by Jim on July 26, 2011
All serious observers would agree, although some reluctantly, that our 21st
century capitalist world is best described as an oligopoly.
Mega-corporations control every important industry and have near complete power
to set their profit margins as they see fit.
Those who refer to our system as a “market economy” are knowingly or
unknowingly perpetuating a gross misstatement about reality, and one of great
benefit to the status-quo. A market economy ruled by competition can be
presented as fair and even democratic, but oligopoly power is not a very
marketable product to the masses.
We should think of oligopoly profit as identical to taxation which
should therefore be subject to the same scrutiny as its government
counterpart. We’re in the habit of demanding the elimination of waste and
abuse in government to get the most “bang for the buck” from our hard earned tax
money. There’s absolutely no reason we shouldn’t do the same for the
taxation levied on us by the mega-corporations.
So, what do the mega-corporations, their executives, and shareholders do
with our tax money? Unlike at least some portion of government
collections, virtually nothing gets spent on products or services valued by the
majority. Profit isn’t used for productive new investment, that’s easily
covered by depreciation expense. Some of our tax money goes to personal
yachts, multiple estates, expensive cars, personal jets, fancy clothes, jewelry,
fine wine, extravagant parties, and the like. But most of it isn’t spent
at all. It’s just hoarded into speculative ventures like gold, real
estate, the stock market (almost none of which is new investment), currency
speculation, mergers and acquisitions, agricultural futures markets, and
arbitrage bets of one type or another. This is where our tax money goes
and that’s why, when we look around, the world doesn’t seem quite as rich as one
would think given our technology.
At the risk of stealing a right wing slogan, we’re being taxed to
death! What should we do? Why not assert democratic control over
oligopoly taxation and demand that all taxes paid be spent in the public
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
We’re being taxed to death! « Comments on Global Political Economy