July 10, 2004

Corporations and the Alternative

A recent Tech Central Station column focuses on an upcoming attack on the institution of the corporation. Michael Moore figures heavily in a new movie called "The Corporation" and it doesn't take a genius to figure out he's against them. The one thing that leftists don't have the courage to spell out nowadays is to explicitly spell out what the alternative would be to the institutions they are critiquing. In the case of the corporation, the general alternative is to do such things via government action. But the problem with that is that governments are even less accountable than corporations.

Not only does government not provide the economic progress, the rising standard of living that capitalism provides, it also, in the real world, is just as fallible and prone to killing off people as corporations are. In fact, government economic enterprises are worse because sovereign immunity means that one of the major feedback loops that we use to fix corporations (the lawsuit) is largely unavailable when a government is the institution that does us wrong.

If a corporation becomes a negative force, you can bring a lawsuit, indict and jail executives, or just buy out the thing and kill it. These are all remedies that are either weaker against government or absent altogether.

The problem with Dominic Basulto's article isn't that he's got anything wrong on the indictment of the movie he's attacking. It's that he somehow assumes that this is a political question. It no longer is. The general inferiority of government solutions is a text that has been written in the blood of the tens of millions who died under government heavy solutions of the last century. Everybody should be taught how they died, why they died, why these societies failed in such a bloody way.

The economic educational system in the west is a huge scandal. Its something that needs to be fixed, and soon. Otherwise, snake oil salesmen will continue to do good box office numbers peddling poison.

Posted by TMLutas at July 10, 2004 10:24 PM