“The ‘vast majority’ of CO2 pipelines carry carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery, according to US Department of Energy…. But this free-market niche is a now being joined [via the Carbon Capture Coalition] by a wholly new application for CO2 that is all about government mandates and subsidies.”
“As Wendall Phillips warned in 1852, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Power is ever stealing from the many to the few’.”
Government goes to those who show up. This aphorism explains the growth of government: those particularly advantaged by special government favor organize and lobby while the rest of us tend to our private business.
Such cronyism marks real-world government versus the romantic view wherein impartial legislators above the special-interest fray wisely block the entreaties of those who would injure the common interest of taxpayers and consumers.…
Editor note: This post follows Part I’s Crony Capitalism: Principles. On Tuesday, Robert Bradley will post on cronyism in the U.S. energy industry.
Cronyism differs from industry to industry. That variation depends on the extent to which a field is regulated, on how much those regulations are subject to interpretation, and, especially, on whether government is a major payer (as in medical and hospital care) or can give or withhold the permission literally to exist (as in mining or energy production).
Today, a Wall Street firm will contribute millions to the election of Democrats and Republicans, because it dares not risk lacking “access” to the White House and Congress. The firm’s “investment” has nothing to do with innovation, production, or meeting demands of customers. It may be buying protection against political power in exactly the way a restaurant owner in Brooklyn must buy “protection” when the mob comes seeking a cut of his profits.…
Editor note: This post will be followed tomorrow by Part II: Crony Capitalism: Practice. On Tuesday, Robert Bradley will post on cronyism in the U.S. energy industry.
To the great economists of free trade and free markets, capitalism meant laissez faire: “Let us compete free of government help or hindrance.” To Adam Smith and David Ricardo, to Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman, laissez faire in the phrase “laissez faire capitalism” was redundant.
But today, opponents of capitalism such as leftist MIT Professor Noam Chomsky and sociologist Jane Jacobs believe that “crony capitalism” is the redundant phrase. They believe that capitalism by its nature involves corruption of the political process to favor one enterprise over another.
What about the American public? Earlier this year, a poll by the Rasmussen firm revealed that 39 percent of those responding consider ours to be a system of “crony capitalism.”…