FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How "Your" Government Works

by KEVIN CARSON

The Obama administration has announced the formation of a panel of “outside experts” to review the NSA’s surveillance practices. And a wide-ranging, diverse collection of experts they are; when it comes to institutional backgrounds and viewpoints, they span the entire spectrum from A to B. They remind me a bit of the space shuttle crew in an episode of The Simpsons: “They’re a colorful bunch …  There’s a mathematician, a different kind of mathematician, and a statistician.”

Richard Clarke, who served on the National Security Council under two Bushes and a Clinton, was the counter-terrorism tsar for three administrations. Michael Morell is a former CIA director who was at Obama’s side during the kill of bin Laden and probably heavily involved in the whole “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” operation of “unofficial” leaks to the Zero Dark Thirty propaganda operation. Cass Sunstein, former White House information tsar under Obama, in 2010 authored a paper explicitly endorsing “cognitive infiltration” by the government — i.e., government secretly enlisting the help of “respected outside experts” posing as independent commenters to debunk “conspiracy theories” critical of government policy on social media. You know, like those boiler rooms the Mossad runs full of people pretending to be independent college students defending the Israeli apartheid state against social media critics.

This bunch of clowns bears an amazing resemblance to the “outside experts” running other aspects of government policy. You know how the U.S. government brags about all the “stakeholders seated around the table” when it drafts new laws or treaties on “intellectual property?” Oddly enough, there aren’t many from the Electronic Frontier Foundation or Creative Commons. But you bet your booty the RIAA, MPAA and Microsoft will be represented extremely well.

Pretty much every pick for U.S. Treasurer is a former CEO of Goldman-Sachs or Citigroup. Obama’s favorite for Federal Reserve chairman is Larry Summers, the ultimate insider’s insider from America’s quasi-public, quasi-private network of finance capitalist institutions.

Likewise, if you look through the assorted Assistant and Deputy and Assistant Deputy Secretaries at the USDA, you’ll find a gaggle of former Vice Presidents and Directors from Monsanto, Cargill and ADM. The second-tier political appointees at the FDA will generally be there as a change of pace between stints in the C-Suites of Merck and Pfizer. Basically the entire military procurement policy apparatus is an alliance of military (ahem, “Defense”) contractors and Pentagon procurement officers, rigging tests and getting their lies straight so Congress will rubber-stamp their new weapons systems.

If you think all this insider involvement in policy represents “regulatory capture,” or the corruption of an originally pristine system by campaign money and lobbyists, you’re missing the point. It’s their ability to use the state as a tool for extracting rents from society that makes these people insiders in the first place. Most of the profits they get in the “marketplace” [sic, sic, SICK] result either from rents on artificial scarcity enforced by the state, or from direct government subsidies to their operating costs. Protecting the profits of “insiders” is what governments do. If it weren’t for state subsidies and state-enforced entry barriers, artificial property rights, artificial scarcities and regulatory cartels, there wouldn’t be a Goldman Sachs or a Citigroup. There wouldn’t be an ADM, Cargill or Monsanto. There wouldn’t be a Merck or Pfizer, a Disney or Microsoft.

The government exists, since the beginning of the first states, to serve landlords, capitalists, usurers, bureaucrats and assorted other rentiers — not to serve us. The state, by its very nature, is executive committee of an economic ruling class. Trying to “reform” government through outsider review is like trying to reform the Mafia.

Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory.

Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory. He is a mutualist and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available online. 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 27, 2017
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail