You Are Thinking Of The Term “Corporatocracy”
I’ve been seeing this error a lot recently. Let’s very briefly clarify the difference between these two.
Corporatocracy is a term used to refer to an economic, political and judicial system controlled by corporations or corporate interests.
Corporatism is a political ideology which advocates the organization of society by corporate groups, such as agricultural, labour, military, business, scientific, or guild associations, on the basis of their common interests.
Both are usually referred to as political systems, but as you can tell when you read the definitions, they are very different.
Whenever anybody is talking about corporations controlling everything, that is a corporatocracy. It is not corporatism. It is not fascism. It is where the power cycle is Institutions -> Government -> People and the major institutions are the corporations.
Whenever anybody is talking about government owning the major corporations, that is generally historic corporatism (fascism). The power cycle is Government -> Institutions -> People.
In both systems, the people are subjugated. But that does not render the direction of power of the other two societal power centers as unimportant. Whether the government or the institutions are pushing that power does make a difference. A very large one, as history has shown.
If the government and the institutions are to merge, then it’s neither fascism, corporatism, or corporatocracy. It is socialism (which is when the government and the means of production are one – “the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned by the community (government) as a whole”).
In neither corporatism or corporatocracy do the two entities merge like under socialism, they merely control the other one. Under corporatocracy, it results in corporations controlling both the government and the people. In historic corporatism, the government owns both the corporations and the people (by being the dominant and “Final-Say” negotiator/mediator between the interest guilds). In socialism, there is no distinction because they have merged as a whole.
Corporatocracy is usually said in a derogatory manner. No one actually supports corporatocracy as a political system, besides perhaps some fringe lunatic CEOs.
Corporatism is still practiced to this day in places like Hong Kong with their functional constituencies. It is not fascism-dependent, nor is it “control by corporations” as we think of modern corporations. It is based on guilds and interest groups. Historically, corporatism is tied with the political system of fascism because they used a corporatist economic system where the interest groups negotiated amongst themselves, while the state had the final say. But this state domination is not required in corporatism, as Hong Kong shows. In many ways, a modified variant of corporatism would be far superior to that of capitalism, as Hong Kong in its prime had demonstrated. It does not necessarily have to come side-by-side with tyranny or evil corporations.
An easy way to tell if something is corporatist is to see if the structure requires the component in question to be broken down based on common interest groups. Control by corporations does not do this. In fact, they often do the opposite, such as try to limit community-formation and common interest groups altogether to give them more power.
These terms are horrifically misused. Fascism is not corporatism. Corporatism is not corporatocracy. Fascism is not socialism. Corporatism is not socialism. And every other iteration. They are all separate and independent of one another and to try to boil them all down to the same thing is what people do that cannot comprehend difficult concepts.
In the United States, we are not corporatist. Neither are we fascist. Nor are we socialist. We are, however, becoming more corporatocratic by the hour. Corporations and other societal institutions (IE: The “Deep State”, the intelligentsia, cultural markers, etc) are gaining much more power than our actual governmental system. The people are becoming more subjugated by this institutional power force through government and institutional action. A merging (advancement toward socialism) has already started to occur and could continue into the future.
I hear this mistake from most on the centrist and soft-Right. I expect it from them. But recently I’ve even begun hearing prominent dissident Right-wingers confusing these terms.
Get the words right or don’t use them. It makes meaningful discourse nearly impossible because no one seems to know what the words they are using actually mean.
And if you notice others misusing this term, link them to this article.