May 012013

COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo

It’s over a century now since the world has been fighting against capitalism.  But capitalism indeed brings its own collapse as evidenced by the present financial crisis in the Unites States, brought about by corporate raiding.  A corporation has to buy another or lose independence by being bought.  And if one is a small player in the market, it ends up being gobbled up or swallowed by the big ones.  That’s why we see a lot of mergers nowadays, in banks, among others.

When capitalism tried to replace the old social order, it was wrong to give so much value on money as a way to equalize wealth.  Money was the power of the merchants, and with the rise of the middle class, they used money to rule the lower classes that held labor, and even the old upper classes as well.  So in this present social order, we barely have royals, nobles, aristocrats, and the landed gentry.  The world is now dominated by a boorish and expedient business class.

Money may be is easily distributed but it is likewise easily hoarded and stolen, unlike land, status, or talent.  It easily changes hands and like the worship of the dollar, it reduces everything to monetary terms.  Man is consequently reduced to matter, is consequently bombarded with material things, and perpetually is in a state of discontent.  For his value is narrowly made equivalent to his income.

Now with money being easily manipulated, it has bred not only greed but the drive for conquest, as seen in corporate takeovers.  The nature of money being bought and sold in its basic form is the height of this manipulation, and nothing is held sacred anymore.  Only the numbers count, and those who have the numbers win.  Truly, the rule of capital calls for “survival of the fittest” and barely promotes social justice.

In corporate raiding, a corporation cannot simply say no when another corporation offers to buy.  A lot of legalities are under consideration.  It has to go to court to get a judge to stop the raider from buying.  And in the United States, it can claim that a merger would create antitrust problems.  It could issue more stock to make it harder for the raider to buy a majority of the shares.  Or as a last recourse, it could sell itself to a “white knight” willing to pay a higher price and of a better business fit.

So, big industries are out to swallow each other, forming into mergers, and killing the independent small-scale enterprises in the business competition.  And in the process, investment bankers, arbitrageurs, and speculators also make a killing in these deals, as if making side bets in the corporate games.  In the long run, only a few players are left, and in this case with the United States’ home loan crisis, the government has to pay for the loss, buying bad debt from ailing financial institutions in order to restore the flow of credit in the economy.

There should be a strong hand of the government in regulating the exercise of free enterprise, so as not to let market forces be left at the hands of a few greedy and ambitious men, and thereby sacrificing the general public.  Capitalism may have produced goods for the greater number, but it likewise had brought about massive exploitation to those who do not have the capital.





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