America’s Crony Capitalism: Karl Marx to the Rescue?

mark mono cc

Don’t freak out. Marx is hardly the solution and the author of this excellent article understands this. Indeed the author understands quite a lot. I was unfamiliar with Dr. Dworkin who is obviously  a very interesting thinker with a highly developed sense of crony capitalism, what it is, and what is driving it.

This is not to say we agree with him on all points. We don’t. But even still,  a very well done and thought provoking article.

(From The American Interest)

A stifling of productive energy now touches every phrase of the American worker’s lifecycle. Many Americans start out with neither money nor connections. To get a job they must pay the high fees of the higher-education college guild after having passed through the hands of the lower-education preparatory guild, which has its own numerous protections and provides generally poor service. After graduation people apply for jobs mostly in the established guilds, sometimes interning without pay, sometimes apprenticed for many years before they can make an adult living. If they forego this route to strike out on their own to build a business, they risk antagonizing some other guild that already controls that business though assorted barriers to entry, and that threatens to use government (through the recent explosion of licensing requirements, for example) to shut them down. If they shift their productive energy to private life and funnel it into creating children, they risk not being able to support those children, since higher education costs so much, as does the regulated daycare guild. Thus even procreation is partly blocked as a creative outlet. If they try to funnel their creative energies into volunteer community work—for example, in hospitals, hospices, or social services—the health care and social service guilds restrict what they can do, because they are not “credentialed,” leaving them with only the most boring or menial tasks. Blocked again.

American life today thus leaves these people frustrated and emasculated. It has become harder to create and to produce; seemingly malevolent forces stifle them at every turn. They blame “capitalism” because that’s what policymakers call the American economic system, but few know what capitalism means other than a cozy relationship between business and the state. Life seems puzzling at best and darkly conspiratorial at worst. The urge to rebel mounts.

Karl Marx understood such frustration. His first principle was that people want to fulfill themselves as human beings through meaningful productive activity. Feudalism stifled that urge, he argued, leading to revolution and a new era of capitalism. Capitalism, Marx famously thought, would eventually stifle people in its own way, leading to communism. On this point Marx was wrong, of course: Capitalism didn’t lead to communism, but rather to crony capitalism. In other words it led backwards, because crony capitalism is a form of feudalism.

Click here for the article.