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The Coming Crony Capitalist Crackup
A Conversation with Ralph Nader

TAI board member Tyler Cowen recently spoke with activist and presidential candidate Ralph Nader about his new book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State, which looks at some of the ways American politics is aligning against crony capitalism and special privileges for corporations. The following is an edited version of their interview. You can download the unedited transcript of the interview here.

Published on: June 24, 2014
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  • johngbarker

    Nader is correct about the Flynn effect. The level of general knowledge for Americans is about where it was in 1900. Corporate driven school reform is driving history and literature out of the k12 curriculum to make more time for “critical thinking” about what I do not know.

    • qet

      IQ is not a measure of knowledge or of understanding. Most IQ tests merely measure a person’s ability to recognize and transpose images and other visual symbols. People with really high IQs tend to be really good at math and formal deductive logic, but not necessarily at anything else. These IP tests also measure speed of ability to process and manipulate symbols. In other words, IQ tests measure computational abilities only. Knowledge presented to such a high IQ person in a form other than symbols is mostly useless to that person; his superior abilities begin and end in the realm of calculation and deduction according to specified rules. Of course I am painting with a broad brush and there are always exceptions to be found to this, as to any, generalization.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Ralph Nader is a living hero of modern American philosophy. I wish we could have elected him president a long time ago. BUT, WE COULDN’T BECAUSE MODERN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ARE EFFECTIVELY BINARY—–TWO PARTIES, NOT THREE (UNLESS THE “FAR RIGHT” CREATES A FOURTH PARTY)——WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT. I wish Ralph had run as a Democrat, where he might have had a chance. In 2000, Nader was a far better candidate than Al Gore—–but, gee, we GOT George Bush by the process we followed.

    Meanwhile, we should be looking for places of agreement between the poles of ideology. I believe three little ones might include:

    1) Cable TV should be sold by the channel, not by the package.
    2) We can and should reduce the growing number of unrestrained pit bull dogs.
    3) Prescription drugs should not be advertised directly to consumers.

    • qet

      I have to disagree with you here. Nader has little to do with philosophy of any sort as far as I can tell (that is not by itself a bad thing). Nader’s notions of justice are conventional materialist notions. I do not disagree with everything he says; he has been dogged in dedicating his life to exposing bad corporate behavior (and I admire that dedication). But I see his cure as worse than the disease. The last thing I want government to be encouraged to do is to protect me from everything and everyone. That is part of what the Right is fighting today, at least as I see it.

      • FriendlyGoat

        And THAT is why the “right” is deluded. They let people sneak into their heads and their replace their natural aversion to corporate control of government with your air-headed description of “everything and everyone”.

  • circleglider

    tl;dr

    Ralph Nader still refuses to acknowledge public choice theory.

  • stanbrown

    Most corporate money in politics is protection money. As a group politicians and the news media are far more corrupt than business people — if for no other reason than business gets incredible scrutiny, politicians much less, and the news media corruption close to zero attention.

  • Anthony

    Ralph Nader said it best to Tyler Cowan here: “a good way to rationalize their withdrawal from the great work of human beings” (humanists of the deed). Regarding Corporatism, it is here to stay (especially given that many unreflective aspirants identify themselves psychologically to its subtle and not so subtle lures – hoping for physical association with the upper owning classes).

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  • Pete

    Same old Nader.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The way to fix this cronyism, is to just not tax businesses as if they were people. All businesses are owned by people that pay taxes, so a business’s profit is really the owner’s profit, and taxing it twice suppresses business activity and the nation’s GDP. Also, it is said that $400+ billion is spent every year on tax compliance, this is over 20% of the $2 Trillion in taxes collected. As mentioned in the article there are entire departments in large companies devoted to tax compliance and avoidance, not to mention the expense of Lobbyists and purchased Politicians. So, get rid of all business taxes, and save huge amounts of money on tax compliance, crony capitalist corruption, and the contorted inefficient business plans designed to prevent paying taxes. Also as a side benefit, every business in the world will want to be located in the US, to take advantage of the 0% tax rates on businesses. And the offshore money laundering Banking, will vanish as no longer needed when you can just do your Banking in the US (there is Trillions of Dollars in off shore banking centers which would be better served invested in legitimate enterprises). The tax collections won’t suffer, as the profits the businesses would normally pay taxes on, will be passed on to the owners who will pay taxes on them.

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