It's too often said the politics makes for strange bedfellows but what is left out is the question of who is on the top which is really the most important factor(s).
It's a seemingly strange thing how such groups as corporations, big government politicians and apparatchiks, NGOs and sundry activists can appear to advocate for their own unique and different interests, sometimes opposing each other and yet at the same time, mostly will cooperate with each other. It's a phenomena that causes some to focus on only the differences and to then resort to the most crude, reductionist caricatures to make their cherry-picked facts fit their single magic bullet theory such as big anything bad and it's all about money. To some extent these can be factors but when dealing with large groups, reasons can be more varied and nuanced between the groups and even individuals within groups. Deconstruction can be a useful tool for understanding complex systems but the difficult part is to reduce motivations and reasons to their most basic components and understanding how they interact with each other without becoming too reductionist. Many people seem most comfortable with simple, single bullet explanations and are too intellectually lazy to look deeper.
The best explanation for mutual cooperation between largely unrelated groups is the Pareto Optimum from game theory. It can be thought of as a group of cars driving together on a highway where each driver has their own reason for driving and their own destination but it is in the best interests of most drivers to cooperate by following the rules of the road in order to arrive at their destination. There will be some drivers who will speed faster than the others, cut each other off, or get into an accident with another car but for the most part, the majority can be sure of reaching their destination. If too many drivers refuse to follow the rules, the result is known to be a large multi-car accident that blocks the highway and nobody will be able to get where they're going.
We human beings, imperfect as we may be, are moral actors capable of acting in our own best self interests whether rational or not and for either material or transcendent goals. So to some extent, cooperating with others with whom ones disagrees or even hates, at least for the present, if it advances their own goals and is therefore in their best interests. We may not always be rational but on average, we're not completely stupid.
So it would not be unexpected to see chemical companies support nominally luddite and anti-capitalist environmentalists in combating the so-called "ozone hole" as they would profit by patenting new refrigerants that don't last as long as the old freon, whose patent had expired, and need to be replaced more often. It wouldn't be difficult to understand why large corporations would support the ever growing list of EPA regulations and more stringent requirements to count a few hundred molecules per cubic centimeter of air as navigating all the regulations and compliance costs prevent upstart competitors from entering the business field. And to make large donations to politicians of both parties to buy the favor of allowing corporate lobbyists write legislation to their own benefit.
It must be remembered that corporations, no matter how large, may have influence but lacking an army or the law enforcement power to compel a citizen to obey the corporation's diktats, the corporation can not have real power. That is strictly reserved for government which commands a military, courts and law enforcement. Power to take a citizen's freedom, possessions or even his life for breaking the laws set forth by government. As Chairman Mao rightly said "power flows from the barrel of a gun" so the man with the gun, who can kill the man with the gold and simply take it all for himself unless the man with the gold offers to share it, is invariably in charge of the situation. Those who wield power will also jealously guard that power and not let it slip into the hands of those who are subordinate to their power.
Therefore the relationship between managerial corporations and the managerial state is more one of the vassal to his liege lord. The vassal pays tribute and swears obedience to his liege and in return the vassal is permitted, within limits, a free hand within his fiefdom. So with these bedfellows, it is clear who is on top.
In return for their fealty, the large corporations seem fine with being used by their managerial government overlords as the sockpuppet villains, used to deplatform and censor dissidents to the government's globalist schemes and to take the flak from the dupes of both the left and the right for it. The protection from competition, the privileges and profits they receive, the too big to fail bailouts for playing along make it well worth it. And as the system of government becomes more authoritarian verging into totalitarianism, corporate expressions of support for government policies will become more ostentatious and unctuous.
This is in contrast to the idea that corporations and billionaires are in fact the puppet masters of the government which is a favorite trope among libertarians and libertarian apostates who refer to themselves as the alt-right or dissident right. Libertarians, their apostates and heretics are unable to get past the notion that 'money makes the world go 'round' as they believe that all the fabulous wealth and bling simply bedazzles the people of the government power structure and magically compels obedience. What they observe as rich people, the elite, exercising privileges not enjoyed by the plebeian masses are privileges the elite have paid to have, not given from a fawning ruling class who stand in open mouthed awe of their wealth.
This misunderstanding is due to first, they ignore or are blithely unaware of the fact that most power in government resides in the unelected bureaucracy as it is these managers who create laws and regulations and who actually operate government on a day-to-day basis. Tenured bureaucrats can find any number of ways to disobey the directives of the elected executive or legislative oversight with little fear of being fired. Corporate donations mean nothing to a bureaucrat who does not need it to keep his job.
Secondly, it is an obstinate refusal or failure to recognize the difference between models of power and models of influence. One can always refuse the requests or proposals of another who can only wield influence with money, goods or services as the lure. However, one cannot refuse the command of another who wields the power to forcibly take one's property, freedom or life by any means legal or illegal. Just as it is a failure of libertarians to understand the hierarchy of which the climate and environment of the country shapes the people which forms their culture. Then downstream of culture is formed their government and political system which in turn forms their economic system. The private business components formed within the economic system are therefore is no more capable of changing the the political system than it is in changing the physical nature or culture of the people who created it. The cart can never drive the horse.
However, to return to the topic at hand, it's to be expected that all large corporations would enthusiastically support the latest catastrophe du jour, global warming/climate change. It would not only usher in more new competition killing EPA regulations that might even knock off existent competitor corporations in the bargain. As well it would offer more crony capitalist grifter and middleman businesses opportunities to sell, by government mandate, more unneeded goods and services that are alleged to save the world from the weather. This also explains the recent "woke" capital mania as the vassal tries to emulate his lord's whims in social engineering and social justice to curry favor with his liege. It should also be added that ever image conscious corporations whose upper management tend to be as socially and culturally isolated from the average American as the political establishment. So the corporate heads might come to believe that progressivism is as popular with the majority of Americans as the mainstream media tells them. After all, the people voted Barack Obama president twice, didn't they? Going SJW "woke" would make for a kinder, gentler, corporate image and make the American people like them, wouldn't it?
However, following the progressive path of "woke" capital means not only talking the talk but walking the walk. So as corporations are obliged to create progressive positions within their company like expanded definition human resources, diversity coordinators, sensitivity trainers, etc., positions that cost the business money without adding any value to goods and services or improved productivity. To this end, they hire progressive leftist social justice warriors to occupy these positions as only such people would be interested in these tasks. What the corporate heads either failed to understand or whose new age CEO's would think is cool is that the SJW's they hired would in turn hire many more SJW's until the business that the corporation is engaged in would turn away from that business' function of providing goods and services people want or need and concentrate on social justice issues. The result is eventually a business that loses money. Marvel Comics, the latest Star Trek series and the Star Wars franchise are examples of this. The only businesses that can survive this SJW convergence are crony capitalist ventures with guaranteed government support, a multi-billionaire patron willing to throw good money after bad, the stock market with quantitative easing or as previously mentioned those which are deemed by government as "too big to fail". In effect, practically any large corporation, bank or brokerage.
It may be good to be the king but it certainly pays well to be the king's loyal lap dog.
Friday, November 1, 2019
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