An outstanding article by Joel Kotkin at The Claremont Institute is a must-read. It’s long but it consolidates and clarifies exactly what is going on in our society. From the article, we can see how government, large corporate powers, dependency on China, the Great Reset, and our cultural revolution all collude to destroy the lower and middle classes.
It’s long and deep so we summarized it here, but we hope you read it. A lot is left out in this summary.
The Merging of the Soulless and the Greedy
There is a new communism in town. It is the convergence of the Chinese Maoist ideology and the Corporate mentality. China has adopted a communist version of capitalism and the United States, in fact, the entire resetting Western World, is adopting capitalism with a more tyrannical, authoritative mission. The two worlds of China and America are converging.
Joel Kotkin, writing for the Claremont Institute, sees it as a “new alliance between large corporate powers, Wall Street, and the progressive clerisy (nonprofits, cowed media, and their academic mentors) in government and media.”
The corporations embrace “stakeholder” capitalism to please regulators, the woke employees, to make themselves feel good. They resemble fascist states. You can accumulate capital but you are not permitted to dissent.
Western complicity differs from fascism or socialist corporate standards in that it sees no advantages in increasing material consumption of the populace but sees value in giving advantages to racial or lifestyle minorities.
China and America Becoming One
The concentration of power in Chinese and American corporatism is in few hands. It’s true antecedents are not in Marxism but in European fascism. (In other words, the feudal state.) Mussolini used corporate power since it is essential to the ideology of fascism. When he succeeded, some Italian industrialists were glad to see the end of class-based chaos. [They had the structure they craved and they certainly have shown they care nothing about our rights or the Constitution in general].
Their autonomy of private interests parallels today’s “stakeholder” capitalism and the environmental “Great Reset.”
“As in the fascist state, corporations now take it on themselves to be conscious change agents for particular political and moral agendas. Two doctrines guide these actions. First, “stakeholder capitalism,” which holds that corporations must push onto society doctrines concerning gender, “systemic racism,” and other elements of the woke agenda. Second, the “Great Reset,” which seeks to have companies essentially “save” the planet by slowing material growth for the working and middle classes while maintaining rich profit opportunities through “disruption” of energy and other industries. Both doctrines currently guide the majority of America’s major corporations.”
China already followed this model and we are right behind them. It allows monopolies to flourish.
“Chinese authorities see that “a conflictual-competitive system,” like that usually dominant in America, “will hold back national economic priorities and damage the social fabric.” Under the rubric of “Corporate Social Responsibility,” the state still holds the command keys, and, although entrepreneurs are allowed to get rich, they cannot deviate much from the state orthodoxy.”
[We keep hearing ‘Democrats’ say we have to end the meritocracy and competition. This is why. It’s not because they think it’s unfair. They want power.]
The CCP does not allow corporations to set their own agenda. [U.S. companies in China must kowtow to the CCP agenda and do.]
Democrats Play the Role of Xi Jinping
The Democrat Party plays the role of Xi Jinping in the United States. They pretend it’s like FDR’s New Deal but the New Deal was trying to expand ownership and productivity, not constrict the populace and depress the standards of living.
The USA has been on the path toward corporate-government autocracy for years — since the late 1990s. It’s notable in finance, technology, and media. A tenth of the US economy is comprised of industries with only four firms dominating more than two-thirds of the market.
In finance, for example, local banks are disappearing. From 1983 to 2018, the number of banks fell from 11,000 to almost 4,000. [Remember when Obama passed rules to kill off small banks while claiming he was doing the opposite?]
Technology and social media is even more concerning. It’s an oligarchy only meant to help a handful of investors and top execs.
COV accelerated the process.
“Today, a handful of giant corporations account for nearly 40 percent of the value of the Standard and Poor Index, a level of concentration unprecedented in modern history. The leftist blog The Bellows notes that last year Amazon tripled its profits and Jeff Bezos made $70 billion while billionaires had earned over $1 trillion since March. Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft now make up 20 percent of the stock market’s total worth. Overall, in 2020, the top seven tech firms added $3.4 trillion in value.”
And they love it. These corporations now look for ways to take over key markets and make more money.
Progressives Embrace Corporatism
These recent trends mark a significant break in the American tradition of individualist, competitive capitalism. America’s companies were once dominated by small family-owned and regional companies. No longer.
