... there’s a strand of capitalism today -- two strands of it, that are very disturbing.I want to say to Bannon: Have you met any of the people you'll be working with in a Trump White House, and in the larger Republican Party that dominates Washington (and is full of people who want to be Trump's allies)?
One is state-sponsored capitalism. And that’s the capitalism you see in China and Russia. I believe it’s what Holy Father [Pope Francis] has seen for most of his life in places like Argentina, where you have this kind of crony capitalism of people that are involved with these military powers-that-be in the government, and it forms a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people. And it doesn’t spread the tremendous value creation throughout broader distribution patterns that were seen really in the 20th century.
The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism. And, look, I’m a big believer in a lot of libertarianism. I have many many friends that’s a very big part of the conservative movement -- whether it’s the UKIP movement in England, it’s many of the underpinnings of the populist movement in Europe, and particularly in the United States.
However, that form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the “enlightened capitalism” of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people....
I've read that Mike Pence, after taking over the Trump transition team, banished the lobbyists; let's just say I'm skeptical. In a way, it doesn't matter: The self-dealing in the Trump administration is going to start at the top, with the president and his kids taking full advantage of their privileged position to make money for themselves. If that's not "state-sponsored capitalism," I don't know what is.
And how many of the Republicans who are going to fill the administration, or run Congress while working hand in glove with Trump, are libertarians who want to "make people commodities"? The majority? Maybe they're not pure libertarians, but they've read the books, or at least imbibed the ideas, and they certainly treat libertarianism as the appropriate economic philosophy -- at least for you and me, while the wealthy get to socialize their losses as they privatize their profits.
Does Bannon really believe any of what he says? I think he may have persuaded himself that he does, just as he's persuaded himself that Trump isn't a crony capitalist, nor are any of his allies.
I'd like to believe there's a slight chance that Bannon will someday look around him at the looting enabled by Trump, Ryan, and McConnell and say, "This is not what I signed up for! I quit!" Ha-ha, just kidding: Bannon will leave Trump World when he loses some internecine struggle, or when Trump's popularity goes south, or when he no longer believes he can leverage the power of Trump for his own personal gain.
But when he does leave, he may describe the departure as based on the principles articulated above. He may tell us that he thought Trump cared about "enlightened" capitalism that helps working people, but, dammit, Trump betrayed him! And maybe he'll go back to Breitbart as a Trump critic. Stranger things have happened -- who thought back in 2009 that Glenn Beck would be a voice of reason the next time we elected a Republican president?
I really don't think Bannon will flip -- not unless Trump is already so wounded that he's an easy target, like George W. Bush after Katrina and the 2006 midterms. But who knows? Bannon has some non-abhorrent theories. Maybe someday he'll act on them.