Free Markets And Corporate Socialism: The Difference Between Theory And Practice

Lots of alleged conservatives claim to believe in a “free market” without economic intervention and regulation by government, but evidently it’s a lot harder for them to put their money where their mouths are:

  • Shilling For Schilling: Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling recently received a $75 million dollar loan guarantee from the RI Economic Development Corporation for his new video game company, 38 Studios, to relocate to Providence. Huh? Why would the state invest so heavily in a company that has yet to produce anything in an industry with a 90-percent failure rate and run by someone who has enough money to fund the move himself? Maybe EDC members are a bunch of geeky gamers hoping to be the first to own 38 Studios’ upcoming release Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Or maybe they’re jock-sniffing sports fans itching to get a whiff of Schilling’s bloody sock. Probably not, but either of those answers are more logical than any economic reason they may offer up.
  • Unchartered Territory: Angus Davis has helped lead the charge for the charter school movement in RI. As a member of the Board of Regents, the native Bristolian was instrumental in hiring Deborah Gist as the state’s new Education Comissioner. Too busy to write her own speeches (Davis anonymously hired her speechwriters too), Gist went about firing teachers, slashing state aid in some districts to the bone, and lifting a cap that restricted the number of these privately-run public schools to only two per district — thus paving the way for large charter management companies to open up here. Back in 2007, RI Monthly featured Davis and fellow charter school advocate and dot com millionaire, Bill Daugherty, in an article highlighting the “new generation of philanthropists“. But what the magazine failed to mention was how much they stand to earn from their “charity” work. A few months ago the New York Daily News revealed that, through various federal tax credits and interest payments on construction loans, non-profit charter management companies and their rich financiers are able to nearly double their investments in only 7 years off the backs of the overly indebted Albany charter schools and taxpayers… Making me wonder if the national drive toward privatized education is motivated more by the effectiveness of charters versus public schools (which is debatable to say the least) or by greed disguised as social consciousness? Meanwhile, here in the Ocean State, Davis is about to launch a new educational non-profit called Best For Kids. Will it really seek to improve public education, as he claims, or will improving the return on investment be the organization’s ultimate goal? I don’t know.

What I’m more sure of is that, without government assistance, these so-called free market capitalists wouldn’t waste their time and money on such ventures. Much like the Defense Industry during our unending wars on terrorism or Wall Street during our financial crisis, people like Schilling, Davis, and Daugherty are literally banking on taxpayers for help! Socialize the risk and privatize the profits. Welcome to the era of corporate socialism, Little Rhody.

The hypocrisy, not just of the nefarious businessmen and politicians, but by the ideologues from supposedly conservative groups like the RI Statewide Coalition who support their actions, leads me to believe that the free market is as mythical a place as the Kingdoms of Amalur. America will never have a free economy as long as we allow wealthy individuals and corporations to abuse our government. But there’s still hope. Some economists (the real socially conscious ones) think the country can regain control of its money system and end the reign of the corporate socialists. Learn more:


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