The concept of free market is based on the principles of supply and demand. It means that supply and demand interact in a free market without any external interference. Free market competition encourages and promotes creativity, innovation, hard work, competitive pricing, quality control and better customer service. Market forces, supply and consumer derive market toward a particular direction and goals. Since, market is run by natural and neutral forces, all the factors remain in balance.
Because the direction of any given market is driven by hidden market forces, it usually does not suit special interest. So, special interest is always interested in distorting the market and its forces, to change the market direction in its favor. The three instruments, totally tied together, always come handy for this purpose. These are money, power and connections. As a matter of fact money is the most important instrument, as it is often used to buy power and connections. The major source of power in this equation is usually government. That is why special interest is always very much interested in more and more concentration of power, to make the task of buying power easy and relatively cheaper. It comes in many different forms. Kings, aristocracy, theocracy, bureaucracy, and in modern world, big media and lobbies.
More concentrated the power is, better it is for special interest. A true democracy and capitalism, with real equal opportunities for everyone, are the biggest hurdles in the way of special interest. This trio of money, power and connections (influence or network) has traditionally and historically worked in so many different ways. In this article we will try to explain, the way it works in contemporary world.
Traditionally the use of money to buy influential people is called bribery. But, bribery is illegal, and voters hate it. So, they needed to find a way around this hurdle. Hence, they invented lobbies. The original purpose and intention behind lobbies was good. They were designed to provide necessary related information to legislators, regarding a given legislation. As it has always been in connections driven, bribery based networks, lobbies soon became powerful instruments for buying and purchasing people in power, namely, government.
Buying and purchasing government officials like president, members of congress, Supreme Court and other justices and judges, media, government agency officials, Federal Reserve officials, takes place in many different ways, by the methods, used by multimillion dollar corporate lobbies. Most government officials, after they become very influential in public and government circles, are bought by these lobbies, commonly known as ‘hiring’ by lobbies. These former government officials are offered and paid exuberant amounts of money, as a compensation, to use their public and official influence, in the favor of lobbies and their corporate bosses. By the way, in most cases, this favoritism, has nothing to do with national or public interest. It is directly related to the special interest, they represent and getting paid by.
These sold out people, through their very well established connections in different government circles, provide easy and influential access to powerful people and decision makers in government, for these lobbies and corporations, something you and me cannot even imagine of. If the government official, connected to lobbies, still needs to save his or her face, for various reasons like a continued career in politics, he or she can stay in background, and easily use someone like spouse, co-worker, employee, friend, proxy or another professional lobbyist. These highly influential, sold out lobbyists, with their far better access to existing government officials, provide offers like campaign financing, in return for forwarding and supporting the agenda of their bosses and payers. These lobbyists usually have a very well established relationship and access to media to. As soon as the sold out government official / officials start supporting and promoting the special interest, proxies in big media start trumpeting that agenda as well. They are provided special and prominent coverage on leading news and talk shows, in prime time. Soon they make everyone talking about it, at home, at work, in parties and other gatherings, everywhere. Since special interest is usually related to highly controversial issues, this starts conversations and discussions in other media outlets, too. People and journalists, for and against the initiative, start talking about it, everywhere. Articles are published, and comments, commentaries, reviews and analyses are written. Even if the initiative is most controversial, and hated by a vast majority of people, there are always some influential politicians and journalists talking in its favor, thanks to the perks offered by rich and influential lobbies. In public forums like Internet blogs and comments on articles, even though most people are hating the initiative or suggestion for legislation, there is always a very significant proportion of blind followers, who would favor the initiative, regardless of anything, for reasons like their party affiliation, love for a big media channel, fan of a politicians, journalist or other celebrity, etc. These people are usually far more active in public forums, hence, their weight is felt far more than actual, even if they are a very small minority. All this mumbo jumbo created by lobby money, makes it look like having a mixed reaction.
After this, the sold out legislatures forward it in the form of a bill for legislation, in congress. This is when the lobby spending comes into full swing. Millions are spent in buying the votes of legislatures. Most of the payments are done in the form of current and / or future campaign financing. Although other methods of payment also exist like introducing earmarks into the bill, to favor specific legislator / legislatures.
Now, even if most of the public still hates it, the overall impression created by big media coverage and mixed reactions in public forums, is that it has a mixed reaction. So, the politicians and big media can easily get away with their corruption. An average person, due to all that hype created by lobby money, contrary to the fact, does not feel like that something is being imposed on them out of blue. They think that the legislation was adopted after a considerable discussion and the usual, and expected mixed reaction from people.
My friends, in spite of its all unfairness and favoritism, this is how crony capitalism and democracy of favoritism, generates and maintains the impression of fairness in our Democracy and Capitalism, dominated by rich and powerful corporate lobbies.
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