Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mackenzie Andersen Makes Finalist in Pen Literary Rewards for Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the means of Production


The combination of our New York and Los Angeles offices and membership strongholds will provide tent poles on each coast, enabling us to accelerate efforts to build a truly national organization.
 Our goal is to build a national constituency of writers and readers who are energized to defend open discourse; foster the exchange of ideas across political, geographic and ideological bounds; amplify unheard voices; and stand with writers and creators who face persecution. Over the last year, PEN America has taken new steps to engage and mobilize members across the country through events, activities and leadership development in more than a dozen cities including Tulsa, Tucson, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, and New Orleans.

The timing of this union is no coincidence as we face potent challenges to free speech, press freedom, the right to dissent, and the open flow of information here in the United States. Never have the voices of writers and their allies been so essential. Members of the writing community have a vital role to play in shaping public discourse, resisting encroachments on treasured freedoms, and standing with those on the front lines to safeguard the values at the heart of PEN’s mission. These treacherous times have prompted a far-reaching discussion about how PEN’s manifold efforts could be fortified. It became obvious that rather than toiling separately, we should marshal our energies, resources, and ideas in order to maximize our collective impact in the United States and around the world.

Last Summer I entered my ongoing project Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production in the Oral History category of the Pen Literary awards .It is the first writing competition which I have entered and so to make it as far as the finalists is very encouraging.

 The entry confirmation said this:

Dear Susan Andersen, 

Thank you for submitting Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production for the 2018 PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History. We are writing to confirm that we received your application, and if we should require any additional information, we’ll be sure to be in touch. 

Applicants will be notified immediately when/if their project is no longer under consideration. If you should have any questions in the meantime, please write to

Please visit for updates regarding the timing for the announcement of the winner of the award. 

Thank you! 
PEN Literary Awards

Then I didn't hear back until I received this: 

Dear Susan Andersen, 

Thank you for submitting Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production for the 2018 PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History. The overall quality of this year's applications was quite high, making for some very difficult decisions for our judges. The judges have made their final selections, and I regret to inform you that your project has not been chosen as the winner. 

We are tremendously grateful for your submission to this award, and we hope that you will consider submitting another project of yours for this award in the future. Submissions for the 2019 Awards Cycle will open in the late spring. 

Please note that due to the large volume of applications that our judges review, they are unable to offer feedback or recommendations on any particular project. 

We know this isn’t the update you were hoping for, but we would nevertheless like to take this opportunity to wish you the best of success with your work. 

Best regards, 
The PEN America Literary Awards Department 

588 Broadway Suite 303, New York, NY 10012, USA | | @penamerican 
The Freedom to Write

You can go here to view the submission:

Monday, February 19, 2018

Wendy Rosen's Campaign for Indelible Labeling Meets the Global State's Foreign Trade Zones.

Click to Go to our KickStarter Campaign Preview

I saw this Posted on FaceBook by Wendy Rosen, a mover and shaker in the American crafts market:


Wendy Rosen has been advocating for indelible labeling of imports for years. During the beginning of the Baldacci administration, Wendy Rosen sent me an initiative on this and I submitted it to "the creative economy list serve" a list serve sponsored by Maine's public-private government, jurored by its friends. My message asked Mainers to contact Olympia Snowe but the overlords of the listserve rejected my submission.

I then took the message to a local craft fair. I could not even finish my first sentence before people were grabbing it out of my hand. I told them that it had been rejected from the list serve. Someone suggested I contact Mrs Baldacci. I did so but did not get a personal response from the Governor's wife. However, several months later I received a demented apology from the list serve jurors, explaining that they thought it was spam.

Years later while researching for my book, "Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production", I learned that the labels are removed at foreign trade zones. Maine receives federal money for setting up foreign trade zones. Corporation with shareholders are required to maximise profits, which they do by locating production where labor is least expensive. Large corporations make higher profits than American made hand crafts and so the state protects the interests of global markets, as is written into the Legislative treatise establishing the DECD, which manages the foreign trade zones. The findings section of the statute establishing Maine's Department of Economic and Community Development illuminates a a philosophy in which the State’s function is to facilitate globalism and to conform to the new world order in which manufacturing takes place where ever the cost of labor is the least in the global economy.
§13051. Legislative findings (Department of Economic and Community Development)

