It Starts at the Top

Chris Clancy
Chris Clancy


(Read Part 1, & Part 2)

Historically, and legally speaking, there have always been three ways of getting very rich very quickly.

You could earn it, inherit it, or do it the old fashioned way and marry it.

Of course these three ways still exist – but nowadays we have to add a fourth.

Eisenhower warned of its onset in 1961 as the “military/industrial complex”.

Ted Heath, in the early 1970s, famously referred to something very similar as, “the unacceptable face of capitalism”.

Which put it very well – if a bit too politely.

Nowadays we simply call it what it is – crony capitalism.

For as long as we have had governments it has always been around in one form or another. However, in the decades following WWII it has simply exploded.

Investopedia. defines it as:

“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.”

Or better still – from

“An economy that is nominally free-market, but allows for preferential regulation and other  favourable government intervention based on personal relationships. In such a system, the false appearance of “pure” capitalism is publicly maintained to preserve the exclusive influence of well-connected individuals.”

Here is why capitalism is so roundly despised and misunderstood by so many people.

Those involved couldn’t give a damn about the damage they cause to the economy, the country or its people. Their focus is to keep their snouts in the trough and to hell with anyone or anything which gets in their way.

David Galland lays it all out very well here. He argues this level of corruption has got to the point where it’s no longer fightable.

We, the people, are actually powerless to do anything about it – which is not as sweeping a statement as it sounds.

Crony capitalism can only exist if it starts at the top.

The current administration in DC provides an excellent example.

At the beginning of its second term it actually moved things up a notch with the formation of ‘Organizing for Action – a body which in all but name replaced ‘Obama for America’ – his re-election campaign organization.

The mainstream media allowed it to fly under their collective radar.

Which is not to say it went totally un-noticed:

“[A] crony capitalist conduit has been established. If your corporation wants to influence the direction of policy, this is the place to do it, anonymously. If you want to be a part of the President’s effort, just drop a check into this designated box. Tax free of course.”

So much for hope and change.

Chris Clancy is a Contributing Editor with Self-Educated American. His essays and articles on economics and other things are widely published on the internet. Formerly he was employed for a number of years as associate professor of financial accounting at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Wuhan City, Hubei Province. He then left China for two years during which he wrote a book about his time there – Cut Loose at 50 – a must-read for anyone thinking about living and working in China. He has now returned to China where he teaches economics with the prestigious Dipont organization

Email him at [email protected].