Friday, January 21, 2011

The Corporate Elite Have a New Platform for Intervening in the Economy

President Obama will name Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric CEO, to head a new advisory panel focused on "promoting economic growth by investing in business." Think of it as central planning by the corporate elite.

President Obama is, of course, all excited by this,“Jeff Immelt’s experience at GE and his understanding of the vital role the private sector plays in creating jobs and making America competitive makes him up to the challenge of leading this new Council,” said the President.

In a WaPo op-ed, by Immelt the truth was laid bare about this new panel.

Immelt sounds like a clueless central planner, who doesn't understand how markets foster innovation and move product to the most demanded parts of the economy. His comments indicate a lack of understanding with regard to price signals and the fact that central planning can not be successful in improving the standard of living of a country:
Business leaders should provide expertise in service of our country. My predecessors at GE have done so, as have leaders of many other great American companies. There is always a healthy tension between the public and private sectors. However, we all share a responsibility to drive national competitiveness, particularly during economic unrest. This is one of those times...

 We need a coordinated commitment among business, labor and government to expand our manufacturing base and increase exports...

Businesses should invest more of their cash and resources in advanced products and technologies that will create jobs in the United States, and government should incentivize this investment in innovation...

We must work together to construct an economy that creates more opportunity for more people.

What can one say other than this is banana republic talk. Companies have no duty to drive "national competitiveness".  The only goal of businesses should be to service their customers at a profit and compete against those in the same market they are in, whether those competitors are down the street or in Hong Kong. The use of the term "national competitiveness" is downright scary and suggests some kind of national planner designing rules or the government financing  "national competitiveness". This, of course, has nothing to do with free markets. It does, however, suggest the potential for the government to interfere with free markets and harass small businesses for the benefit of the corporate elite.

As far as a "coordinated commitment among business, labor and government". There really is no role for government in a sound economy. A government would contribute nothing. And business should be allowed to offer its workers whatever it chooses, while workers should be free to choose or pass on any offer. This "coordinated commitment among business, labor and government" is central planning that will benefit the corporate elite, union bosses and the government---and will be an overall suffocator of the economy.

Immelt's call for government incentivization  of investment in innovation is again central planning. Has Immelt never heard of Silicon Valley? There is no need for government incentivization, which is code talk for sending even more money to the politically connected.

"We must work together to construct an economy," says Immelt. Here, Immelt fails to understand the observations of Friedrich Hayek on what he called a "spontaneous order". Free markets are about this spontaneous order that develop complex economic and social systems without human design---no Jeff Immelts needed. Indeed, when Hayek promoted the concept "unintended consequences" he was using the term at a much deeper level than that at which it is used today by the intelligentsia. Hayek was referring specifically to the complex, unplanned, relationships that develop in society and in an economy. When Hayek thought of unitended consequences, he was thinking of such undesigned developments as language, money and a downtown business area--all of which developed (and continue to evolve) in a spontaneous fashion, and were the unitended consequences of other actions by humans. Governments have tried to intervene in all three of these sectors only to distort and hinder the ongoing spontaneous development.

When corporate elitists get involved in attempting to "construct" an economy, it's the same distortions and hindrances, with the additional kicker that they attempt to distort the economy in their favor. It's really rule in banana republic dictator style, with the only exception being the corporate elite don't subscribe to the fashion choices of banana dictators and thus tend to shy away from wearing military uniforms. But don't let that fool you, it's just about the only difference.


  1. So we have once again moved to a progressive style government where big government, big business and labor have all merged and will tell the other 80% of us what's good for us. Hoover tried this in 1930 and it failed. Who knows, maybe it will be different this time. LMAO

  2. Everyone can put down their copies of Atlas Shrugged and just start reading today's news and press releases from goons like Immelt. The content is identical. Same farce, different reality.

  3. Sorry, Conant...still waiting for the movie version. Speaking of Si-Valley and tech markets, shouldn't there be a Technology Proficiency Commission (TPC) to protect businesses and consumers unsavory, unskilled IT workers?

  4. This is what Hitler did. Its called Fascism, remember.

    I sure hope Issa makes this a top priority for investigation

  5. Obama is a psychotic parasite who uses violence to steal from the "private sector"...This is a bit like beating your slaves if you think about it.

  6. This is not what Hitler did. Hitler hated capitalists, communists, socialists and just about everyone that did not share his nationalistic world domination and master race view points. Hitler and what took place is what happens when you combine government with an insane leader. There are plenty of examples throughout history of this.

  7. History repeating itself? Does Jeffrey Immelt=Gerard Swope? Those that have no idea who Swope is, do a Google and read the Swope plan. If that doesn't turn your stomach, nothing much will.

  8. "Does Jeffrey Immelt=Gerard Swope?"

    Indeed, but don't look to Wikipedia as you won't get much.

    "Meanwhile, strange collectivist plans for ending the depression were brewing in the business world. In September, Gerard Swope, head of General Electric, far surpassed the radicalism of his old public-works proposal by presenting the Swope Plan to a convention of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. The Plan, which garnered a great deal of publicity, amounted to a call for compulsory cartellization of American business—an imitation of fascism and an anticipation of the NRA. Every industry was to be forcibly mobilized into trade associations, under Federal control, to regulate and stabilize prices and production, and to prescribe trade practices. Overall, the Federal Government, aided by a joint administration of management and employees representing the nation's industry, would "coordinate production and consumption."[29] To its grave discredit, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed this socialistic plan in December by a large majority, as a means of employing Federal coercion to restrict production and raise prices. Leading the march for approval was the new President of the U.S. Chamber, Henry I. Harriman, of the New England Power Company. Harriman wrote, in his report of the Chamber's Committee on the Continuity of Business and Employment, that "We have left the period of extreme individualism. . . . Business prosperity and employment will be best maintained by an intelligently planned business structure." With business organized through trade associations and headed by a National Economic Council, any dissenting businessmen would be "treated like any maverick. . . . They'll be roped, and branded, and made to run with the herd."[30] The president of the National Association of Manufacturers wanted to go beyond the Swope Plan to forcibly include firms employing less than fifty workers."

  9. Only absolute mental retards refer to politicians as "Leaders" and you should seriouly consider moving to Cuba or suicide.

  10. Bah! This is exactly what Hitler did! Economic fascism is the partnership of government and big business, in which the concept of private property is nominally retained but the government actually owns the means of production in practice. Fascism is just another form of socialism, so in practice, Hitler was a socialist! Also, the combination of an insane leader and government applies to virtually every U.S. presidential administration for the past 80 years.

  11. Oh look! The neo cons are crying again.
    Mimicking those idiot bigots Glenn cry baby Beck and Rush loud mouth Limpburger.

    Hows that poor victim Palin doing it for you neo cons?