Monday, July 09, 2007

The Free Market : The Ultimate Problem Solver

(Or, Semi-Coherant Rant About America's Hyper-Capitalist Economy)

It's one of the main tenets of those who champion the free market as the ultimate righter-of-wrongs, healer-of-wounds, and servant of humanity-- customer service. It's the manifestation of their belief that the corporation is controlled by the citizens (the old "speak with your wallet" adage). Unfortunately, even in the face of massive deregulation across the business spectrum, this belief looks far better on paper than it works out in real life.

The plainest evidence of this is seen in the presentations of the massive anti-Wal Mart-ization movement and, on a slightly more conceptual level, by the anti-globalization movement. And those are only a couple of specifics. Just look at the blowback from the global warming hoopla. The vast majority of independent scientists across the globe are practically in hysterics about the toll humankind's massive carbon emissions have begun to take on the biosphere. And who stands against this science? A far, far smaller number of scientists who, as becomes clearer the deeper you dig, are represented by various think-tanks and PAC's who all have ties to manufacturing and production lobbyists.

Care to connect those dots? That's right, the good ol', god-like free market that works so wonderfully in our favor, in theory anyway, is also working, for... well, to take the thing to it's logical conclusion, is working for our extinction. Not exactly a god I'd like to worship.

Well... to turn from the macro to the micro, give this story a read: Sprint ditches customers who complain too much.

How does that story apply to the failure of today's hyper-capitalist free market? I mean, these schlubs can always go sign with a rival network, right?

Well , they can certainly switch cell phone providers... for now anyway. The same unchecked free-market force that's allowed the mass media environment to become homogenized to the point that you can count the number of companies behind America's major news outlets on one hand can also be seen in the dwindling number of cell phone service providers the public has to choose from.

As these companies buy each other out and conglomerate again and again, our choices as consumers dwindles as well. And as we saw from the uncritical, uninterested media in the run-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, homogeny breeds complicity, which breeds apathy, which, in turn, breeds decay.

And that is the ultimate result of the unchecked, hyper-capitalism so many deluded American trumpet so loudly these days--decay.

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