Archive for the ‘Social Comment’ Category

Corporate Fascism

“Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” Benito Mussolini


Corporate Fascism, not Capitalism

I read once that the USA is the home of capitalism and that capitalism and democracy is the only really fair system of governance. The sad reality is that the USA today is not the country I looked up to as a child in the 1960s. Of course it has never been the white hat country Hollywood had me believe it to be. The USA has always been all about making money for the rich elite… but name any other country that was or is any different? Some are just more rampant and rabid than others. We’ll discuss democracy later but the truth is the USA isn’t a capitalist country. True capitalism is a level playing field where everyone can, through hard work and luck, make a go of it. Market forces and supply and demand actually mean something and so long as you buy low and sell high you can’t lose.

The reality is this is not how it is. Corporate fascism is the way things are. Big monopolies crowding out the small time competition is the Amurricun way. Just look at Wal-mart, K-Mart, name any major chain you like. We have it in Australia with the duopoly in the supermarket trade. Colesworth don’t want opposition and while they accepted IGA as a necessary evil, if only because they covered regional areas that were uneconomical for their retail model, the invasion of Aldi really got them miffed. How dare they steal a slice of their pie! Time to diversify! It was around the time Aldi arrived that Woolworths entered the petrol station business and petrol prices have never been the same since. Before their entry into the market there was no ‘discount day’. There was no ‘price cycle’. Coles came on board and grabbed their share of the action and ever since we have been paying more for our fuel than we should. But it’s good for the shareholders and that is what corporate fascism is all about. Them, not us. Sure we can buy a few shares with our piddling super or savings but the real portfolios are held by big corporate investors. We, the general public, the working classes, are useful, a little annoying but overall not enough of a nuisance to stop us buying a few shares and thinking we are making money.

One Sided Customer Service

Corporations today pretend the customer is important; but we aren’t. We have value because without us they have no revenue. But don’t let the marketing hype and the press releases fool you. If they could make profit without having to have customers, they would. In fact they do via various ways and means, but that is a blog for another time. We are a necessary evil. Look at the scales and who has the power? Our one and only card we can play is our custom. If we don’t like the way they do business, we can take ours elsewhere. But if there is only one player, that means we have to take it and like it. When there are two players, we switch to the opposition and soon find out they are the same, perhaps even worse. So what then? As soon as a little guy pops up and offers a viable alternative one of three things happen.

First of all they can be forced out of business by the sheer buying power of the big guys who take a loss on some lines but make it up on others. It doesn’t hurt their bottom line but the little guy loses out and goes broke. The second way is they buy him up. Mergers and acquisitions. The third way is they use their leverage and regulate him out of business. They get the governments they have bought and paid for to make laws that are simply too expensive for the little guy to afford to abide by. This happened in the US some years ago when they instituted laws to regulate the online dating scene, specifically the ‘foreign brides’ or ‘mail order bride’ sites. They tacked legislation onto the back of another Bill that was a thousand pages long, pushed it through in the early hours of the morning and made it compulsory for men to disclose their personal details, including any ‘criminal history’ (and in the US they have arrest records so even if found innocent they can say you have been arrested), or else the dating site was penalised. Now, it didn’t apply to the biggest online dating sites, only the little guys!

The big guys have all the power because it is very much a take it or leave it proposition. just today I copped this when I rang the service agent for Euromaid to arrange repairs to our oven. I was told by a recording as I waited to speak to a human that call out fee was $99 and then $22 per ten minutes, plus parts and if I wasn’t there when the service guy arrived it was $45 for wasting his time (my words). I was told I couldn’t be given a specific time, only a period and I wouldn’t be told that until the morning of the scheduled call… by text at 8am. So I wouldn’t know if I had to stay home in the morning or afternoon until 8am. And if the time was for, say, 8am to 10am and I had to get my kids to school for 9am and he lobbed up then; it would be $45 and a new booking! When I mentioned how this was unfair and why couldn’t they tell me now what time slot he would cover I was told that didn’t suit them and I could take it or find another repair agent. I was then told this is how they have been doing it for 25 years so too bad, buddy (my words).

You see my point? It is all about what suits them, not me. Not the customer, the reason they have a business in the first place. Nope. When that gadget goes down, I need them and since lots of gadgets seem to be going down, we need them more than they need us. They are inflexible, unwilling to compromise and if you don’t like it, stiff. How is that ‘customer focused’? This attitude starts at the very top and trickles down through the ranks. This screw you, you are just a working class nobody mindset is prevalent among the rich and the hangers on to their coat tails. The minions and middle management types who aspire to one day be as arrogant and entitled as their bosses.

Will We See Change?

We see this in every aspect of corporate and industrial life; we see it in the public service and government once the salaries hit six figures. There are research papers published that document this entitlement mindset that comes with wealth, privilege and position; whether actual or assumed. The income inequality gap is widening, also.  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and never more so than today. Joe Hockey, the former Treasurer in the Abbott government was a prime example of a rich, privileged gobshite. He led protests against having to pay for his university education in the 80s, yet was all too willing to put the cost of a degree well past the reach of most Australians. He said all you needed to do to buy your first home was ‘get a good job that pays good money‘. As if you had a choice between a well paying one and a job that paid poorly. Talk about out of touch with mainstream Aussies! He now makes $370K a year as our ambassador to the home of corporate fascism and also pockets a whopping politicians’ pension. Meanwhile his wife rakes millions in every year as a banker. We just got rid of that oxygen thief of an Australia Post CEO pocketing $5.4 million of our dollars every year while making us pay more for less postal services. I could go on and on and on but I’d start calling everyone ‘brother’ and ‘comrade’.

Will we see change? I don’t think so. I don’t think enough of us care to do more than vent on Facebook or blog like this. We feel it is pointless to badger our elected officials because they are part of the problem, with a very few exceptions. As George Orwell wrote in his 1936 book, ‘The Road To Wigan Pier’, “Here you come upon the important fact that every revolutionary opinion draws part of its strength from a secret conviction that nothing can be changed.” Has anything changed in the 81 years since he wrote those words? A world war, a cold war, umpteen other wars and nearly two decades of a ‘War on Terror’ that we are assured will go on for decades to come and yet still his words, written on the eve of his departure to the Spanish Civil War, ring true. Let me end with some more of his words from the same book because these are just as true today as they were then.

“This business of petty inconvenience and indignity, of being kept waiting about, of having to do everything at other people’s convenience, is inherent in working-class life. A thousand influences constantly press a working man down into a passive role. He does not act, he is acted upon. He feels himself the slave of mysterious authority and has a firm conviction that ‘they’ will never allow him to do this, that, and the other. Once when I was hop-picking I asked the sweated pickers (they earn something under sixpence an hour) why they did not form a union. I was told immediately that ‘they’ would never allow it. Who were ‘they’? I asked. Nobody seemed to know, but evidently ‘they’ were omnipotent.”

Today, ‘they’ are the corporate fascists, the bankers, the hyper rich, the politicians lining up their consultancy roles for when they finally sicken of the public trough. We outnumber them and we have a voice; social media. We need to use it.


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