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“Corporatism” or Mercantilism?

1,191 words

The Occupy Wall Street protest is innovative from a technical viewpoint, as a protest form.

OWS is creating some news and some controlled chaos, and that is probably a good thing.

As a political movement, it is more about crowd psychology than anything else. The OWS folks don’t know what they want, and as a collective they don’t even seem to understand what they are against.

For instance, there are tons of signs and blog posts about “Corporatism.” They don’t even know what it means. Look it up. Corporatism is probably closer to what they want than what they are protesting.

Corporatism, also known as corporativism, is a system of economic, political, or social organization that involves association of the people of society into corporate groups, such as agricultural, business, ethnic, labor, military, patronage, or scientific affiliations, on the basis of common interests.[1] Corporatism is theoretically based upon the interpretation of a community as an organic body.[2][3] The term corporatism is based on the Latin root “corp” meaning “body”.[3]

In 1881, Pope Leo XIII commissioned theologians and social thinkers to study corporatism and provide a definition for it. In 1884 in Freiburg, the commission declared that corporatism was a “system of social organization that has at its base the grouping of men according to the community of their natural interests and social functions, and as true and proper organs of the state they direct and coordinate labor and capital in matters of common interest.”[4]

One of the main types of corporatism is economic tripartism involving negotiations between business, labour, and state interest groups to establish economic policy.[5]

Corporatism is related to the sociological concept of structural functionalism.[6] Corporate social interaction is common within kinship groups such as families, clans and ethnicities.[7] Aside from humans, certain animal species are known to exhibit strong corporate social organization, such as penguins.[8][9]

Corporatist types of community and social interaction are common to many ideologies, including: absolutismcapitalism, conservatismfascismliberalismprogressivismreactionismsocialism, and syndicalism.[10]

I recently received a copy of Guillaume Faye’s Why We Fight: Manifesto of the European Resistance. Faye believes that we have been living for some time under a “pseudo-democratic” form of “soft totalitarianism” and that our economies suffer from the “combined disadvantages of both capitalism and socialism.” I’m inclined to agree. Some people think we need more capitalism and others think we need more socialism. European socialism has long been the daydream utopia of privileged American progressives who have fond memories of ski vacations and French class trips. But Europeans are protesting, too. More socialism hasn’t worked for them. The libertarian and neo-con American Right wants more capitalism, mostly because it’s American as apple pie and hippies hate it. A “freer” market is guaranteed to result in more outsourced jobs and more selling of American companies to global organizations that are bigger than whatever “fat cats” the naive OWS movement is protesting.

Why We Fight is organized as a dictionary of ideas. I don’t necessarily endorse or agree with all of them, but in flipping through it I found a few terms that I thought were particularly relevant and well-defined. Some highlights below:

From Cosmopolitanism:

The belief that the systematic melange of cultures is preferable to the identity of each culture — the belief that comes from the prejudice that some sort of world civilization is necessary. [..]

Cosmopolitanism is nothing but failed differentialism. Its ideal of mixing cultures for the sake of creating a single world culture is essentially totalitarian. With its simulacrum of heterogeneity, there lurks a will to uniformity.

From Globalisation:

The planetary universalization of exchange, circuits of economic production and finance, along with information; the internationalization of culture.

These phenomena create an environment where globally oriented companies with allegiance to no nation or people can become unstoppable juggernauts, subverting State and popular interests. Start a union and demand better wages. Company X finds or imports people who will work for less.

It’s not about a handful of “Mr. Burns” characters — the 1% is a distraction. The real problem is that legal entities designed only to create profit are doing exactly what they were designed to do, and these supranational entities exist independently of any State that might reign them in. They are post-national Leviathans without sovereigns, mindlessly crawling around the globe and sucking it dry. The Left’s attachment to multicultural cosmopolitanism erodes barriers between nations and frees the beast to move.

From Mercantilism:

The theory according to which the market is the sole basis of order and prosperity.

International mercantilism is the official doctrine of contemporary economic thought — the official doctrine of the corporations, the banks, and the European Commission. The exchanges and profits it generates take precedence over notions of production, full employment, independence or supply. Hence, outsourcing and the abolition of tariff barriers.

Mercantilism is the default religion of the United States, and those on the mainstream right are often its most faithful defenders. The businessman is a saint to America’s Republican talking heads from Glenn Beck to Lars Larson and Rush Limbaugh. If a businessman chooses to hire illegal immigrants because Americans demand higher compensation and a higher quality of life, he may be slapped on the wrist but will rarely be accused of criminal enterprise. Americans are asked to feel sorry for him, and more often than not, they will defend him. Someone who is making money is “succeeding,” no matter what they do or how they do it. People want to be them and be around them. They want to watch television shows about them and know what cars they drive. No one judges them unless they run for public office, when the public hypocritically expects them to be knights in shining armor — knowing full well that no one gets very far in America without cheating or fucking people over or generally acting like an asshole. No, the business man “create jobs” and “fuels the economy” and “supports all of those do-nothing losers.”

