The belief that markets and minimally regulated business provide human society with what it needs and don't have a tendency in the extreme to compromise quality of life. This belief characterizes adherents of neo-liberal economic theory, and is analogous to the more familiar form of fascism, totalitarianist nationalism, in that its adherents are authoritarians putting all their faith in and extolling the virtues of the dominant power structure of the day.

Extreme unregulation and public accommodation of business leads to the aggregation of power in corporate structures which are unresponsive to, and often antithetical to, the needs and wants of actual human society. Market fascists believe that the process of competition makes these institutions responsive to human needs and wants, but this requires a view of human needs and wants as limited to the consumption of goods and services, ignoring for example the human needs and wants for autonomy, social safety, meaningful connected work, universal justice, and a pristine environment - just as nationalist fascism requires a similarly limited view of human needs and wants.

I must take exception with some arguments of ryano's below

First of all, market absolutists DO maintain, at least outwardly when they are forced to adopt the facade of caring about humanity's well being, that their order is a simple solution to complex problems. "Just let the market work its magic" is a typical phrase I've heard. "A rising tide lifts all boats." Secondly, like the adherents of 'market absolutism,' nationalist fascists DO indeed present their particular order as the natural order of things. Certain races and classes were born to rule through inherent superiority, they posit, and this hierarchy should be allowed to express itself and should not be questioned. Just think of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, the cinematic expression of these people.

The more you look, the more these two strains of fascism look alike. Indeed, during the 30s, Nazi sympathy and market absolutism went hand in hand almost to a man among the elites of America. Even the aesthetic sense of both market absolutism and totalitarian nationalism are remarkably similar. The cover artwork of your typical Ayn Rand book could be interchangeable with any Nazi or even Soviet propaganda poster. The reason is simple, these two impulses come from the same place in the human psyche. Hence, market absolutism is properly seen as a form of fascism.

A Market Fascist is unable to accept criticism of a free market/neoliberal/capitalist economic system, believing utterly that unfettered trade is inherently good.

Adherents to market fascism also tend to equate consumption with democracy; so-called "voting with dollars".

As the market becomes the dominant social model, meaningful participation in society is reduced to expressing "brand loyalty" or, at least, acquiring status-symbolic material posessions.

Members of a market fascist society are usually referred to simply as "consumers"; not as "people" and/or "citizens". This is indicative of the political/socioeconomic role they are expected to play.

Rather than have any access to publicly accountable policy makers (who, under market fascism, are not the true wielders of political power anyway), consumers are limited to interaction with marketers, advertisers, and product developers. Focus groups, opinion polls, tracking of internet surfing habits and Nielsen ratings (among other things) become the arbiters of social policy.

It's quite important to make a difference between ideal (utopian) libertarianism and market fascism. Whereas a libertarian is an anarchist opposing the state and every aspect of it, a market fascist does not have any trouble building up barriers of any sort that benefit himself if they are disguised with appropriate rhetoric. This was what Reaganomics was all about: The principles of "free" trade were forced on other people and nations but we were allowed to subsidy our industries whatsoever. For example, that was the way how the rice production in Haiti was destroyed: The Haitian government was forced to withdraw all trade barriers and subsidied American agriculture (heavy increase on subsidies under Reagan) dumped Haiti with cheap rice effectively putting the end for local farming.

A market fascist loves taxes if taxes are returned to private sector through subsidies and used to lure investments. It's okay for a government to steal citizens' money if government only invests heavily on the infrastructure providing good conditions for corporations' production. A market fascist doesn't have any trouble raising taxes if the money is spent on buying weapons from private companies.

A market fascism is an orthodoxy. Even when market fascist institutions like World Bank themselves admit their neo-liberal programs have miserably failed they don't make a move to change their policies. Troubled economies are pushed to still cut spending on education and health care by these institutions even their suggestions have led to serious impoverishment. Even when they admit catastrophical results of the concept of "free" trade they stick with their dogma.

Different antagonist movements have made a smart move by introducing two different concepts: free trade and "free" trade e.g. PGA (People's Global Action against "free" trade) -- they have made their best; yes, they still have their weaknesses; to clarify the difference between their movement and rightwing nationalist anti-globalization agenda.

