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Power The Almighty Buck Politics Science

The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy 769

Posted by samzenpus
from the there-goes-the-sun dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "The NYT writes in an editorial that for the last few months, the Koch brothers and their conservative allies in state government have been spending heavily to fight incentives for renewable energy, by pushing legislatures to impose a surtax on this increasingly popular practice, hoping to make installing solar panels on houses less attractive. 'The coal producers' motivation is clear: They see solar and wind energy as a long-term threat to their businesses. That might seem distant at the moment, when nearly 40 percent of the nation's electricity is still generated by coal, and when less than 1 percent of power customers have solar arrays. But given new regulations on power-plant emissions of mercury and other pollutants, and the urgent need to reduce global warming emissions, the future clearly lies with renewable energy.' For example, the Arizona Public Service Company, the state's largest utility, funneled large sums through a Koch operative to a nonprofit group that ran an ad claiming net metering would hurt older people on fixed incomes (video) by raising electric rates. The ad tried to link the requirement to President Obama. Another Koch ad likens the renewable-energy requirement to health care reform, the ultimate insult in that world. 'Like Obamacare, it's another government mandate we can't afford,' the narrator says. 'That line might appeal to Tea Partiers, but it's deliberately misleading,' concludes the editorial. 'This campaign is really about the profits of Koch Carbon and the utilities, which to its organizers is much more important than clean air and the consequences of climate change.'"
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The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy

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  • Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <(ten.3dlrow) (ta) (ojom)> on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:12AM (#46857621) Homepage

    Seems like it is only a matter of time until coal power goes away. It will be a long time, granted, but in the next decade or two solar will get so cheap that the impact on traditional centralized generation will be quite severe. I guess they are watching what is happening in Germany with horror and realizing that is their future too.

    • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mellon (7048) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:15AM (#46857629) Homepage

      Actually, the real worry is the $20 trillion in stranded assets that the oil companies stand to lose if solar gets cheaper than carbon fuels quickly enough. So it's crucial that they keep their subsidies and prevent anyone else from growing through subsidies. This is a very real problem—it's not just some rich people being assholes, but rather some rich people who stand to become substantially less rich if things go the way they seem to be going.

      • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rmstar (114746) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:26AM (#46857685)

        This is a very real problemâ"it's not just some rich people being assholes, but rather some rich people who stand to become substantially less rich if things go the way they seem to be going.

        I thought the actual story was that if you or me dislike some policy we can go fuck ourselves, whereas if the Kochs dislike it, they get a real chance to change it.

        An oligarchy indeed [slashdot.org].

        What I also find a little unsettling is that most commenters, including you, don't seem to think much of that power imbalance (or even be aware of it) directly jumping to the solar vs. no solar issue.

        • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by slack_justyb (862874) on Monday April 28, 2014 @10:02AM (#46858551)

          ...most commenters, including you, don't seem to think much of that power imbalance

          Well I can't speak for parent, but honestly this has been the case since political power overtook that whole tribal test of strength thing back in the days. Submit a single instance where those who held the highest concentration of resources (money, slaves, oil (crude or olive), land, etc...) didn't use them to get favorable status from those who represented the people and then we'll talk.

          All the study proves is that which we've already known. Maybe it might incline some to give money to the underdogs, but to stir the population into change is way not on the plate. Even if a government is over thrown, eventually another props up and rich people (in resources not just money) just dig their claws in again. So since talking about something that's never going to go away no matter how much bug killer you spray on it, why not talk about something else?

          The whole idea should be let's make the solar companies rich so that they can do attack ads on coal, oil, and all them other folks. The only way anyone will make headway is to play the same game that's been played for the last six to ten millennia. Maybe in another ten to twenty millennia we will be ready to address this whole facet of humanity.

          • Well I can't speak for parent, but honestly this has been the case since political power overtook that whole tribal test of strength thing back in the days. Submit a single instance where those who held the highest concentration of resources (money, slaves, oil (crude or olive), land, etc...) didn't use them to get favorable status from those who represented the people and then we'll talk.

            Yes, wealth leads to a democratically dispropotionate influence over politics. That's why it matters how skewed the wealth distribution is. The more skewed it is, the larger fraction of power will be in the hands of the few rich. Inequality in the USA is rising, and the problem did not use to be as bad as it is now. In the 70s, the United States had a significantly lower Gini coefficient (though still much higher than most European countries), but it has been rising since then:
            http://www.americanprogress.or [americanprogress.org]

        • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by kilfarsnar (561956) on Monday April 28, 2014 @10:03AM (#46858555)

          I thought the actual story was that if you or me dislike some policy we can go fuck ourselves, whereas if the Kochs dislike it, they get a real chance to change it.

          If anyone ever wonders why fabulously rich people want to keep making more money, this is why. Money=Political Power in America. It's not about how many yachts, houses or G4's you have, once you're in the billionaires club. It's about how many Senators you have doing your bidding, and how many news stations you have framing your views. Like Walter White, they are in the empire business.

        • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday April 28, 2014 @10:46AM (#46859147) Journal

          Solyndra

          Subsidized "Green" energy in a nutshell.

          But, if you're a left wing nutjob who see "evil" only on the right side then by all means keep yelling "Koch Brothers". And pay no attention to Harry Reid's deal with the Chinese to land a job for his son in the Nevada Desert, under the auspices of "saving the tortoise".

          Corruption in the Political class is both (D) and (R), but until you realize that the enemy isn't the guys with the (R) behind their name, you're just substituting one "evil" for another. And at that point, you might as well go Cthulhu.

          • by Mashiki (184564)

            Don't forget the difference between the two, in the "evil Koch brothers" you've got private citizens and businesses. With Harry Reid's deal, you've got a senator who's using the BLM as his own private paramilitary force to go out and do his dirty work, while getting rich at it. Between the two? Well, there's corruption, political pandering, and then there's lobbying. The very worst that the Koch brothers are guilty of is the last two. While Reid is guilty of the first, and the real question is how deep

          • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Informative)

            by mellon (7048) on Monday April 28, 2014 @11:08AM (#46859401) Homepage

            There's no reason to think Solyndra was anything other than an investment that didn't pan out because the market changed. Accusations of cronyism weren't sustained by any evidence, and if there were evidence it would certainly have surfaced given the brightness of the spotlight that was shone on that failure. The Waltons also invested heavily in Solyndra, and took a beating. That loan program has a lower-than-average failure rate. And Solyndra failed because regular solar panels got cheaper, so glass tubes were no longer economical.

            The part of the Nevada desert where that solar plant was going to be built is over a hundred miles from the desert tortoise habitat.

            But hey, why let pesky facts get in the way of talking points?

          • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Informative)

            by guises (2423402) on Monday April 28, 2014 @11:29AM (#46859655)
            One company that went bankrupt which had received a subsidized loan, out of forty such companies, is exemplary of the whole program? A successful program which beat it's own return expectations by $2 billion?

            Okay, let's suppose that that's true. And let's suppose that some story about nepotism for Harry Reid's son (I've never heard of this) is just as bad as the Koch brothers buying our government, and let's suppose that corruption is exactly equal on both sides of the D / R line, all exactly as you say. So what? All things being equal then, I'd much rather have the clean energy than the dirty.
            • This, 1,000 times this.

              I get so angry about people complaining about how solar/renewable is so corrupt and is just going to make some old white guy rich. So, fucking, what?

              I'd rather have some rich white asshole pissing on me and telling me it's raining than have a different rich white asshole pissing on me and telling me it's rain while I choke to death on coal fumes. Yes, someone is going to get rich. Good for them. American dream and all that. If that means that the rest of us suffer with higher taxes in

          • Trying to keep us dependent on a fuel supply that is being steadily exhausted when alternatives exist is objectively bad. So yes, I'd be opposed to these actions if it were a Democrat doing it, too.

            Democrats sell us out to media conglomerations. Republicans sell us out to oil barons. Vote third party.

        • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dishevel (1105119) on Monday April 28, 2014 @11:39AM (#46859787)
          The problem is not the "Koch Brothers" or "Big Oil" or "Big Pharma" or "The Unions" or "Warren Buffet" or how much they spend on commercials.

          The problem is the people that vote because of the last commercial they saw. There are a lot of uninformed, stupid, lazy people who think it is a good idea that they vote anyway.

        • But is ok, because Tom Steyer is doing the exact opposite with his billions, not to mention Gates and Soros. Koch is not in the same league as Soros and Gates.

          All evens out in the end.

      • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MrNaz (730548) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:28AM (#46857701) Homepage

        This is a very real problem

        No, it's not really. The world has survived plenty of instances of entire technological paradigms becoming obsolete. Fossil fuels will become obsolete sooner or later, and the world will be better off for it. It's just a question of how long the elite (like the Koch brothers) can hold the welfare of the entire world hostage to their pointless shell game.

        • Actually, this is untrue. The world has never faced a technology which had the potential to take out the entire human ecosystem before. Fossil fuels certainly will become obsolete sooner or later - when 90% of the human population has died of starvation, they'll be obsolete. But it would be a much better thing if we could stop using them before we'd destroyed the atmospheric and ocean systems which we depend on for our survival.

          • Not the first (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sjbe (173966) on Monday April 28, 2014 @09:56AM (#46858483)

            The world has never faced a technology which had the potential to take out the entire human ecosystem before.

            You mean like nuclear weapons? Perhaps you are not old enough to remember the Cold War. We've had the capability to destroy the entire planet for roughly 60 years and on a few occasions have come disturbingly close to doing it. Fossil fuel pollution is a serious threat but it's not the first technology in a position to wipe us out entirely. Fossil fuel pollution has only become an acute threat in the last few decades though that should not be interpreted to minimize the seriousness of the problem.

        • by mellon (7048)

          It's a very real problem because the people whose oxen are about to be gored have a shitload of money, and nothing to lose by spending heavily now to prevent competition. Taking a passive attitude towards this problem (how long can the Koch brothers hold out) is a losing game, because there is a real cost associated with them holding out until all of the assets they hold have been consumed: 2800 gigatons of carbon dumped into an atmosphere that can't safely handle more than another 600.

        • by sjbe (173966) on Monday April 28, 2014 @09:20AM (#46858099)

          Fossil fuels will become obsolete sooner or later, and the world will be better off for it.

          While I would love that to be true, what technology do you think is going to make that happen? Solar and wind cannot do the job by themselves due to their unpredictability on time scales shorter than months. Nuclear fission is feasible but the waste and operational safety concerns make it too much of a political and economic hot potato. Geothermal and hydro simply aren't available in a lot of locations in sufficient quantity. Transmission losses force power generation to need to be relatively close to point of use and there is no economically viable form of superconductivity. Nuclear fusion and other more exotic power sources remain perpetually 25 years away.

          I'd love to say that fossil fuels are doomed but I don't see any reasonably likely scenario in at least the next 40 years where that could possibly be true. Sure we might see a breakthrough in fusion or energy storage that would change the equation significantly but we cannot presume such a breakthrough will occur. We absolutely should maximize our use of solar and wind. Nuclear could be a bigger piece of the energy pie. Fossil fuels should be regulated to ensure that they have to pay the full cost of their use including all pollution they cause. But will all that occur? I doubt it.

      • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo (196126) * <(ten.3dlrow) (ta) (ojom)> on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:45AM (#46857801) Homepage

        You would think that the sensible thing to do would be to invest all company profits into developing solar and other renewable energy so that they could become the market leaders in providing it, thus ensuring that they remain relevant in the future. As usual though they seem to have left it far too late and the need to post a quarterly profit + growth makes any long term planning or strategy impossible. It's suicide, essentially.

        • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mellon (7048) on Monday April 28, 2014 @09:16AM (#46858057) Homepage

          No, that's the problem. That's not the sensible thing for them to do. The sensible thing for them to do is try to perpetuate the status quo. If they start investing heavily in solar, there's no way they can avoid many trillions of dollars in losses. These are real assets that absolutely have to be devalued in the process of solar winning. So the later in the game solar wins, the fewer assets they have to write off.

        • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2014 @10:30AM (#46858913)

          You're under the mistaken impression that they're out to make money.

          They are not. They've already won that game. Once you reach a certain level of rich making more becomes irrelevant. When you can buy anything that's for sale you're done.

          These people are out to become kings. Literal monarchs. They only thing standing in their way is this thing called the "middle class". It's no coincidence that every policy pushed by these oligarchs is specifically designed to destroy the earning power, social mobility, and well being of everyone that's.. Well, not them.

          And it's working. The wealth gap is increasing at breakneck speeds. Your wages are stagnating. The social safety nets that keep you from falling in to poverty are evaporating. Your parents could buy a house, two cars, and send 2 kids to college on a single income with a high school diploma. You cannot.

          You are being attacked. When will you start fighting back?

      • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jonwil (467024) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:57AM (#46857887)

        If some rich person becomes less rich because people no longer want the dirty polluting coal their companies extract from the ground, GOOD. If that means a bunch of people no longer have a job going down into a hole every day digging out that filthy stuff, GOOD.

        Just like the motor car made the horse obsolete as a means of transport, there will come a time when mankind invents a technology (or technologies) that make the use of coal for generating electricity obsolete and that will be a GOOD thing for the planet.

        • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mellon (7048) on Monday April 28, 2014 @09:20AM (#46858101) Homepage

          Yes, that's all very well and good, but have you asked the rich person what s/he will do about this? Actually, you don't need to. They're already doing it. They're trying to completely pwn our political system in order to avoid having to lose that money. Yes, it would be good for them to lose that money, but that's not what's going to happen if they get their way.

          This is often depicted as the rich guys with the oil just acting crazy, but they aren't acting crazy. They are defending themselves, for good reason. If we want a good outcome here, we have to take their situation into account. An ideal outcome would be that they are given a way to dispose of those stranded assets that results in them taking a beating, but not so bad of a beating that they will do anything they can to avoid it. Just saying "let them lose" isn't really an option, because they don't want to lose, and they have a lot of power right now.

        • by BobMcD (601576)

          RTFA -

          The utilities hate this requirement, for obvious reasons. A report by the Edison Electric Institute, the lobbying arm of the power industry, says this kind of law will put âoea squeeze on profitability,â and warns that if state incentives are not rolled back, âoeit may be too late to repair the utility business model.â

          Since thatâ(TM)s an unsympathetic argument, the utilities have devised another: Solar expansion, they claim, will actually hurt consumers. The Arizona Public Service Company, the stateâ(TM)s largest utility, funneled large sums through a Koch operative to a nonprofit group that ran an ad claiming net metering would hurt older people on fixed incomes by raising electric rates. "

          Anything that impacts the business model will impact the bottom line, period. So you may be affluent and savvy enough to add homebrew solar to your own property. What about those who cannot? Since they are beholden to the monopoly, they WILL be made to suffer for your advantage. This is called 'an economy', and is widely believed (outside of the Blue Team) to exist.

          So you're essentially saying "If it means the projects and nursing homes either pay through the nose or go dark, GOOD."

          But because you

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Luckyo (1726890)

      What makes you think that? Germany's Energiewiende is a horror show of failures and disgusting cost overruns so far going so far as to actually provide direct proof for some of the claims in the story (after it was implemented, Germany actually started to have a concept of energy poverty, people who cannot afford electricity). Coal is about the only reliable and cheap source of power that we have enough raw materials for for several hundred years into the future that can be easily maintained or expanded as

      • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:25AM (#46857683)

        Coal seems safe because the consequences are diffuse enough not to be noticed. A few thousand more people impaired by mercury exposure, a couple more hurricanes a year - but nothing you can point to and declare 'Coal did this.'