The Legislature finds that the State's economy is linked to the national and international economies. Economic changes and disruptions around the world and in the nation have a significant impact upon the State's economy. The rise of 3rd-world and 4th-world countries as manufacturers of commodities for mass markets and the gradual evolution of the national economy to a technological, informational, specialty product-based economy have significantly affected the State and its communities. [RR 2013, c. 2, §5 (COR).] 
 In order for the State's economy to grow and gain a solid footing, it is necessary to determine the State's assets and the economic opportunities that are or will be available to the State's enterprise, municipalities and labor force. When these opportunities are determined or become apparent, state economic development policies and programs must be focused on facilitating the realization of these opportunities and removing barriers that impede the exploitation of these opportunities. [1987, c. 534, Pt. A, §§17, 19 (NEW).] (emphasis mine)
The Legislature finds that an economic development strategy designed to focus the State's economic development activities and resources on economic opportunities can significantly help the State and its municipalities realize greater growth and prosperity without adversely affecting the quality of life in the State. An economic development strategy must recognize and reflect the different needs, conditions and opportunities of the several different economic regions of the State. This strategy must be flexible and periodically evaluated to make it consistent with changes in conditions and opportunities that arise during these times of dynamic change. It is necessary to involve municipalities, regional economic development organizations and the private sector in the formulation of this strategy in order to establish a well-developed and comprehensive plan that has the support of the State's citizens and officials. [1987, c. 534, Pt. A, §§17, 19 (NEW).]

Note that in this statutory rhetoric, enterprises, municipalities, and labor force are treated as belonging to the State. For argument's sake if you take the phrase "The State" out of the sentence, it conveys a different meaning, ie" In order for the Maine economy to grow and gain a solid footing, it is necessary to determine the assets and the economic opportunities that are or will be available to enterprises, municipalities and the labor force."  The state's interest lies in managing the entire labor force in the state, which explains why entrepreneurialism is inconceivable in the bottom half of the economy which the state does not serve because it only serves "the quality jobs sector" which by definition is that sector offering a higher than average income- subsidized by the state of course! The entire labor force of Maine is conceived as belonging to the state, along with the enterprises and municipalities. The state gains ownership of the municipalities through regionalism, which gradually eliminates the municipal referendum as it transfers decision making to regional boards. That is why business ownership is discouraged in the bottom of the economy. The state has created a taxpayer subsidized top of the economy designated as the "quality jobs" sector, in which the state plays the role outlined in Mussolini's Doctrine of Fascism.
Conception of a corporative state
The Ministry of Corporations is not a bureaucratic organ, nor does it wish to exercise the functions of syndical organizations which are necessarily independent, since they aim at organizing, selecting and improving the members of syndicates. The Ministry of Corporations is an institution in virtue of which, in the centre and outside, integral corporation becomes an accomplished fact, where balance is achieved between interests and forces of the economic world. Such a glance is only possible within the sphere of the state, because the state alone transcends the contrasting interests of groups and individuals, in view of co-coordinating them to achieve higher aims. The achievement of these aims is speeded up by the fact that all economic organizations, acknowledged, safeguarded and supported by the Corporative State, exist within the orbit of Fascism; in other terms they accept the conception of Fascism in theory and in practice. (speech at the opening of the Ministry of Corporations, July 31, 1926, in Discorsi del 1926, Milano, Alpes, 1927, p. 250) The Doctrine of Fascism, Benito Mussolini, 193239
In Maine, today, one could just replace "The Ministry of Corporations:with §3304.Industry partnerships, passed by the Maine Legislature in 2015.

One also finds the historical origins of the "quality jobs" sector in Mussolini's writings:
Grouped According to their several interests, individuals form classes; they form trade-unions when organized according to their several economic activities; but first and foremost they form the State, which is no mere matter of numbers, the sums of the individuals forming the majority. Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number but it is the purest form of democracy if the nation be considered as it should be from the point of view of quality rather than quantity. The Doctrine of Fascism 

It is not the role of the DECD or Maine’s creative economy to protect American and Maine made products from fraudulent imitators. If the local government does not protect the interest of Maine and American made manufacturing from fraudulent imitators abroad, then who does? Foreign Trade Zones facilitate the foreign imitators by providing the facilities where the transformation of the identity of country of origin can take place.

