Beyond Corporate Capitalism: Not So Wild a Dream

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demandside's picture

"The first step toward public ownership is recognizing that it is not the radical departure most imagine it to be. Two of the most cost-effective health providers in the United States—one a far-reaching insurance system, Medicare; the other a direct hands-on healthcare delivery system, the Veterans Administration—are run by the government. So, too, the largest pension manager in the country is a public entity: the Social Security Administration.


The US Postal Service, which employs 645,000 men and women, is another public enterprise that is generally regarded as well run by most experts—despite the recession, a reduction in the volume of mail because of electronic communications and a highly unusual 2006 Congressional requirement that the USPS pre-fund its pension benefits for the next seventy-five years. Recent cost-saving proposals for closing many small-town post offices and reducing services have triggered a popular backlash against the possible loss of an institution the public still values.

Another public enterprise, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), is one of the largest energy companies in the nation...

Recent research also challenges the familiar knee-jerk claims that private corporations are always internally more efficient than government-owned enterprises. Before Margaret Thatcher’s famous gutting of the British public sector, for example, productivity growth in the country’s nationalized mining, utility, transportation and communication companies consistently outpaced that of similar privately owned companies in the United States. To be sure, there are many bureaucratic public corporations, and sclerotic enterprises in the Soviet era were a breed apart. In the modern era, however, as Francisco Flores-Macias and Aldo Musacchio document in a recent Harvard International Review article, state-owned enterprises in many areas are, or can be, as efficient as their private counterparts.


Private companies also all too frequently run off to China or Mexico looking for cheap labor, leaving behind unemployed workers and wasted cities. Public enterprises stay here, maintaining jobs and sustaining rather than abandoning our communities. Public enterprises do not force cities and states to pay millions in “incentives” to encourage them to locate in a particular area—often only to move on later, leaving discarded people and deteriorating schools, houses, roads and public services.


Also, public enterprises do not spend huge amounts of money undermining the political process through extensive pro-corporate campaign advertising and lobbying. And public corporations are open to public scrutiny, while private corporations keep most of their internal decision-making secret."

Gar Alperovitz is a Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland.

to read "Beyond Corporate Capitalism: Not So Wild a Dream" published in: The Nation, May 26, 2012, click on

to hear Richard Wolff on "Occupying Our Future: Solutions to the Capitalism Crisis," click on



pshakkottai's picture
" The belief that private


The belief that private industry always is better than the government – a belief that leads to the single-minded focus on reducing the size of government – is wrong-headed and destructive. Government exists because in some areas it provides superior service to the people.

In America, the left hand is the public sector and the right hand is the private sector. Our country was built by two hands, working together. Cutting off the left hand is no way to build a nation."

 says Mitchell in


Not a wild dream? Keep

Not a wild dream? Keep smoking the good stuff-it lets you avoid reality and fantasize. You can't stop corporate capitalism while money controls elections and since the required constitutional amendment will never happen to change it-GAME OVER!

Karolina's picture
Beyond Corporate Capitalism:

Beyond Corporate Capitalism: Not So Wild A Dream is a strong article! Thanks for the link.

Gar Alperovitz and Thomas M. Hanna wrote:
It’s time to put the taboo subject of public ownership back on the progressive agenda. It is the only way to solve some of the most serious problems facing the nation. We contend that it is possible not only to talk about this once forbidden subject but to begin to build a serious politics that can do what needs to be done in key sectors.

Pshakottai's metaphor about building a nation with an amputated left limb illustrates our situation here in the US accurately. To look at the Congress, our left is hanging on by its last little tendon....

Karolina's picture
lovecraft wrote:Not a wild

lovecraft wrote:
Not a wild dream? Keep smoking the good stuff-it lets you avoid reality and fantasize. You can't stop corporate capitalism while money controls elections and since the required constitutional amendment will never happen to change it-GAME OVER!

The first thing to do is to talk about it, spread the word and get all intelligent people on board. It can be done with diligence.

Or — even more quickly when all of the markets fall.....

Since intelligent people

Since intelligent people amount to about 10% of the electorate-not enough. Our education system has been creating consumers-not citizens for the past 40 years. You have to realize that these boards represent a tiny fraction of the electorate who are actually interested in events. Most Americans are more interested in sports, social networking and celebs.

Karolina's picture
I am all too well aware of

I am all too well aware of what you are saying, lovecraft.

However, 10% IS a start. The trained consumers can be trained citizens if you, I, and the rest of the 10% train everyone we meet who is interested.

Maybe that's why I am in Indiana right now—there are a few intelligent trained consumers here! And they tend to be interested!

And don't forget — the REAL enemy numbers only 1%!

Most people are too busy

Most people are too busy living their lives to educate themselves. They only pay attention when the crap hits the fan like 2008. It will take more 2008's to get enough to pay attention I'm afraid. 

Karolina's picture
Let's see what happens!  :^D

Let's see what happens!  :^D

Sorry-I felt that way 15

Sorry-I felt that way 15 years ago. But I have seen and researched too much since to have any hope that this govt will ever be able to extricate itself from the hold the moneyed interest have on it. It has actually gotten worse with Democrat participation.

Karolina's picture
On his show last night, Thom

On his show last night, Thom was talking about how people like the Koch brothers benefit when there is a fiasco in Congress like last year's debt ceiling crisis, and how the teabaggers are going to do the same thing this year, even though it makes the country weaker and poorer, due to loss of trillions because of the AAA downgrade.

I was terribly demoralized last year when that crap was going on in Congress, thinking—how can these creeps be so mean-spirited, so disgusting and so cruel? And how can they use their power to destroy the very country that allowed them to prosper and live so well, now trying to make sure that current and future generations will never prosper and live so well here again? Ayn Rand is smiling proudly from her place in hell!

I understand how you feel, but I believe we are all fighters doing as much as we can. Believing that the US government and economy can't be changed from the injustice that we have here now is like being a fighter for the side that you despise, as they're the ones who brought our nation to this sad and sorry state. They're proud of it and they just want to finish us off.


Karolina's picture
Beyond Capitalism: The Only

Beyond Capitalism: The Only Real Solution!