Posts Tagged ‘Special Advisers’

‘Commission Managment’: The Nazi Term for Public-Private Partnership and the Use of Special Advisors from Industry

August 3, 2013

I’ve already discussed the use of personnel from big business and industry in government, and the establishment of government organs as private corporations in the Third Reich in my post on Spamfish’s post on Wolin’s idea that America is now an ‘Illiberal Democracy’. Another example of this was the appointment of the industrialist Carl Krauch as general plenipotentiary for chemicals and director of the Reich Office for Economic Consolidation , a subordinate body to the Reich Ministry of Economics. The Reich Ministry of Economics was itself in practice the ‘executive organ of the Commissioner for the Four Year Plan’. Under Goring’s management the Organisation for the Four Year Plan appointment a number of business leaders, like Krauch, as general plenipotentiaries.

Krauch had been on the board of I.G. Farben from 1926. From 1933 onwards he was an adviser to the Aviation Ministry, and to Brabag, which was responsible for producing artificial fuel. Krauch initially headed the research division of the Office for Raw Materials and Stock in the Organisation of the Four Year Plan. IN this role he had the full support of I.G. Farben’s board, and could use the company’s planning staff. He also took some of the staff from I.G. Farben to work with him in the Office of the Four year Plan. He was made general plenipotentiary for chemicals in 1938. The Reich Ministry for Aviation and Economics urged him to resign from I.G. Farben and become a state official, and was willing to appoint him state secretary. Krauch turned the offer down after consulting Bosch. he retained his seat on the I.G. Farben’s board, and in 1940 was appointed head as chairman of the company’s supervisory board. Krauch’s position in the Reich ministry was honorary, and he was not officially employed by them, nor was he included in the organisation’s budget. He was regarded with suspicion by other firms because of his continued links with I.G. Farben, and by the state economic bureaucracy, which was used to the strict separation of public and private organisations. The use of expert technicians like Krauch was expanded and became increasingly typical. While Goring and the General Council of the Four Year Plan were responsible for the ministry’s decisions, these were strongly influenced by the suggestions of their plenipotentiaries and by members of staff from the private armaments industry. These were ultimately responsible to the Armaments Ministry, but the ministry’s central administration rarely rejected their suggestions. Krauch described this adoption of managers from private industry in government as the assumption of state duties by the independent sector of the economy. It was described by other political theorists as a new form of ‘Commission Management’. In addition to using advisors and personnel from the Nazi party bureaucracy, the management apparatus of official from private industry was also used at the expense of a uniform state administration. The parallels here between the Nazi use of managers and technicians from private industry, and their use, along with Special Advisors, by contemporary British administrations since Margaret Thatcher as part of an ideology of Public-Private Partnerships are very strong indeed.

The Friends of the Reichsfuhrrer SS

Private industry also sponsored the SS. The Friends of the Reichsfuhrer SS was a group of heads of industry and bankers in Berlin. They donated money and even equipped whole SS units. AS a reward, the group became honorary members of the SS and influential personal contact with its leader, Himmler. One of the advantages this gave the group’s members was access to cheap labour from the concentration camps. To use this slave labour, the SS demanded a price of 6 marks per man per day.

Clearly there is no real comparison between Cameron’s policies and the Friends of the Reichsfuhrer SS, except in the most general sense of private industry donating money to the Conservatives, and other political parties, such as New labour, in return for governmental favours. There might be some if, the DWP adopts the recommendation of independent policy advisors to expand the use of residential centres for the disabled and long-term unemployed, to be employed on workfare, run by private contractors. Nevertheless, it demonstrates the ultimate extent to which the Nazis attracted and exploited contacts with private industry.

Sources

Martin Broszat, The Hitler State (London: Longman 1981)

Friends of the Reichsfuhrer SS, in James Taylor and Warren Shaw, A Dictionary of the Third Reich (London: Grafton 1987) p. 132.

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Vox Political on Cameron as Political Whore, and Political Parties as Corporation Power Brokers

July 29, 2013

My brother, Mike, has an interesting piece reporting on Michael Meacher’s description of Cameron as a corporate whore on his blog. Entitled, Cameron, Corrupt Corporate Whore, According to Meacher, it begins

It seems opponents of the Coalition have realised its degraded claim to be a government is worthless and have decided to pour contempt on it at every opportunity.

I mention this after seeing Michael Meacher’s excellent column on David Cameron. The fake Prime Minister’s instincts, according to Mr Meacher are “that there is no such thing as the rule of law, and that the only things that ultimately matter are power, fear and money”.

These words should come as hammer-blows to Cameron’s credibility. It is to his credit that Michael Meacher has written them – but also to the shame of the Labour front bench that none of them had the guts to come out with it first.

Mr Meacher supports his claims by laying out a wealth of evidence that, while the comedy PM crows on and on about Labour’s (non-existent) pandering to the unions, “there is almost nothing… that Cameron won’t do, no commercial interest he will disdain, no policy he will refuse to alter if it will ingratiate himself with the sources of money and power… He has prostrated himself before a wide range of commercial interests by changing government policy to suit them in order to recruit their money and power for himself and his party in the lead-up to 2015″.

Mike and Michael Meacher then provide the proof in various policies Cameron has adopted due to lobbying from different companies.

Now I have to say that I think political parties, through forging links with private industry and think tanks, are rapidly changing from institutions of government above the organisations, corporations and social groups they regulate, into power brokers, whose role is to allow these private interests access to governmental power. If you look at all three parties, including New Labour, their conferences are sponsored by industries and corporations. Their leading members frequently have careers in those corporations, or use staff on secondment from them, and the policies they enact have been drawn up by those very same companies. The only role the parties have is to choose which parties they will favour, and provide a democratic front for policies that have been formulated in private by private companies or associated think tanks in their own interest.

Now there has always been corruption and influence peddling in politics. American politics is notorious for the way a big corporation, which sponsor a politico’s election campaign all the while expecting him to return the favour once in office. Under New Labour and the Coalition, however, this type of corruption has become institutionalised. Private industry has supplied legions of Special Advisors, in opposition to the Civil Service, which traditionally had the duty to supply ministers with suggestions for future policy.

As for what can be done about, a good start would be listing, which MPs have connections to which companies, and how they have voted in these companies’ favour. Private Eye did this during Major’s government, when he did his best to put off any legislation against the tobacco and alcohol industries.