The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

What Dave Said

Actually, this is already the primary strategy of a huge part of US industry (telecom, IP, insurance, pharma, among others), but it’s about to get worse:

The Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations to use their vast resources to directly influence the political process shifts the business playing field away from competing in the marketplace with products and services, to purchasing government/legal/reguatory advantages, subsidies and monopolies.

The marketplace is now irrelevant – only company size matters. It is just more efficient to beat your competitors by buying legislation than it is by competing in the marketplace. When you can purchase $1 billion in tax breaks, subsidies, mandates, contracts, whatever by spending a few million on candidates/influence, etc. it just makes more sense to do so. The return on investment is just so much higher than building factories, spending on research, paying employees, and other tedious, time-consuming, capital-intensive work.

For some time companies have recognized that the rewards from lobbying outperform the rewards from competing in the marketplace, and this ruling just amplifies that. This 2006 New York Times article, Google Joins the Lobbying Herd, discussed how Google felt it had “no choice but to get into the arena” to start “spreading its lobbying dollars” around to politicians and quotes Lauren Maddox, a lobbyist for Google, saying the “policy process is an extension of the market battlefield.” This supreme court ruling just clinches this shift away from markets.

This has been part of my fundamental critique of the US economy for years. This is why the US is losing its technological lead in area after area, because innovating is less certain than buying government.

Thing is, foreign companies don’t have this “advantage” so have to compete the old fashioned way.  And they will continue to eat American companies lunch.  As the US gets weaker, and becomes less able to force foreign companies to obey American laws, this strategy will become less and less viable, especially as American citizens will also be losing buying power.

This sort of thing is why I now see the odds of the US turning itself around in the next generation as being miniscule.


The Unvarnished Truth About the US


Looks like a test case to end abortion rights to me


  1. jo6pac

    This sort of thing is why I now see the odds of the US turning itself around in the next generation as being miniscule.

    In the next generation the noose will be tighten not only on smaller companies in the market place but on the Amerikan people. The battle for SS and Med-Care has already started and now with this court decision it will become a fevered pitch to take away the last of the citizens of this nation safety net. To bad I was hoping to collect SS in 2yrs. Oh for those of you that aren’t in the US and think this doesn’t affect you dream on.

  2. From the book I’d finish, if I could ever find a publisher:

    “[T]he human need for security and the illusion of certainty tends to encourage the leaders of businesses to collude to set prices, carve up markets, and combine forces by merging their companies. Totally unfettered, the end result of capitalism would be one big company that made and sold everything everywhere, and that kept competitive businesses from existing–by force, if necessary. If you were to want something not made by this master conglomerate, named something like MicroMax, perhaps, you would not be able to get it.”

    Carolyn Kay

  3. tjfxh

    “The marketplace is now irrelevant – only company size matters.”

    This has been true for a long time. It’s the economics of scale, and it is why “free market” or laissez-faire capitalism tends toward oligopoly and monopoly. Deregulation facilitated this, and the SCOTUS decision will not only amplify it but also make it virtually impossible to harness without a constitutional amendment. We already saw how the financial interests were able to gut New Deal regulation and industry has been able to avoid anti-trust and bust the labor unions. with the new rules, the playing field will over time be increasing tipped toward size, and all the money will flow in that direction “by hook or by crook.”

  4. marku

    Wow, it was already catastrophic, and I hadn’t even thought about that. Greenwald is a raving optimist.

    Yup, why compete, when you can just buy.

  5. someofparts

    So what about what I’ve heard from Obama and Bernie Sanders? Is there anything they could do? If there is, do you think they will?

  6. Of course there’s something Obama can do. He can ratify the Bush administration’s decision to save the banksters whipping for TARP, and put us on the hook for $22 trillion with no transparency and no accountability. In fact, Obama did that in October 2008.

  7. Tim McGovern

    I guess as a follow up to the last post, then where’s this damn Green Revolution (and the jobs) happen?

  8. jo6pac

    Carolyn Kay and tjfxh
    I agree with both of you and not to make light of the subject but Jim Henson covered this in his 90s creation Dinosaurs with the WESAYSOCOMPANY.

  9. Chris V

    “Thing is, foreign companies don’t have this “advantage” so have to compete the old fashioned way.”

    Actually, there’s nothing stopping foreign companies from entering the US market and doing the same thing. In fact, many current companies doing this are former US companies who have officially transferred their corporate domicile overseas to reduce their taxes.

  10. Obama's problem

    Stirling Newberry: The problem with Obama isn’t absence of experience, it isn’t his personal style. It is only partially his egotism and surliness to his opponents. Instead it is his absolutely catastrophic diagnosis of what is wrong with the world. Every statesman, good or bad, has a theory about the world. A theory about what makes the world work, and what makes the world fall apart when it is not in place. Barak Obama has the world view that if all the little children play together in the sandbox, then everything will be fine, and if the don’t it will be not fine. This isn’t the world view of a successful president. On the contrary, it is the world view of someone morosely eager for affection, and, at the same time, addicted to control and a political life of ease.

  11. If you think this is bad, wait until Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address sinks in a bit.

  12. word or words missing

    Thing is, foreign companies don’t have this “advantage” so [ ] have to compete the old fashioned way.

    word or words missing ???

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén