I wouldn’t blame you if you are a little confused about the title of this article. How can corporatism ever be associated with left leaning policies? Films from Hollywood portray corporate dystopias as a product of Right Wing extremist governments punctuated with this moveon.org ad featuring Olivia Wilde blatantly associating the Republican Party with big corporate interests. Interestingly enough, Ms. Wilde is one of the faces of Revlon and Avon, both huge cosmetic companies. The media regularly pits Corporate Right Wing dystopias in movies like Aliens against the equal and fair utopias of series like Star Trek where Jean-Luc Picard says, “The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.”
I have been called a corporatist on many occasions for my points of view which demonstrates the accuser’s total misunderstanding of what the term corporatist actually means. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines corporatism as the act of organizing society into “corporations” who are then ruled by the state. Corporatism found its heyday in pre-war Italy underneath the despotic rule of the fascist Mussolini. It sounds like corporatism has more to do with political theory rather than big business. However, let’s address the accusation that supporting free-market policies and Right Wing politics lead to a person becoming a shill for the largest corporations.
Have you ever just sat around and thought about what policies would lead to an unhealthily powerful corporate presence? Let me give you a hint, those policies aren’t found in free market Capitalism. Take the recent fast food worker strikes occurring in 100 American cities for instance. What do you suppose the end game would be if their request for a $15.00 minimum wage is granted? The fast food companies would have to charge more for food to compensate for the higher salary; the smaller chains would have to close down due to loss of consumers from the price increases; and only the strongest and largest fast food corporations would survive. This definitely sounds like the beginning to any fictional corporate dystopias we’ve read about or seen in a movie.
In fact, leftist policies all have a tendency to destroy smaller businesses through regulation and government handouts while propping up the big nasty corporations. To help you understand what I mean by leftist policies, I will define the term Left Wing and why it is opposed to the Right Wing. I tend to agree with Biddle (2012) in his article Political “Left” and “Right” Properly Defined that the Right and Left are opposed to each other in the amount of freedom the public is afforded by the government. The far Left wing supports totalitarianism whether the avenue is Communism, Fascism, or Socialism. The far Right is in support of personal liberty and freedom from government. I do disagree with Biddle somewhat in that I think the farthest Right one can go is Anarchy which in its purest definition is the absence of government. This might seem controversial due to popular association of Conservatism with Fascism, but in reality there is not much of a fundamental difference in the despotic rules of Stalin, Hitler, or the Taliban. The only difference lies in motivation. Thus, the religious can be just as left wing as the atheistic if both believe in authoritarian government.
So, using my definition of Right and Left, the leftist policies I am referring to that are destroying small business are the policies which involve strong government intervention. The sad part of all this is that many of the people who push for assistance programs have good intentions but understand little about how the market and the country work. Take farm subsidies for instance. Billions of dollars are pumped into the farming industry every year to assist farmers but the poorest farms receive very little compared to the big corporations who receive most of the funds. This has forced many small farmers out of business. These subsidies are the opposite of how the free market is supposed to work. In a free market, the consumer determines the stability of a company based on supply and demand. Simply put, the question becomes, “Is the company providing the goods that the customer wants to buy?”
The problem presented by farm subsidies sheds light on a problem exhibited by leftists. This problem involves the shaky relationship of reality with the Left. I used to say the same thing everybody seems to state about Socialism, “It looks good on paper, but it is horrible in practice.” However, in recent years, I have come to realize that Socialism does not even look good on paper. Socialism and Communism can never work because the government always needs to rely on someone else’s money to provide security for the public. This reliance will soon become the weakness of the Socialist regime as the people stop compensating for receipt of subsidy with production. We have seen this all throughout Europe with Greece being the prime example. Simply put, in a Leftist society the takers outweigh the producers.
Unfortunately, this simple fact is the exact reason why Socialist ideology will always trump Capitalistic endeavor because humanity is inherently lazy. Socialists like to promote the idea that everyone is equal and promise that the less qualified and lazier people should get the same as those who produce and work hard for their money. Leftists live in a world far from reality where nobody is poor and everyone lives in a utopia where “The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives.” This is a pipe dream. The Capitalist looks at society and sees the reality that there has always been poor and there has always been rich. In the free market, the rich get richer through increasing capital and providing for consumers while making the poor richer by providing jobs and trickling down wealth.