"John Broder of The New York Times has an interesting piece on Al Gore’s financial profit tied to his global warming alarmism and push for renewable energy. Gore’s venture capital firm invested in Silver Spring Networks, a company that makes hardware and software to improve efficiency in the...
19th and 20th Century Quotes on Crony Capitalism
"In conclusion, the President must be permitted to remark that he looks upon the pending question as of higher consideration than the mere transfer of a sum of money from one bank to another. Its decision may affect the character of our Government for ages to come. Should the bank be suffered longer to use the public moneys in the accomplishment of its purposes, with the proofs of its faithlessness and corruption before our eyes, the patriotic among our citizens will despair of success in struggling against its power, and we shall be responsible for entailing it upon our country forever."
"We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a foreign rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light, that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price.... This rival ... is none other than the sun....
We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull’s-eyes, deadlights and blinds; in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures."
"The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to some one else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."
"Just so the wealth of the country, its capital, its credit, must be saved from the predatory poor as well as the predatory rich, but above all from the predatory politician."
"The proposal is frequently made that the government ought to assume the risks that are 'too great for private industry.' This means that bureaucrats should be permitted to take risks with the tax payers' money that no one is willing to take with his own.
Such a policy would lead to evils of many different kinds. It would lead to favoritism: to the making of loans to friends, or in return for bribes. It would inevitably lead to scandals. It would lead to recriminations whenever the taxpayers' money was thrown away on enterprises that failed. It would increase the demand for socialism: for, it would properly be asked, if the government is going to bear the risks, why should it not also get the profits? What justification could there possibly be, in fact, for asking the taxpayers to take the risks while permitting private capitalists to keep the profits?"
"Testifying on behalf of the United States Department of Justice before the Temporary National Economic Committee (better known as the TNEC) in March 1941, Corwin Edwards cited innumerable examples of such practices. The electrical union in New York City was charged with refusal to install electrical equipment made outside of New York State unless the equipment was disassembled and reassembled at the job site. In Houston, Texas, master plumbers and the plumbing union agreed that piping prefabricated for installation would be installed by the union only if the thread were cut off one end of the pipe and new thread were cut at the job site. Various locals of the painters' union imposed restrictions on the use of spray-guns, restrictions in many cases designed merely to make work by requiring the slower process of applying paint with a brush. A local of the teamsters' union required that every truck entering the New York metropolitan area have a local driver in addition to the driver already employed. In various cities the electrical union required that if any temporary light or power was to be used on a construction job there must be a full-time maintenance electrician, who should not be permitted to do any electrical construction work. This rule, according to Mr. Edwards, 'often involves the hiring of a man who spends his day reading or playing solitaire and does nothing except throw a switch at the beginning and end of the day.'"
"What is economic power? It is the power to produce and to trade what one has produced. In a free economy, where no man or group of men can use physical coercion against anyone, economic power can be achieved only by voluntary means: by the voluntary choice and agreement of all those who participate in the process of production and trade. In a free market, all prices, wages, and profits are determined—not by the arbitrary whim of the rich or of the poor, not by anyone's 'greed' or by anyone's need—but by the law of supply and demand. The mechanism of a free market reflects and sums up all the economic choices and decisions made by all the participants. Men trade their goods or services by mutual consent to mutual advantage, according to their own independent, uncoerced judgment. A man can grow rich only if he is able to offer better values—better products or services, at a lower price—than others are able to offer.
Wealth, in a free market, is achieved by a free, general, 'democratic' vote—by the sales and the purchases of every individual who takes part in the economic life of the country. Whenever you buy one product rather than another, you are voting for the success of some manufacturer. And, in this type of voting, every man votes only on those matters which he is qualified to judge: on his own preferences, interests, and needs. No one has the power to decide for others or to substitute his judgment for theirs; no one has the power to appoint himself 'the voice of the public' and to leave the public voiceless and disfranchised."
"We often fail to realize that the point of much of Big Government is precisely to set up such 'partnerships,' for the benefit of both government and business, or rather, of certain business firms and groups that happen to be in political favor."
"Even when harm occurs as a result of pollution, the 'polluter pays' principle is routinely violated. Consider the case of the Exxon Valdez. In 1989, an oil tanker ran aground because its captain was drunk, and over 300,000 barrels of crude poured into the water of Prince William Sound, causing significant, though not permanent, environmental disruption. Few people are aware that the crime for which Exxon was punished was killing migratory birds without a permit. Extensive shorelines were covered in oil, and the government prosecuted Exxon for not having permission to go hunting!
Exxon was subject to civil suits from those, such as local fishermen, who claimed damage from the spill. However, much of the money that Exxon was forced to pay did not go to alleged victims of the spill. Exxon paid $125 million in fines to the federal government and the state of Alaska. In addition, Exxon was forced to pay $900 million into a fund to be doled out by government officials for environmental projects, habitat protection, and scientific research, among other things. ... In May 1994, $38.7 million of this money was used to create a new state park."
"Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan testified before Congress in July that government-controlled investment approaches pose 'very far-reaching potential dangers for the free American economy and the free American society.' There are four broad concerns about government-controlled investment:
Concern #1: Government-controlled investing would mean partial nationalization of major businesses, which would allow politicians to have direct involvement in the economy.
Concern #2: Government-controlled investing invites crony capitalism--industrial policy that allows politicians to control the economy indirectly by attempting to pick winners and losers.
Concern #3: Government-controlled investing opens the door to corruption by allowing politicians to steer funds toward well-connected interest groups or campaign contributors.
Concern #4: Government-controlled investing invites 'politically correct' decisions because politicians could forego sound investments in unpopular industries (such as tobacco) to steer money toward feel-good causes that are likely to lose money."