Instead of screaming at the sky and complaining about “corporatism” — which is what many of them really want — Americans and Europeans alike need to reassess their own values, the values of both the socialist Left and the free-market Right. Across-the-board commitments to Cosmopolitanism, Globalization and Mercantilism make it possible for these hungry, immoral beasts to slither across nations and devour everything worth having, leaving a scum trail of cheap technology to keep us busy and imported goods that keep keep us all fat and happy.


A reader pointed out that Faye’s “mercantilism,” too, is at odds with historical definitions of the word in much the same way that the OWS definition of “corporatism” is at odds with its conventional definition.

I liked Faye’s definition of “mercantilism” as a catch-all for a merchant-class view of the world where making money is ennobled and virtus is dismissed as a joke for low class suckers by a population of people who are delighted to swindle each other. Now I remain in search of a good word that isn’t already taken.




  1. Spectator
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    The OWS protests against “corporatocracy”–rule by corporations.

    The “corporations” in this case have NO relation to the social/economic groupings referred to by Leo XIII or Hegel or Mussolini.

    They are descended from the “limited liability” corporations, adjudged oddly enough as “legal persons”, descended ultimately from the Bank of England and the East India Company. They are not “organic” developments of the basic economic and social orders deriving from agricultural or even industrial life. They evolved from the commercial realm–joint-stock companies and marine insurance companies were among the sources.

    But the Bank of England (the “Jewish banker cartel” at work–the Jews invited back into England fatefully by Cromwell who needed financing to overthrow the king) gained the right to print “legal tender” currency essentially from nothing and charge interest. This was the beginning (along with the Dutch) of the “central bank” system. Certain state monopoly rights were associated with this arrangement. Basically, the taxpayers become the security for banker’s loans to “the government”, in exchange for which the government protects the monopoly privileges of the bankers. The FED/IRS regime in the US is the modern incarnation of this form of finance.

    The term “mercantilism” is a vexed one. Many use it without making much effort to consider how it is used by others. Using the very elliptical outline of the previous paragraph as a base, the “mercantilist” label has been used historically to describe a system wherein state-conferred charter (which may be monopolist) supports commercial activity wherein the goal is to accumulate gold in the hands of the state. It is a venerable Jewish system. The way it worked for British Imperialism was as follows: first have a powerful navy (Cromwell again) which permits access to vulnerable markets throughout the world. Through a process of drug-running, manipulation of local elites, trade, conquest, expropriation, and simple looting, create a system whereby England becomes an industrial, commercial, and financial emporium (think the “City of London”), which exports finished manufactures in exchange for gold (in the case of the Spanish, also lots of silver) and raw materials. If this means destroying existing industries in the colonized countries, too bad. How many people know that India produced more finished cloth in 1700 than England?

    Thus “mercantilism” in this classic sense was a form of “economic state building” in which those with a powerful navy could lord it over those who did not. The classic economist’s “free trade” is thus based on the needs of the British system, which had been established through regicide and imperial conquest. This is the part that libertarians never really face honestly–which is deeply hypocritical.

    Recently a group of European libertarians associated with the site The Daily Bell have proffered yet another sense for mercantilism that isolates the factor of state power in the granting of monopoly and privilege. With the caveat that this may accompany historical amnesia, I think that overall it is a theoretical innovation with promise. Of course, the DB deplores mercantilism because it deplores state power generally. Since modern corporations enjoy government protection, this form of Libertianism may be anti-corporation.

    White nationalists have to figure all this out for our own use: fascism and libertarianism are generally antagonistic, and yet anyone contemplating the future of our people may well have a foot in both camps. Liberty is precious; yet so is the survival of our people.

    The libertarian tendency to ignore group competition (eternal thanks to Kevin MacDonald for his solid work in this regard) is a problem. Yet who wants to live in a society of tattlers and snitches, which is what any imposed fascism implies?

    I think we need to start at the bottom: we need to base ourselves on the family, which has to negotiate the contradictions between liberty and obligation all the time. Parents appropriately exercise authority over their children, yet this occurs in a supportive and nurturing environment whose point is to prepare the children to exercise their own liberty. The attacks on the family deplored by social conservatives are real, and this is something we must also oppose. We need to support healthy families interacting with other healthy families.

    This is too much for a post, and not enough to really establish anything.

  2. Eumaeus
    Posted December 5, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    White nationalists need to shitcan any kind of liberterianist fantasies as apologia for Jewish moneylenders and their collaborators. Modern global finance capitalism is a wrecking ball unleashed by the Reformation confiscations of Church property in Germany and England, later French Revolutionary confiscations of CHurch property in France, later Communist confiscations of Church property in Russia and the East, and a thousand cleanup job looting operations against the detritus of western culture today right on down to desegregatoin, mass migration, and the destruction of the family for the sake of enlarging women as worker-consumers.

    Just slough off the capitalist foolishness and embrace frank racial-national socialism. In Anglish terms you can just refer to the “common good” if you are too fussy to call a spade a spade. We are socialists or we are individualists . iF we are individusalists then we are for the status quo.

  3. Sparrow
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    There are two Rights; the bourgeois, mercantile Right proclaimed by American “conservatives,” and the heroic, corporatist Right proclaimed by men like Mussolini, D’Annunzio, Evola, Crowley, etc. The former is a simple joke that’s not going to save anyone. Only the latter can save and rejuvenate the West.

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