By acting through the state to organize pension programs, the large corporations effectively function as a state-enforced cartel (with the added virtue of non-defectability), and at least partially remove old age pensions as an issue of competion in personnel costs. Murray Rothbard argued that almost all such regulations or spending programs served the same function. There is a close parallel between his argument on this and that of James O'Connor in *Fiscal Crisis of the State*: that many of the services to organized capital formerly carried out privately are now carried out through the state, and thus removed as issues of cost competition.
Here are a couple of relevant passages on the subject from an article of mine:
The mainline socialist movement at the turn of the century--i.e., the part still controlled by actual workers, and not corrupted by Fabian intellectuals--derided the welfare state and "public" ownership as "state socialism." The International Socialist Review in 1912 warned workers not to be fooled into identifying social insurance or the nationalization of industry with "socialism." Such state programs as workers' compensation, old age and health insurance, were simply measures to strengthen and stabilize capitalism. And nationalization simply reflected the capitalist's realization "that he can carry on certain portions of the production process more efficiently through his government than through private corporations..... Some muddleheads find that will be Socialism, but the capitalist knows better." [Robert Rives La Monte, "You and Your Vote"; "Editorial"] Friedrich Engels took this view of public ownership:
"At a further stage of evolution this form [the joint-stock company] also becomes insufficient: the official representative of capitalist society--the state--will ultimately have to undertake the direction of production. This necessity for conversion into state property is felt first in the great institutions for intercourse and communication--the post office, the telegraphs, the railways." [Anti-Duhring p. 265]
* * *
In addition, the various safety and quality regulations introduced during this period also had the effect of cartelizing the market. They served essentially the same purpose as the later attempts in the Wilson war economy to reduce the variety of styles and features available in product lines, in the name of "efficiency." Any action by the state to impose a uniform standard of quality (e.g. safety), across the board, necessarily eliminates safety as a competitive issue between firms. Thus, the industry is partially cartelized, to the very same extent that would have happened had all the firms in it agreed on a uniform level of quality standards, and agreed to stop competing in that area. A regulation, in essence, is a state-enforced cartel in which the members agree to cease competing in a particular area of quality or safety, and instead agree on a uniform standard. And unlike non-state-enforced cartels, no member can seek its advantage by defecting. Similarly, the provision of services by the state (R&D funding, for example) removes them as components of price in cost competition between firms, and places them in the realm of guaranteed income to all firms in a market alike. Whether through regulations or direct state subsidies to various forms of accumulation, the corporations act through the state to carry out some activities jointly, and to restrict competition to selected areas.
From: "Grey Thomas" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Social security is widely supported because of the certainty element, folks are sure that they'll be taken care of by the SS program.
Since one of the main costs of inflation is the greater uncertainty, a reduced inflation/ uncertainty is worth quite a lot of freedom to many people.
One conclusion I draw is support for mandatory savings programs, including, in Slovakia, a 3-pillar pension reform where the first pillar is a minimum poverty amount, pay-as-you-go from the budget; the second pillar is a required savings amount, which becomes your own inheritable property; the third is a tax-advantaged optional savings amount.
Generally the irresponsible folk need to be forced to save more for themselves, to reduce the number of needy in the future.
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