Maryann Tobin

For all the Americans out there worried about President Barack Obama creating some kind of socialist government, your fears are misdirected. What you should be afraid of is much worse.

An examination of the collective elements of various political and economic systems creates the hypothesis for corporate communism; a state in which corporations own all land, and control the production and distribution of goods, and public and private services.

What’s happening in 21st century America has never happened precisely as it is occurring today, although history points to similar social and economic events. Most stem from unsustainable rifts between rich and poor; what we are calling today, income inequality.

Income inequality does not happen by accident. It grows over time, out of a cooperative effort between business and government. The wealthy use money to influence the makeup of government, and the government then uses its corrupted power to shift the balance of prosperity toward business at the expense of the masses. It can do this is multiple ways, but the most visible is taxation.

As the wealthy acquire more wealth, they acquire more power to influence government. In the process, human rights fall, while corporate rights rise, until the power of governance rests primarily in the hands of the corporations. Democracy has avenues for achieving this, as evidenced in the corrupting influence of Citizens United, but democracy cannot be sustained under it.

Corporate communist theory

Economists and philosophers can try to label the changes taking place in the American political and social landscape, but no one particular term really fits. Instead, what we seem to have emerging is a hybrid system; a cross between capitalism, communism, socialism and fascism. (Notice how democracy is not included.)

The difference between socialism and communism is subtle, but has a huge effect on the lives of the people living under each.

While both forms of government are complex and include elements of capitalism, the basic difference is that a socialist government can (but is not required) to control the production of products, and individuals are allowed to own property. Socialism employs the power of government to create a more even distribution of wealth through various forms of taxation, government sponsored programs and business regulation. The object of socialism is for government to maintain a large middle class, with little extremism on either end of the economic or social spectrum.

With communism, the government owns everything including the land. In other words, communism is socialism on steroids.

There is another element to socialism that sets it apart from communism and it is perhaps the most important. Socialism coexists with democracy, capitalism, a multiparty political system and freedom for citizens.

Communism, on the other hand, is a one-party political system more aligned with the powers of a dictatorship. Citizens don’t necessarily have voting rights and have no freedom, except whatever the government chooses to give them. Human rights abuses and corruption are common.

Too often, people forget or don’t realize that capitalism is not actually a form of government, but instead an economic and social class system that is integrated into all political systems in varying degrees.

The limited choices of fascism have taken hold in several US states. Single-party rule, which is also an element of communism, in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Texas, among others, has been repressive toward voting rights, equal rights, women's rights, and the general concept of democracy. In these states, the government has been able to force ideological and religious policies into law without opposition.

By definition, “Fascism arose during the 1920s and '30s partly out of fear of the rising power of the working classes; it differed from contemporary communism by its protection of business and landowning elites and its preservation of class systems.”

Fascism also fosters income inequality, which is a growing an undeniable fact of modern American life.

Which system is better?

Since there is no completely pure economic or political system in existence on the planet, it’s not possible to declare one better than another. However, the countries that boast of the most successful economic and social environments are social democracies.

Democratic Socialists of America describe it this way:

“Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few...

Democracy and socialism go hand in hand. All over the world, wherever the idea of democracy has taken root, the vision of socialism has taken root as well—everywhere but in the United States. Because of this, many false ideas about socialism have developed in the US.”

So, is it better for the masses to play a collective role in governing? Or is it better to have power concentrated in the hands of a few?

In a democracy, whether it is socialist–leaning or not, voters decide that. Under communism they cannot, because they either don’t have the right to vote, or the election process is highly corrupt.

The propaganda machine

The business/government partnership that is creating the hypothesis of corporate communism is not going to label it as such. The mere combination of words would cause an uproar. Instead, politicians use words that people have positive reactions to, like, “free enterprise” and “job creators,” and “economic freedom.” They tell their constituents that their economic suffering is due to a lack of corporate capital, and then promote government-financed incentives as a solution. But there is little truth to their words. According to Forbes, American corporations are hording record stockpiles of cash in overseas banks and investments totaling more than $1.45 trillion. Do they really need more tax breaks and government subsidies?

As corporations gain more power, monopolies are formed and that takes away free choice. It also stifles the basics of free market capitalism by limiting opportunities for small business entrepreneurs.

What Americans should be worried about is corporate conglomerations owning everything from land to goods and public services. Such trends are already underway and are a much bigger threat to the fundamentals that built America than any other economic or political structure.

Author’s note: The opinions and commentary included in this report are based on the author’s original reporting and independent analysis of official documents and public information.

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