Progressives used to want corporate power limited. Now they embrace bigness and power.
Monopolistic power and bailouts allow corporations to operate with virtual impunity. Instead of a competitive economy, we see Aldous Huxley’s “scientific caste system,” where the highly credentialed and technologically dominant have almost total reign.
“Tech oligarchs, notes the French socialist economist Thomas Piketty, see themselves not merely as business people but as exemplars whose success serves to “destroy artificial inequalities” while “highlighting natural inequalities.” The new aristocracy regards itself as intrinsically more deserving of their wealth and power than the old managerial elites or the grubby corporate speculators. They believe that they are not just creating value but building a better world. These are not just the rich and well-placed but also the elect.”
“The current Democratic Party may represent the apotheosis of the new corporate state. It raises record sums from the corporate elite—notably, the tech oligarchs and their Wall Street allies.
“Among financial firms, communications companies, and lawyers, Biden outraised Trump by five to one or more. Equally important, the tech giants actively helped direct Biden’s presidential campaign,providing digital savvy, with Mark Zuckerberg himself financing election day operations in many critical states.
“Time magazine’s approving exposé of the corporate elites’ scheme to unseat President Trump noted that an “informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans” had succeeded in influencing election results through both cash donations to Democrats and manipulation of media for political ends.”
“The oligarchs often couched their support in progressive and even patriotic rhetoric that also served their economic interests.”
They turned back real progressives like Sanders and Warren.
The massive lobbying operation backs them up. They have even “found allies among some right-wing libertarians, including the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, which doggedly justify censorship and oligopoly on private property grounds. Little attention is paid to this growing concentration of market power.”
“The Biden-led Democratic Party promises a fresh springtime for oligarchs. The prominence of corporate lobbyists in the new administration all but assures that Biden, like Barack Obama, will wink and nod as Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google acquire or crush competitors, and function increasingly beyond constitutional limits of censorship to control and limit political debate.”
Biden’s regime will encapsulate China-like harmony.
The Rise of Stakeholder Capitalism
The corporate elites now see themselves as “conscious and empowered shapers of social reality” so they push “stakeholder” capitalism.
“This shift mirrors their Chinese counterparts: many corporations now see themselves as instruments of political and cultural conditioning well beyond serving customers and shareholders. Chinese social media have worked overtime to assure the world that the pandemic was not generated in China while spreading the falsehood that instead America is to blame. Rather than seeing COVID-19 as a failure of Chinese society, they are using it as proof that Beijing has developed the ultimate new policy role model for addressing it.”
[It has made some, the top 15%, very rich so they love it.]
“In America and the West, “stakeholder” capitalism increasingly resembles not the current Chinese model but something more akin to China during the Cultural Revolution a half-century ago, with the rise of a “virtuocracy” based on revolutionary purity, class, and even ethnic background.”
Anyone who doesn’t toe the line could be canceled. Wokeness, toxic masculinity, anti-racism racism, are all cudgels used and embraced by corporations.
The universities, especially the elite ones, have been taken over with the “hyper-liberalism,” cancel culture, and a kind of “corporate vigilantism.”
One observer notes that it also allows the wealthiest people on the planet “the benefit of sounding progressive, inclusive and egalitarian while obscuring the class interests of those pushing it.” Some tech companies are even afraid of their own employees.
Charitable foundations also push the agenda.
The Great Reset
“In 1972, the sociologist Daniel Bell predicted a shift in elite attitudes as companies turned from making things to essentially selling ideas. He also identified the change in the nature of corporate ownership, which was moving from families to ever-larger financial institutions. These things, he noted, changed “the cultural value system.” The new capitalist ideal was more “sensate,” more bohemian than traditionally bourgeois, less shaped by the Protestant ethic, family, local community, and religion. Increasingly, he predicted, the corporate class would function free of any such “moral grounding” and instead seek “status and its badges, not work”; these, he suggested, would emerge as “the mark of success.””
[It means one can’t just preen and posture, one must be thought of as virtuous by accepting the new [amoral] progressive morality.]
