has directed my attention to this excellent piece
on the true meaning of the recent Supreme Court decision to let corporations take over elections:
The marketplace is now irrelevant - only company size matters. It is just more efficient to beat your competitors by buying legislation than it is by competing in the marketplace. When you can purchase $1 billion in tax breaks, subsidies, mandates, contracts, whatever by spending a few million on candidates/influence, etc. it just makes more sense to do so. The return on investment is just so much higher than building factories, spending on research, paying employees, and other tedious, time-consuming, capital-intensive work.
For some time companies have recognized that the rewards from lobbying outperform the rewards from competing in the marketplace, and this ruling just amplifies that.
To which Welsh adds:
This has been part of my fundamental critique of the US economy for years. This is why the US is losing its technological lead in area after area, because innovating is less certain than buying government.
Thing is, foreign companies don’t have this “advantage” so have to compete the old fashioned way. And they will continue to eat American companies lunch.
I'll add this: One of the first victims will be net neutrality. That may have been the plan all along: Make the public infuriated at the Democrats (most of whom have been pretty good on the issue of internet freedom) and replace them with Republicans who will no qualms about ending free speech on the internet.
Welsh does miss out on one point. It's true that overseas firms are going to become more competitive, but it's also true that American corporations are investing heavily in those concerns. Basically, what wealthy Americans are doing -- without realizing it -- is recapitulating the landlord system which bled Ireland dry in the 19th century.
Those exploitative systems never last.