Why is talk of ‘free markets’ beneficial for Corporate domination?

We have had about 40 years of politicians and media continually spruiking the benefits of free markets. During that time, we have seen a steady transfer of wealth to the exceedingly wealthy, a consolidation of ownership and control of the corporate sector, a decline in social mobility and a boost in state attempts to control ordinary people and reduce control over the corporate sector.

This result is not a coincidence. Indeed corporations sponsor free market think tanks. Corporate and think-tank self-interest justifies the idea that free market talk primarily supports their power and wealth.

Free market talk boosts corporate power as follows:

1) It makes business the only important part of society. Economics and “the market” matters, nothing else does. Therefore the desires of the business sector are vital and must be attended to, and protected, before anything else.

2) If people would like or need something, or it is socially important, but does not make a profit or interferes with corporate profit, then it is clearly not needed, or not of value. It can be also dismissed as impractical, because the market is the only mark of value and practicality.

3) Regulations which curtail or add work to business to favour the ordinary person are automatically bad. Regulations which control the ordinary person and protect big business are automatically good as they support standard business practice, which is the ultimate good. Unions are bad, business associations (and their ties with politicians) are wonderful.

4) The market can never be free, as regulation is required to protect ‘private property’ and contract, so there is always further to go in favour of reducing restrictions on the corporate sector and tightening its control.

5) Free market liberty allows people to compete on “equal terms” with corporations. Josephine Bloggs and BHP are equal in law and equal in their freedom to spend any amount of money to buy lawyers, politicians and that law. Who is surprised that most people don’t bother to challenge power?

6) Free market talk destroys commons, because commons are not private property owned by anyone, and nobody is responsible for theme. Therefore they must be transferred to the private sector as cheaply as possible to regularise everything. Consequently, the people lose property and power.

7) Government services can be contracted out to the private sector and the costs and benefits can be kept secret through commercial in confidence arrangements, as not having these would interfere with business and the free market.

8) Government services which cannot be privatised become punitive, as people should be using the market, and must be evil if they are not. Services to ordinary people are removed.

9) As profit is the only value, truth becomes that which makes a profit or supports established power, and thus the media has no obligations to anything but the propaganda interests of its corporate owners or their corporate friends.

10) Free market talk suggests Governments should do nothing and everything should be left to the elites with wealth. So we move into plutocracy, which reinforces the process by which everything is governed in favour of corporate elites.

11) Corporations will compete politically and legally if it gives them a competitive edge or subsidy. The more other sources of influence remove themselves from politics, the less likely will it be that corporations will face opposition from anything other than corporate sources. So pro-corporate laws get passed continually.

12) People are told, by almost all public sources, that governments are inefficient and useless and that there is no point them getting involved and trying to take over the State in their own interests rather than the interests of the wealthy.

13) The more people withdraw from participation in politics and the State, the more the governors become isolated from ‘the people’ and the more they depend on corporate money for their campaigning, so the more easily they are bought by the plutocrats.

14) Wealth becomes the primary source, and mark, of power and virtue. Everything else is inferior and to be dismissed, and the free market continues to be promoted above all else.

[It is true that free market people sometimes talk a lot about ‘liberty’, but they only mean the liberty of business to do as it likes. Everyone else has the ‘liberty’ to adapt to government by business.]

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