“Seizing on the opportunity presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Great Reset,” introduced by the World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab, proposes that large corporations reject their traditional goals and market capitalism in favor of serving racial and gender “equity” or saving the planet. The “Great Reset” advocates the reevaluation of the principles of democracy, particularly if they are perceived as not meeting the values embraced in the “reset.” Eric Heymann, a senior executive at Deutsche Bank, suggests that to reach the climate goals of Davos, corporations will have to embrace “a certain degree of eco-dictatorship.” Corporations must explicitly embrace top-down authoritarianism.”
No more competition, individual rights, and merit. People like Bill Gates say science and math are racist for focusing on grades and performance. Schools are picking up on the message. No longer do they look for the best. They embrace the new standards for hiring which are no standards really except those that are WOKE!
The irony is they see no conflict in supporting China despite its racist human rights abuses.
The Class Politics of Scarcity
“In the world being proposed by advocates of the “Great Reset,” particularly its environmental policy, the clear losers are the middle and working classes, many of whom are increasingly alienated from the agenda of the corporate state.”
[They’re fine with small businesses folding under the pandemic.]
The new corporate agenda increasingly embraces the idea of “degrowth,” a conscious slowing of economic growth at a time of increased class stagnation, by embracing the notion of austerity for the masses. Environmental extremists love it.
“It seems odd that companies would embrace slower growth, but this view is based on the notion that without massive shifts in how people consume, the planet will become uninhabitable. There’s also an element of political pressure as firms face the possibilities of protests, lawsuits, and even jail time if identified as “climate criminals.” These views have gained support in the UN and also among parts of the Democratic Party ”
The apocalyptic predictions are wrong but the Left embraces them. They do offer new opportunities for corporations with solar and electric – it’s the “climate industrial complex.” It helps the rich, kills off the middle class.
“Degrowth” will hold little opportunity for the mass of people, instead only leading to the sullen acceptance of what Fritz Varhenholt, a long-time environmental advocate in the German Social Democratic Party, calls “deindustrialization and loss of prosperity.”
“The reality of this grim future is already evident in places like California, where the climate change agenda has achieved near-religious status and has produced policies that slow growth on the periphery, the one place where middle-class families could afford homes, dropping homeownership rates there for younger people far more than elsewhere—something we also see in such climate-centered environments as Canada and Australia. In Britain, the government’s Climate Change Committee is now considering legislation that will make it impossible to sell single-family homes—including those built decades ago—that do not meet stringent energy standards.”
Prospects are worse for the poor. They will suffer “energy poverty.”
“Efforts to sell the new corporate order will likely run into widespread and growing skepticism toward both mainstream and social media. Success thus requires adopting the surveillance- and algorithmic-based propaganda now common in China. America’s tech firms already assist China in deploying such technologies and they could employ them here, albeit without government control.”
They have to “redirect people’s minds.”
“Jerry Brown, the former governor of California, openly favors applying “the coercive power of the state” to achieve environmental goals while promoting the “brainwashing” of the uncomprehending masses, a concept very much congruent with the logic behind Chinese thought control. Remarkably, even prominent journalists at the New York Times and other mainstream outlets advocate ramping up further censorship, increasingly with widespread congressional support. These views may well reflect the shift in journalistic ethics, which have increasingly rejected standards of objectivity or even the need to give readers alternative views, although censoring or demonetizing competitors may also bring some financial rewards as well.”
Tech firms are already there.
More and more companies like Facebook and Google seek to eliminate view that violate their worldview. They are called to do it by the ever-growing numbers of “prominent liberal legal scholars” and their role model is Chinese repression. It’s even used against allies when they stray in the smallest ways.
“As Matt Tabibi has noted in the case of Hunter Biden’s incriminating computer, major outlets like NPR simply refused to cover the story while Twitter and Facebook succeeded in deplatforming the New York Post, America’s oldest newspaper. Twitter and Facebook felt empowered to curb President Trump and his administration for its numerous inaccuracies but never censored often equally absurd anti-Trump conspiracies.
“In a remarkable act of corporate coordination, the oligarchic firms demonetized, and removed from the cloud, the Parler website, which was accused of sparking violence, although other sites, including Facebook and Twitter, played a bigger role in helping the Capitol Hill lunatics to organize.Concern over such bans is shared by those like the German chancellor Angela Merkel and the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who have lived under autocratic regimes.”
