Monday, October 17, 2005

Does Individualism Protect the Common Man from Powerful Corporations?

Courtesy of G. Edward Griffin himself, a letter from a reader to the author of The Creature From Jekyll Island raises an issue that plagues many:

I have read almost everything on your [Freedom Force] site as well as The Creature from Jekyll Island, and I have come to align myself very strongly with the ideology of individualism. There is one problem, though, that stands out as a major issue. ... Looking back into history, such as the turn of the last century, we see the horrible conditions that workers and other “common” people were in. 16 hour work days, 6 day workweeks, child labor, extremely low pay, and all with the underlying knowledge that if you got hurt or sick and couldn’t work for a short period of time, you were fired, which probably caused instant debt that could never be escaped. People worked until they were too old to enjoy life, then wasted away on either family charity or in a small shack.

There are certainly exceptions, but this dominion by the corporations is very much a parallel of what you are trying to stop from happening due to the collectivist model. Yet, your Creed of Freedom and the message you convey consistently is that unbridled business will solve everything, that any government checking outside of things that are specifically unconstitutional is bad. I understand that, but at the same time, I can’t believe that businesses will be magically charitable and kind. The people who run businesses are, as you know, much the same as the people who run banks. Even if we put a whole new generation of Boards in, they would quickly be corrupted. Small businesses may be generous, and for high-tech and highly skilled jobs, there will be competition and respect. But for the majority of jobs today, and any jobs they can find that are cheaper done by a small army of near-slaves than by current and expensive computers and machines, people will be barely able to live.

My point is, what can we do to stop this that isn’t opening a door to collectivism, or have you even considered this possibility? I am not attempting to attack you, but I see that balance is needed in government between the state and the businesses, else one will dominate the other and the people. I feel this is an important issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, lest we succeed on one front and be defeated from behind.


The beginning of Mr. Griffin's reply:

Anyone who has contemplated the plight of the common man throughout history cannot help but be shocked by the terrible conditions under which they lived. However, as we recoil from these images, we must be careful not to jump to conclusions about looking to government for a solution. If we examine that history carefully, we quickly realize that it often was government in one form or another that was the cause of these conditions. Even the onerous corporations to which you refer were created by government and given privileges and powers that made it possible for them to avoid the rigors of competition. Government also participated in their profits either as shareholders or tax collectors. One must not be lured into thinking that governments and corporations are totally separate. In today's world of collectivism, corporations are extensions of government power – and vice versa – the two merging together into a network of state-sponsored cartels.

You said that dominion by corporations is very much like what we are trying to prevent in the collectivist model. However, this dominion is the collectivist model. That's the point that many people miss entirely. They think that corporate dominion and government dominion are opposed to each other when, in truth, they are dependent on each other. They are one in the same.

Read the rest of Mr. Griffin's reply here.

Comments:
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