A market fascist wants to privatise everything. He is willing to issue patents on things that have been in public use since the beginning of mankind and on things that are essentially public. Under the market fascism genes would be patented and Bill Gates would have patent on ones and zeros. Under market fascism people wouldn't give birth to their children and grow them up with love but they would buy child assets and invest on genetically modified babies with high IQ.

As QXZ wrote, market fascists believe that people demonstrate their true values through consumption. They ignore the fact that people are heavily manipulated, not to even mention unjust distribution of wealth (for example through hereditary right). The most important thing to remember here is that consumption is rather a habit than a conscious choice. You need to make an effort to buy Fair Trade bananas whereas "unfair" bananas drop in your shopping basket inconspicuously.
A man is a gregarious animal. I saw a documentary telling peoples lives in Africa and they interviewed a kid who was very proud of his trainers: He had drawn Swoosh logo on his trainers because he had seen many people wearing these kind of shoes in telly. Even I sometimes made a mistake and I buy crisps even I don't like them. I'd like to hear how market fascists explain that -- at the best it probably will be some crap about unconscious desires..

I was noted afterwards that what I was describing is economics driven by supply side. It's the producers who lobby the senators and other politicians to dictate the rules of trade as they wish.

Neoliberals, late capitalists and free trade advocates reading this will probably take exception at being termed fascist, and they would have a point. What is described above might be more properly termed "market absolutism", or "the market orthodoxy", and tarring it with the brush of fascism does not help us in understanding its pernicious nature. Further, applying the fascist label to this most pervasive of economic and political orthodoxies only dilutes our understanding of what fascism truly is. Global capitalism and fascism share the same enemies, but that does not make them the same thing. Global capitalism itself is resisted from both the left and the extreme right, but this does not bring the two ends of the political spectrum any closer together.

In order to resist global capitalism, we must have an understanding of what it is and how it operates. It is clear that its operation is not analogous to the rise of totalitarian nationalism in the 20th century, nor does it share many characteristics with the far right racist groups which currently blight most western nations. Fascism and nationalism trumpet themselves as easy solutions to complex problems. Global capitalism, on the other hand, does not even confirm its own existence, it rather presents itself as the natural order of things. In this sense, it is even helped in its project by the memory of totalitarian regimes in the 20th century. "Look," its advocates say, "why would you want to go back to the bad old days, when communists and fascists limited your freedoms? Surely you would prefer a system in which freedoms are unlimited, provided you can pay for them."

The market orthodoxy is a consensus of the centre. It is the unspoken agenda of politics, the issues on which business agrees, and which are therefore never debated in public. The difficulty in resisting this orthodoxy is that doing so requires one to abandon the centre ground, sometimes bringing oneself too close for comfort to one of the terrifying extremes.

I feel most of the writeups above (mainly Purvis, QXZ) use a rather loose and somewhat confusing meaning of the word fascist, although ryano has put it in its proper frame. Taken the term strictly, fascism means the ideology that allows the state to opress its people, and to believe that violent forcing one's opinion onto consenting adults is justified. In essence, fascism is the ideology of supressing the individual for whatever cause the state chooses to pursue (economical, political, social, war against other states etc.). A libertarian or a neo-liberal, laissez-faire advocate, anarcho-capitalist is the exact opposite: he believes that the state should have minimal (or none at all) interference with the individual's economical and social life. What it undeniably guarantees is the individual's freedom (whether it also guarantees its well-being is another issue, and is heavily debated). Analogies may be helpful sometimes, but they can also be totally misleading. Saying that neo-liberals are analogous to fascists because they both "absolutely base their faith on something (market/power accordingly)" is a rather unfortunate (and trivial) comparison that proves no deeper connection between the two terms.

So if we want to define the term "market fascist" (a term which is probably self-contradicting) literally, we might say that it characterizes a person that uses state power and legislation in order to benefit large corporations and monopolies, a system that any sincere neo-liberal or libertarian would loathe.

In the sense that the writeups from Purvis and QXZ define "market fascist", the word fascist can be seen only as an exaggeration or irony, in the same way that we can label a doctor a "life fascist" (he bases his faith on the value of life).

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