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← Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

Red Dog's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Red Dog

Comment 23 by Graxan :

Comment 4 by msbav8r :

Comment 2 by Red Dog :

"Hitchens even looks at the recent financial crisis and argues for arthe enduring relevance of Karl Marx."

First, note there is a typo in that sentence: "for arthe". I would be interested to read what he says on this (and on everything else, I don't always agree with Hitchens but he has an amazing mind and ability with words that I envy).

IMO Marx was clearly wrong in many ways, for example thinking what he was doing was science without really applying the scientific method. And he has been misinterpreted and abused by plenty of tyrants. But he also had some very interesting things to say that people at least in the US virtually ignore because to ever quote Marx brands you instantly as a far left loon. His description of the cyclical nature of capitalism and how corporations will tend toward more and more mergers with fewer, bigger ones dominating the world seems pretty accurate to me. Yet, the exponential growth of government and the absolute destruction of the economy, by it's insatiable appetite for taxpayer money and incestuous relationships that foster the very conditions you mention, is never brought up by those who laud Marx.

The domination of large companies, is SOLELY the result of bribery of elected officials, who trade favorable tax code and legislation for campaign contributions.

The big difference between the government and the corporations is that corporations don't have the power to deprive you of liberty and freedom if you don't purchase their products. Remember, corporations can't affect laws without corrupt, complicit politicians.

This is bad urgument. What about meteoric rises by companies who just had the right product? I'm thinking particularly of IT companies. Facebook, Google. etc. While they are no doubt well established now, I very much doubt they became dominant through bribing public officials.

Your argument is true but only discusses one facet of the picture in the business world.

Not sure if that was addressed to me or not but I just want to make it clear I wasn't the one that said companies only expand by bribing (to my knowledge Marx didn't say that either).

Even though I think Marx got some things right I don't agree with the Marxist ideology that corporations have no redeeming feature. In fact its interesting that you mention IT because I worked most of my life in IT often for big corporations (I was a consultant so had all sorts of clients) and I'm very proud of the work that I did and the people that I worked with. Most of my experience doesn't fit with the view that many have of the corporate world that they are all just greedy selfish SOB's like the financial services companies.

And I agree that in IT especially companies rise primarily due to the quality of their ideas and work. There is of course some help from the government, the Internet after all started out as a DOD research project but I don't see that as bad either (although in my opinion it does show the hypocrisy of the standard right wing free market dogma).

I didn't get into it with the person who said its "solely about bribing" but in fact to me what is interesting is that I think there may be something at work that we could consider a scientific observation. That companies do tend to get bigger due to market forces that could be measured over time. And I think when you look at IT companies they reinforce that notion. Because even with these companies (and here I could give you several specific examples: Documentum, ATG, Sun Microsystems, Siebel, many more) there is a pressure for companies that have excellent, often the best, technology to eventually get swallowed up by bigger companies and it has little or nothing to do with bribery.

Mon, 22 Aug 2011 13:46:12 UTC | #863202