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Luckyo (1726890)

          You miss my point. Consequences of not having power are several orders of magnitude worse. Power has to be generated somewhere. And unless you have a perpetual motion machine, or invented functional fusion reactor (or a way to improve fission's reputation in the eyes of the public) we're pretty much stuck with coal.

        • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by nojayuk (567177) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:53AM (#46857875)

          You can point to, for example, the Aberfan disaster and say "Coal killed a hundred kids" or to the death toll from coal mining and transport year on year and say "Coal killed these workers" (China proudly announced the death toll from coal mining had fallen below 3000 per annum a couple of years back. It used to be a lot higher). That's on top of the mercury, cadmium, radon, sulphuric acid fumes, dioxins, beryllium, arsenic and the thousands of tonnes of other toxic wastes spread through the atmosphere and over agricultural lands and deposited in rivers and oceans every year which kills and maims people who don't work with coal directly. But nuclear power is worse somehow.

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      I guess they are watching what is happening in Germany with horror and realizing that is their future too.

      You mean Germany's record high lignite consumption? Yeah, that is truly horrible. Lignite is actually considerably worse than coal in terms of CO2 emitted per kWh produced.

      Using locally produced solar energy in a northern area that sees peak energy usage in the middle of winter is not really a good idea, unless you have a storage system that can store solar energy for 6+ months so that you can use the summer sun to heat you in winter.

      • by sjbe (173966) on Monday April 28, 2014 @09:00AM (#46857909)

        Using locally produced solar energy in a northern area that sees peak energy usage in the middle of winter is not really a good idea

        They don't use air conditioning in Germany? Solar isn't going to fix every problem but even if it can solve just part of the problem then it remains a good idea. Why would you not want to use relatively clean solar energy for at least those times when it is available? The only credible argument against solar power is an economic one. No it will not be able to supply all our power needs but neither is any other single source of fuel. They all have drawbacks of one sort or another. What seems abundantly clear however is that any technology that allows us to reduce use of fossil fuels at reasonable economic cost is a good thing.

        There is this stupid tendency here on slashdot to dismiss partial solutions to any problem as unworkable. Solar does not have to supply all our energy needs to still be a good idea. The economics of it still need to make sense but there is no principled reason why it should not be a significant part of the energy supply equation.

    • by sjbe (173966) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:50AM (#46857833)

      Seems like it is only a matter of time until coal power goes away. It will be a long time, granted, but in the next decade or two solar will get so cheap that the impact on traditional centralized generation will be quite severe.

      I hope you are correct but I think you are being wildly optimistic. Coal isn't going to disappear anytime in the next 40+ years baring some unexpected technological breakthrough. The US and China have HUGE amounts of coal and can get to it relatively cheaply. Solar will not catch up on a cost basis without continued subsidies for an unclear amount of time. Coal has an economic advantage because power plants that utilize coal are not required to pay the full economic cost. Even the cleanest coal plants are able to dump significant amounts of pollutants into the environment without any economic direct consequences. To level the playing field coal will need to be required to account for these costs and I don't really see that happening in any reasonably foreseeable configuration of political leadership in most of the world. There simply are too many people making too much money from fossil fuels for that to be likely to occur.

      Solar is advancing relatively fast but it's no panacea and absent some energy storage breakthrough it's of limited use when the sun isn't shining. We should definitely advance solar as far as it will take us but it's not going to solve the entire problem alone. Same issue with wind. Very useful but difficult to predict availability on short time scales. Nuclear fission is current the only non-fossil fuel power source we have with sufficient generating capacity to serve as a base load in place of fossil fuel sources in places not blessed with hydro or geo-thermal close by. Obviously fission carries its own set of problems which are well known.

      I guess they are watching what is happening in Germany with horror and realizing that is their future too.

      Germany is spending a LOT of money to subsidize solar. It's unclear whether this is economically sensible though I do hope that their experiment proves a success. However there are (too) many here in the US who regard that sort of subsidy as blasphemy and will do everything they can to fight it. The fact that many of these same people will ironically support subsidies (both explicit and implicit) for fossil fuel production will never come up because they are supported by that industry.

