Noted author Alan Moore observed: “The one thing with writing stories about the rise of fascism is that if you wait long enough, you’ll almost certainly be proved right. Fascism is like a hydra — you can cut off its head in the Germany of the ’30s and ’40s, but it’ll still turn up on your back doorstep in a slightly altered guise.”
Lenin took his shot as well: “Fascism is capitalism in decay.”
What does all this have to do with where we are today?
Well, it’s a simple way to show that history may not repeat itself exactly, but variations on a theme happen all the time. Fascism may end with a dictatorship, but along its way the government colludes with corporations to form the state. In Germany, Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW made the vehicles for its war machine. Hugo Boss designed the Nazi uniforms.
The point is, the state saw the advantage of building an autocratic society where the commercial engine of the economy was integrated with the political goals; one where individuals were beholden to the state, and that state included corporations.
As Moore notes, while the German and Italian fascism of the 1930s and 40s is gone, it looks like there is a new form of fascism dawning.
It’s the corporate state. And the perfect example is Ireland.
Ireland has been a tax haven for many years, having one of the lowest corporate tax rates of any developed country. The average corporate tax is around 15 percent.
For a small European country with a very homogeneous population, billions in revenue from these companies has been an underpinning of the economy.
Now we come to find out that Ireland cut a very special deal for Apple whereby Apple only paid 0.005 percent tax through a carefully-crafted accounting dodge that the Irish government condoned. It drew so much ire from the European Union that they investigated and sued Apple for $18 billion in back taxes. That’s the entire annual budget for Ireland’s healthcare system.
The crazy thing is, the Irish government is on Apple’s side, at least in public. Both are appealing the decision.
I don’t have a problem with businesses saving money, especially taxes, when they can, but there is a limit to this. If a multi-billion dollar corporation can pay less taxes than a secretary in the company, there is something wrong.
What we’re seeing in Ireland right now is that many of the companies there for the tax advantages are wondering where their ultra-low tax deal is. And some are threatening to leave and take their jobs with them.
Add to this the trouble that’s brewing in the Irish housing market and the state is increasingly not running the show. The corporations now fund the nation and have built a powerful economic engine. Irish politicians are beholden to these companies.
We are seeing the birth of the corporate state, when companies are more powerful than the citizenry. When the greater good is for corporate interests rather than national or individual interests.
Some might easily argue that this has been going on for decades and became somewhat visible in the too-big-to-fail financial crisis. Maybe that’s so, but this is the clearest example of corporations not even caring to hide their interests. Apple already told the EU and the Irish that if they make them pay, Apple will cut its workforce in Ireland.
Individuals pay the price for corporate advantage, and corporations want to take full advantage. They are all-in on Obama’s Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and others like it that you may have never heard of (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Act (TiSA) are others), plus the “Investor State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) court that would let multinational corporations undermine U.S. sovereignty by allowing them to sue the U.S. itself for damages.
“These [trade] agreements are basically corporate ownership agreements. The funny thing about ‘free trade’ agreements as we understand them is they often have nothing to do with trade in a sense of the mutual lowering of tariffs. What they are about is enshrining an investor-rights regime in the respective countries and ensuring the corporations can run wild in their respective economies with very little regulation or impingement by government or authorities.” — Matt Kennard, Centre for Investigative Journalism
Just as we see in Ireland.
And what will happen in the U.S.? You think Obamacare is bad? This is Obamatrade. No congressional oversight, no input, and no revisions if they give Obama his fast-track authority by passing TPA, giving corporations a “fast track” to surpassing governments in authority.
That is why I advise you avoid investing in ‘modern’ companies that offshore their assets, and stick with the companies that are as transparent as possible, that you know what they do, and that have been around for a very long time, making products that people buy every week. Keep it simple.
Also, buy precious metals like silver and gold. These are stores of value that will rise in value as the current unstable market corrects.
We’re getting close to the end of this bizarre cycle and the end is going to very jarring for those who aren’t ready. You should have long ago been aware of the need for investment and wealth preparedness. If the government is preparing, you should too. In case you still need one, follow this link for a complete guide.
— GS Early