Is Corporatism Capitalist?

Gordon Smith: “The media is not ‘to the left.’ It’s pushing a corporatist agenda which values consumption and political apathy.”

Bobby Coggins: “It’s called Capitalism, and far superior to any other economic engine ever tried. Capitalism is the ultimate meritocracy, where a fool and his/her money are soon parted, and all benefit by a rising tide of success.”

Gordon Smith: “You agree then that the media is corporatist?”

Just for clarification…

Corporatism is not a form of capitalism. Capitalism, particularly ‘laissez faire’ capitalism, is the social system of freedom based on the recognition of individual rights; whereas corporatism seeks protections administered by the government; which is a mischievous circumvention of individual rights. Individual freedom and government interference in the marketplace are antithetical.

Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.” -Ayn Rand, “For the New Intellectual”

Corporatism is, rather, a modern form of fascism; where the special interests of corporations influence and guide the content and direction of government. This is not government of the people, but government in contradistinction to the interests and liberties of the people.

What is corporatism? In a (somewhat inaccurate) phrase: Socialism for the bourgeois. It has the outward form of capitalism in that it preserves private ownership and private management, but with a crucial difference: as under socialism, government guarantees the flow of material goods, which under true capitalism it does not. In classical capitalism, what has been called the “night-watchman” state, government’s role in the economy is simply to prevent force or fraud from disrupting the autonomous operation of the free market. The market is trusted to provide. Under corporatism, it is not, instead being systematically manipulated to deliver goods to political constituencies. This now includes basically everyone from the economic elite to ordinary consumers. -Robert Locke, “What is American Corporatism?”

Corporations, on the other hand, are legitimate entities that inherit rights from their members, but which do not properly possess rights themselves. Corporations are granted legal authorities by the government that replicate the natural rights of the individual.

It is individuals, not corporations, that have a right to exist and freely assemble.

Individuals, not corporations, have the right to contract.

Individuals, not corporations, have a right to property.

Individuals, not corporations, are protected by the Constitution/Bill of Rights.

A corporation has no rights apart from those of the individuals that comprise them.

A corporation is a union of individual human beings in a voluntary, cooperative endeavor. It exemplifies the principle of free association. Any attributes which corporations have are attributes (or rights) which individuals have. A corporation has no mystical attributes, no attributes that do not go back to the rights of individuals, including the right of free association.

In a free society, the “rights” of any group are derived from the rights of its members through their voluntary, individual choice and contractual agreement, and are merely the application of these individual rights to a specific undertaking. Every legitimate (non-criminal) group undertaking is based on the participants’ rights of free association and free trade.


What is American Corporatism?” By Robert Locke, Front Page Magazine, September 13, 2002.

The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire” by Andrew Bernstein, University Press of America, 2005).

Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics” by George Reisman, Jameson Books, 1998.

at Yahoo Groups.


About Tim Peck

Unaffiliated Objectivist
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