    • Re:Buggy whips? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Illserve (56215) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:59AM (#46857903)

      Actually what is happening in Germany is a not an entirely rosy picture for the renewables industry. Their energy prices have been spiking, while simultaneously CO2 emissions have been increasing as a consequence of their new policies.

      As evidence of the uncomfortable position that German is now in, their Vice Chancellor is reported to have said :

      “The truth is that the Energy U-Turn (“Energiewende”, the German scheme aimed at pushing the “renewable” share of electricity production to 80 % by 2050) is about to fail”
      “The truth is that under all aspects, we have underestimated the complexity of the “Energiewende”
      “The noble aspiration of a decentralized energy supply, of self-sufficiency! This is of course utter madness”
      “Anyway, most other countries in Europe think we are crazy”

      Unfortunately my German is too rusty to confirm this for myself, but here's the video feed if anyone is interested in seeing it:

      http://www.1730live.de/sigmar-... [1730live.de]

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:14AM (#46857623)

    ...that you disapprove just as much of Michael Bloomberg (another billionaire that spends a lot of money trying to influence politics) when he decides to buy a "grass roots" effort as you do when the Koch Brothers try to do so?

    Or does the choice of cause mean that one billionaire trying to influence politics is worse than the other billionaire trying to influence politics?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:26AM (#46857689)

      Buying influence in politics is bad enough without people trying to make scientific issues political.

    • by ohieaux (2860669)
      Damn, where are my Mod Points today? +1
    • by rmdingler (1955220) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:43AM (#46857773)
      Rich guys attempt to influence industry dear to their hip pockets.

      In other news, the damage from these abuses of democracy could be mitigated with some sane campaign contribution reform legislation.

      Yes, wealth will always have more than its proportionate share of say, but it gets worse if you leave it alone to fix itself.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or does the choice of cause mean that one billionaire trying to influence politics is worse than the other billionaire trying to influence politics?

      You are pointing out two problems with the U.S.A. here: the first problem is that low taxation, inheritable business empires and riches and lots of exceptions make it possible for billionaires or ultra-rich people to emerge as a class on its own who have millions of times the resources at their disposal as the working class does, obviously without any remotely p

  • Greedy douchebags. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:15AM (#46857633)

    America is being made worse by what the rich choose to fight.

    They're more interested in protecting their own (sizable) wealth than they are about the future of humanity, the environment, or anything else.

    These assholes should be suspended over the smokestack of a coal plant for about 6 months.

  • Help! (Score:5, Funny)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:20AM (#46857647)
    Where is Captain Planet when we need him?!
  • Which Koch brother is this? [youtube.com]

  • When the Koch brothers tried to attach climate change, we got the B.E.S.T. study. If this is equally counterproductive we'll be running the world on solar power within a week.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:28AM (#46857705)

    Can you spot the irony in all this? These corporations that are fighting against government subsidized green energy are all those who have themselves grown enormously through different types of government subsidies.

    It's amazing how well the twisted corporationist logic sinks into the general public. The corporations on one hand speak for capitalism and free market, but on the other they cling to government subsidies and form monopolies effectively wiping out any competition on their markets.

    Roosevelt once stated that this type of centralization of power in the private sector that corporations have today, could eventually lead to fascism. In some way, I don't think he was too far off.

    • by catchblue22 (1004569) on Monday April 28, 2014 @10:31AM (#46858927) Homepage

      Roosevelt once stated that this type of centralization of power in the private sector that corporations have today, could eventually lead to fascism. In some way, I don't think he was too far off.

      Thank you for mentioning Roosevelt. I did a search just now and came up with his address [ucsb.edu] to Congress on curbing monopolies in 1938. I think it gives me more of an idea as to the real reasons for WWII: private power versus public power.

      Here is an exerpt:

      Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people.

      The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

      The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living.

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