Government Influence over the Means of Production

The Biden administration wants to control—put a leash on—the development of artificial intelligence software, in contrast with the Clinton administration’s hands-off approach to the development of the Internet. That’s the thrust of a Wall Street Journal Monday article.

The matter is far deeper and far broader than that. Biden’s move regarding AI is of a piece with his moves regarding ICE vs battery cars, solar and wind energy vs oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy, and on and on.

In truth, Biden isn’t the first in this; too many prior administrations of both parties, have wanted to…influence…what our private enterprises, especially those that make things, should or can produce—or not produce. The efforts to control range can be indirect—Obamacare’s nationalization of our health provision and health coverage industries, in addition to Biden’s moves—and they reach as far back as Theodore Roosevelt’s unsuccessful effort to nationalize our railroad system, Woodrow Wilson’s and Harry Truman’s outright seizures of a variety of factories and factory systems, ultimately overturned by the courts, and they include prior administrations’ indirect moves of subsidies for some industries—”green” energy, for instance—and no subsidies or significantly smaller subsidies for competing industries.

The matter reaches as deeply and broadly as our tax code, which by design gives overt preference to some industries and de-prefers some other industries.

The Biden administration has only greatly accelerated this trend of government intrusion into the affairs of private enterprise.

This expanding government insistence that private enterprise can make whatever it wants in whatever amounts it wants so long as it has government approval (even if only tacit) to do so is textbook Fascism: private ownership of the means of production, government control of what gets produced and the amounts produced.

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