of bank rescue plans was "A massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives"
    • The big banks killed any real chance for financial reform months ago
Other possibilities are more akin to a kleptocracy or crony capitalism (as long as include big labor in the beneficiaries) where the looting is being done by those in power and their allies.

While Washington points out the arguments in favor of each term, it seems clear is that what we do not have is free market capitalism. Nor would it be fair to call it socialism; at least not as any socialist would imagine implementing a socialst system. Which leaves...
Italian historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because "the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise... Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social" (page 416).
Sound familiar? Well worth a read, even if you disagree.


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