Saturday, June 02, 2007

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

These two people do a wonderful job of keeping the corporate world on its toes. They have published for many years (somewhat over-rhetorical) accounts of corporate frauds, sicknesses and systematic failures.

The individuals are now going their separate ways to set up their own vehicles, focusing on slightly different things: Russell Mokhiberto continue editing "Corporate Crime Reporter" ( and Robert Weissman to re-start his column titled "Focus on the Corporation" (

In the recent swan-song of the joint-effort they have undertaken up to now, they say "Digitalization, corporate consolidation...and the expanding demans of the national security state are combining to enable the creation of a Big Brother corporate-state nexus".

There is a germ of truth in this. For something like a historical account of why we are going in this direction, however, one needs to read Jeff Faux's THE GLOBAL CLASS WAR (which I have reviewed elsewhere).

But all such authors (Faux, Mokhiber, Weissman and others) seem to be unaware that, historically, there has always developed, in every part of the world a "corporate-state nexus" or its equivalent. So, possibly after an initial period of tension, kings always became involved in an alliance with trade, and traders always ended up allying with the political elite.

The only exceptions were post-Reformation Europe - and the USA, which inherited the fruits of the Reformation. These parts of the wrold strove to separate, and to a large extent succeeded in separating, trade from rule - and in exporting this "best practice" (in however diluted a form) to other countries.

One could argue that liberating people to be themselves, rather than mere pawns in the game, consists in getting the political elite to set the right rules (which they can never do as long as they are in the pockets of commercial interests - or are themselves commercial interests with another face) and then in setting up systems by which the rules are applied equally to everyone regardless of their position, wealth, influence and so on.

One could argue that this is essential of the "rule of law" - there is no point in the law "ruling" if (a) the law is itself unfair, and (b) if the rich, powerful or influential can systematically and usually escape its requirements.

Most modern critics of the state-commerce nexus appear to be unaware that their own sense of what is right comes, originally, *exclusively* from the Bible - no other philosophy or ideology has any basis for indignation at a corporate-state nexus. And, equally important, that other than the times and parts of the world influenced by the Bible, the "state-commerce nexus" has in fact been the universal norm.

In order to recover the cultural strength for reversing the renewal of this old nexus, it is necessary to not merely rail against it, but to rediscover the "self-interest sacrificing" spirituality of the Biblical tradition which cleaned up (substantially) Europe and the USA - though that "clean up" is now losing strength due to the waning of Biblical influence in Europe and the USA.

Meanwhile, do keep up with Mokhiber and Weissman. They may not understand the roots of their own indignation, but they are doing good work - and, even when they get it slightly wrong, that is not out of malice or self-interest. Anyone can get it wrong sometimes.

They very often get it right. More power to them. And every success with their now-separate ventures. Sphere: Related Content

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