Form & Function: Fascism, Corporatism, State Capitalism & Crony Capitalism

At the top of this blog, under the page titled “Basic Precepts,” you will find a post titled “Form & Function,”  in which I explain that a thing is not defined by what we call it, but rather, by its form and function.   This post uses this basic precept to define Fascism according to its form and how it functions.  The purpose is to help you better understand what we mean by Fascism, and to then use this understanding to spot that form and function wherever we find it in the world in which we live.

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I start with the dictionary definition of the word:

Definition of FASCISM

1often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control <early instances of army fascism and brutality — J. W. Aldridge>

Now, applying the principles I explain in another post under “Basic Precepts,” “Original Sources are the Highest Authority,” we look to how the man who coined the term ‘fascism’ defined the concept – because he would be the highest authority when it comes to defining it:

Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism as it is a merge of state and corporate power.

– Benito Mussolini

So, using these definitions for what Fascism is, let’s examine how it would appear in the real world.  If you pay attention to international news, you might have heard that “State Capitalism” is the wave of the future and that China is the model for this ‘new’ system.  Now, this might sound new or progressive…until you look at the definition:

Definition of STATE CAPITALISM

: an economic system in which private capitalism is modified by a varying degree of government ownership and control

Then we find that State Capitalism means essentially the same thing Mussolini said Fascism means: the blending of the State with private business, with the State being the higher authority between the two.  In the United States, we have the same thing, only we call it by another name:

Definition of ‘Crony Capitalism’

A description of capitalist society as being based on the close relationships between businessmen and the state. Instead of success being determined by a free market and the rule of law, the success of a business is dependent on the favoritism that is shown to it by the ruling government in the form of tax breaks, government grants and other incentives.

Now, at first glance, it may appear that crony capitalism is not the same thing as the government only provides favors to its friends and not control over private industry.  But this is what the shallow thinker sees.  The deep thinker – the person who truly wants to understand – will understand that the person who can grant favors can also take them away and give them to others.  And in such an environment, where the rule of law takes a back seat to the whims of those in power, the people with the power to give and take favors to industry actually control that industry.

A rose by any other name is still a rose; and Fascism by any other name is still Fascism.  And now for the most important question:

Why do so many people point to our economic system as ‘proof’ that Capitalism (i.e. free market) does not work when — by definition — our system is not Capitalist, but Fascist?

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