There has always been opportunity for the astute to accomplish what is known as asset farming, and the variants are as broad as domestic or native conditions provide (Studwell, 2007). The British in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and the Dutch in Indonesia, perfected asset farming, the idea being that an entity focused on extracting and exploiting assets from a country as quickly as possible will also have no interest in sharing the wealth generated from those efforts (Studwell, 2007). Marginalized people function as a labor force to withdraw the assets from the land or to exploit the business opportunities that can be manipulated to generate personal wealth for an elite group (Studwell, 2007). Though Americans, by and large, do not benefit from a corrupt government -- in the pure sense of the word -- business entities and private interests have succeeded in establishing networks of lobbyists and government workers that directly and indirectly confer benefits exclusive to those entities and private interests (Studwell, 2007). One might consider this situation to be corruption by degrees and, in fact, the Obama administration with the Presidential Order of 2009 -- and a series of earlier Congressional Acts -- have attempted to cork this revolving door that compromises representation of the demos and unfairly confers benefits on select groups of powerful and wealthy entities.
In past eras, notably the Golden Age, financiers and industrialists who became exceedingly wealthy with the aid of strong political machines were called robber barons (Studwell, 2007). Though many of these wealthy industrialists and financiers did engage in extensive and generous philanthropy, they simultaneously built incomparable personal wealth (Studwell, 2007). The first industrial revolution, the second industrial revolution, and now the disruptive technological revolution creates a wealthy class of people based in the revolutionizing industries -- though there is, due to the durability of great wealth, a large degree of overlap (Studwell, 2007). Iron, textile production, and steam engine / steam technologies drove the first industrial revolution (Studwell, 2007). The second revolution was built up around steel, free market (Studwell, 2007). Oligopolies are vulnerable to their own members as barriers to entry are high and collusion among the members with regard to pricing and timing of supply availability are essential -- OPEC is most well-known of the oligopolies (Studwell, 2007). Monopolies are essentially the extreme expression of capitalism; where they exist, in the pure sense of the word, the free market has ceased to function (Studwell, 2007). The notion of a free market is ideology since a market will never be completely free of some governmental intervention in the guise of taxes, price controls, restrictions that serve as barriers to entry, or anti-trust policies (Studwell, 2007).
The Asian Godfathers are not so very unlike the wealthy industrialists of the Golden Age who established entire industries and hired immigrants as the supporting labor force (Studwell, 2007). While social groups rose up in protest of the conditions that workers were subjected to, the original intent of the industrialists was to obtain maximum labor for minimum compensation (Studwell, 2007). And only through the slow and bloody establishment of labor unions did workers' rights get factored into the equation (Studwell, 2007). So it is with the Asian Godfathers.
The primary difference between the Asian Godfathers and wealthy, opportunistic Americans is the level of participation in competitive export businesses (Studwell, 2007). Studwell argues that Asian Godfathers experience most of their success in industries that are protected by their governments, which does not include exports…
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