Our State-Corporate Plantation Economy

The core feature of this Plantation Economy is the privileges of accumulating capital are all in the hands of the state-cartel elites. The foundation of classical capitalism is the accumulation of capital, which in our era is not just cash, factories, mines, etc.--financial and industrial capital--but knowledge capital: intellectual property, knowledge of processes, creation and control of content, research and development, control of information streams (that is, maintaining information asymmetry) and so on.

Those with unlimited access to low-cost credit can buy up or control all productive capital, including the labor of knowledge-based workers.

When an economy is optimized for global corporations, the only possible result of this arrangement is a Plantation Economy. Our economy is optimized for corporations: they have access to unlimited low-cost credit, their capital can be shifted around the globe at a moment's notice (i.e. it is mobile), they have the tax advantages of incorporation and complex tax codes, they can declare bankruptcy without any limitations and wipe out their debts, they can engage in fraud, corruption and embezzlement and face no consequence other than a modest fine, they can suppress competition and their size enables dominance of the labor market.

Imagine if all these immense advantages were granted solely to worker-owned collectives and co-ops, and corporations were de-optimized, that is, they no longer had access to credit, their employees and managers could be jailed for systemic fraud and embezzlement, they paid high fees for merely existing and they were denied the ability to buy political influence as easily as an employee buys a loaf of bread.

The problem with a Plantation Economy is that it inevitably stagnates and collapses. Suppressing competition and innovation corrodes productivity, and as productivity and social mobility both fade, so does wealth creation.

The state-cartel Plantation eventually eats all its own seed corn via the vast expansion of credit. What appears to be "wealth" in the state-cartel Plantation is illusory asset bubbles fueled by state-engineered credit expansion.

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Disclosures: None.

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