Nader Thinks ‘Corporatism’ Unsafe At Any Speed
onsumer advocate Ralph Nader continued his war against corporate welfare Friday.
“The ruling dogma of our political economy is corporatism,” Nader asserted; and while the philosophy “claims to draw legitimacy from the free market theory that all vendors who do not meet market demands will go under,” in practice it simply “uses this illusion to exert power over all aspects of our political economy.”
This “hypocrisy” reveals itself in a number of ways, from monetary policies that favor banking interests over individual savers to “corporate welfare tax escapes, subsidies, handouts, and bailouts that rig markets against other smaller businesses that are playing by the rules of the market.” (RELATED: Feds Use Fannie, Freddie As Cash Cows To Disguise Deficits)
Nader also claims that, “Corporatism has stripped consumers of freedom of contract with fine-print standard-form contracts that become more dictatorial every decade,” but because “companies don’t compete over the fine print,” there are few, if any, alternatives available to consumers in most cases.
Increasingly, he says, companies are inserting anti-consumer provisions into those contracts, such as allowing vendors to modify contracts at will, imposing hidden penalties and fees, and prohibiting consumers from taking grievances to court.
“Libertarians, to their credit, have noted this abuse by this corporate government more clearly than have many liberals,” Nader says, suggesting that opposition to corporatism can come from across the political spectrum.
Such a left-right alliance is, in fact, what Nader proposes in his latest book, “Unstoppable”, and a theme he has repeatedly emphasized since the book was published in April. (RELATED: Poll: 58 Percent of Americans Want a Third Political Party)
In an interview with Salon, Nader said that the corporatist agenda is to “split the left and the right on the corporate issues,” primarily through lobbying and political contributions, so as not to face organized opposition in their efforts to make America a corporate state.
For example, he pointed out that while “even the Republicans who are the beneficiaries of all the money…diverge from the corporatist agenda” on many issues, their leaders still tend to favor that agenda “because they have ambitions to become a presidential candidate, or they want to rise in the hierarchy of the House and Senate.”
However, what Nader considers “unstoppable” is not the growth of the corporate state, but the eventual rejection of it by a coalition of people from all over the political landscape. “The public opinion is out there,” he said, adding, “It’s just that the links have to be put in place.”
One way for such an alliance to coalesce, he argued, is to “sever the plausibility of the corporatist, which is falsely rooted in conservative doctrine from Adam Smith forward.” (RELATED: Obama’s Corporatist Constitution)
Nader said that corporatists “desperately want to identify with either Republicans or Democrats—what I call hereditary voters,” because their attitudes are shaped “on a higher level of generalization and ideology.”
When the message is brought down to “issues that confront them as human beings,” though, voters from both parties tend to want the same things. “The GM scandal, for example, is not dividing right/left,” he pointed out.
At the national level, Nader said convergence toward an anti-corporatist consensus “will only work if it’s forced onto the table,” at which point the media would have to report it and a national discussion could take place. “The big challenge,” however, is how to get the issue on the table “if the candidates don’t want it on the table.”
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