“Veblen put forth a basic distinction between the productiveness of ‘industry’ run by skilled engineers, which manufactures real goods of utility, and the parasitism of ‘business,’ which exists only to make profits for a leisure class which engages in ‘conspicuous consumption’. The only economic contribution by the leisure class is ‘economic waste’, activities that contribute negatively to productivity. By implication, Veblen saw the US economy as being made inefficient and corrupt by men of ‘business’ who deviously put themselves in an indispensable position in society.”
“I’d go Rothbard one further. Why is the criterion for de facto government status the amount of profits directly subsidized from state revenue? What about corporations that function within a web of state regulatory protections, and artificial property rights like Bill Gates’ ‘intellectual property,’ without which they couldn’t operate in black ink for a single day. Anyone who’s read much of my work for any length of time knows that I consider the entire Fortune 500 a pretty good proxy for such de facto branches of the state. As I already argued in an earlier post, the largest corporations are so intertwined with the state that the very distinction between ‘public’ and ‘private’ becomes meaningless.”
"Fortunately, it won’t work. If you think the music industry has a hard time combating file-sharing, just wait till the old-line manufacturing companies try to prevent hundreds of thousands of hardware hackers in neighborhood garage factories from replicating 'pirated' industrial designs on CAD files from The Pirate Bay.
"This is a desperate, last-ditch effort by the rentier classes, the lords of scarcity who’ve lived off our sweat for five thousand years, to stave off their inevitable demise."