“China has already shown how technology can monitor personal posts and opinions that stray from orthodoxy, often with the help of American companies.Ultimately, a handful of firms in the Bay Area and the Puget Sound could employ techniques of information control and surveillance that would have delighted Stalin, Hitler, or Mao. As Aldous Huxley warned, “A thoroughly scientific dictatorship will never be overthrown.””
The Great Divergence: National versus Global
China is nationalistic. They don’t embrace ideas that conflict with their national prosperity. On the other hand, the American corporate state does not welcome “national interest” or “liberal democracy,” but rather a “common future in cyberspace” with autocratic China.
Both Michael Bloomberg and Tim Cook have said Xi is not a dictator.
Contradictions: The Corporate State and the Socialist Left
“The increasingly obvious abandonment of the nation by its elite could pose an existential threat to the durability of the corporate state. Certainly, more radical elements, including Black Lives Matter, who receive large funding from the oligarchs, may not long be satisfied with virtue signaling by corporate chieftains. Indeed, without the unifying menace of Trump, as Christopher Caldwell noted in the New Republic, the “national front” forged by Biden—which includes near unanimous support from the corporate state—could unravel. Driven by ideology, the progressive movement could morph in directions that resemble those of the Jacobins of the French Revolution, with their disdain for “the privacy of individual citizens” as well as their desire to remove heads, or the Red Guards unleashed during the Cultural Revolution in China, who were initially embraced even by “moderate” leaders like Deng in the late 1960s.”
Corporate oligarchs are at odds with some of the ideology and the greenies or the AOC’s, who don’t think there are good billionaires — they will get sick of the oligarchs. The corporate oligarchs could find they have virtue-signaled their way into a confiscatory system of socialism.
Contradictions Over Class and Culture
“At the same time, the corporate state faces a grassroots challenge, usually associated today with the Right. The attempts to curb companies in the fossil fuel, real estate, aviation, and automobile sectors for climate reasons may not appeal much to oil riggers, factory employees, or construction workers who drive old trucks. These workers also will find out that most Green jobs turn out to be mainly ephemeral, essentially positions that are already present and, where they actually exist, pay far lower salaries, are usually shorter-term, and are far less likely to be unionized, particularly as compared to the roughly 750,000 high-paying jobs in the fossil fuel sector.”
“Not surprisingly, rapid decarbonization has elicited opposition not only from conservatives but from unions—and not only in energy but also in manufacturing, construction, and logistics.”
Some Democrats see their constituencies being abandoned.
“Other parts of the elite agenda—for example, the notion of forcibly densifying suburbs and restricting single-family zoning—are also not likely to play well with the general public. Homeownership, the primary way middle- and working-class people achieve wealth, is often decried by progressives, while many on Wall Street look forward to a fully “rentership” society. Oligarchs, living in unimaginable splendor, may want the plebs to live in rented, small apartments in their “degrowth” universe, but this is not likely to be a popular stance.”
[Sounds great, huh?]
Cultural radicalism is not embraced by America. They will get pushback. Only 8% of the population embrace political correctness.
New Alliances, a New Resistance
For now, “our constitution provides some room for action. Strong actions to break up or at least restrain the acquisitions of the largest firms—notably, in tech and finance—are a viable response. Breaking up these firms, or turning them essentially into regulated utilities, also makes sense. Certainly, other actions to guarantee free speech rights and to preserve some degree of local autonomy have appeal across the political spectrum.”
There is opportunity here. Conservatives could find some common cause with socialists in rebelling against limiting power to a few.
The middle class and working class must engage. “The Main Street merchant, the small bank, and the independent artisan need to unite against the overweening power and self-confidence of the corporate state.”
“We have not yet reached Huxley’s Brave New World or even China’s high-tech police state, though we are headed in that direction. Our classes are not yet fully shaped by the whims of cadres or determined in birthing vats. The sinews of civic culture to some degree remain—churches, independent journals, local associations, small businesses—that can flex against the imposition of a “scientific dictatorship.” But the battle against the corporate state can only succeed if citizens put aside their political blinders and understand that the consolidation of political and economic power represents a fundamental challenge to maintaining a functional, as opposed to a merely nominal, democracy. This is neither a right- nor a left-wing issue but an imperative if we wish to preserve our Republic before it is too late.”