Recently, I checked out the donation page of a local economic development group. There I found Aid To Artisans, a Washington DC based non-profit dedicated to using the crafts to help low income people develop economic independence in "emerging countries", though sometimes they say "all over the world". I have never received an enthusiastic response from the local economic development group, or from any other economic development group in Maine. Usually I do not receive an answer to my correspondence. When I do, it is a list of classes for "start ups" or a link to a different organization. When I asked for help with our business plan from the local economic development group, I mentioned that my partner had been in talks with someone from their organization about licensing but I not heard back from them in months. Thereafter my partner heard back but was told they only deal with one person per company, to let her know why I would not receive a response.  I developed my business plan on my own, as a working partner business plan.

Here is the description about what Aid to Artisans does from their website:
This new partnership will broaden ATA’s capacity to transform artisan skills into profitable businesses in emerging countries. ATA’s signature approach is centered on market driven product development, entrepreneurial training and access to ATA’s international buyer network, developed during more than 38 years of creating sustainable income for artisans in more than 110 countries. Creative Learning brings expertise in large-scale development initiatives aimed at improving infrastructure, upgrading health and education, creating jobs, and preventing or reversing damage to the environment. With support in management and program design from Creative Learning, ATA will continue to leverage its global expertise for compounded economic impact, bolstering linkages between artisans and international markets Aid To Artisans, About Us ( emphasis mine)
Like most organizations in Maine, the local development group uses the coded language of the State rhetoric. In the global economy, with many organizations, expressing their goals using similar language and concepts, crafts are used to develop economic independence in "third world countries", where the global low cost labor markets used by large corporations with obligations to the shareholders to maximize profits, manufacture. Is there a connection to the "grass roots"  non-profit global economic development initiatives which use the crafts to stimulate economic independence ? "Crafts", "making", and "manufacture" are words which mean the same thing, but in American politically correct society, "production" is a word on the "Do not use list". My application for fiscal sponsorship as a social enterprise, which would use the crafts as a way to develop economic independence in low income areas of Maine, was rejected because I used the word "production" on my application, which the board said meant I was only in it for the money, although Andersen Design has never had shareholders and so is not obligated to maximize profits. We competed successfully for years in a market dominated by products made in global low-ost markets. The large corporations which sells a mug in the same price range as we do, but has it manufactured in the global low cost market, makes a much larger profit.

PREVIEW LINK TO ANDERSEN DESIGN KICKSTARTER PROJECTWe Need To Develop A list of supporters who will pledge on day  one before we can launch.We are also looking for talent who can help us to produce the video

Later I ran into the taboo against the word "production" when I invited a local individual over to meet with our group about developing a video for our Kickstarter project, or so I thought. Instead he sat at the table and proceeded to play the role of business consultant. When I used the word "production", he stopped me mid-sentence, to tell me I should not use that word. He then proceeded to tell us that we cannot do a Kickstarter because we are not a start-up company- using the word "kickstarter" to justify his logic, displaying his lack of real research into the development of KickStarter. KickStarter is being used today to launch products on the market and to finance ceramic production studios. Kickstarter is a free enterprise development, which is a counter political philosophy to a centrally managed economy. Perhaps this explains why one finds no support for developing a KickStarter project from local economic development groups, apparent extensions of the state, whose political philosophy is expressed above in the findings for Maine's Department of Economic and Community Development, which performs the planning function for the FAME corporation, which concentrates and redistributes wealth in Maine. And the web weaves on.

Our would-be collaborator never discussed making a video.It amazes me that one cannot find support for making a video. This is a natural business for someone to start up in today's economy or for economic development groups to offer, but it seems, it is not consistent with central management's agenda to offer services which might help independent grass roots entrepreneurs in the USA.

So many years later Wendy Rosen is still an activist for indelible labels on foreign imports and still the government does nothing.It is aligned with the new global world order like any hot shot should be!

This is Part three in a Series which starts HERE

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Turn in the Road From Extinction to Distinction

PART TWO in a series in which I  place Andersen Design's vision of economic development in the economic development environment in Maine Go to Part One
Patron and Collaborator, Bob Rose standing among some of Maine;s "underutilized resources" 

A special request

It is the legacy of the second generation of Andersen Design, including yours truly, to preserve the Andersen Design tradition and meld it into the 21st century. Today more than ever, it teeters on the brink of extinction. To secure it's physical headquarters, and work space, which is also where we live on a rental basis, we need to raise $2000.00 in funds available by Friday.

You can make a donation to our ready cash fund to cure the most immediate need here:

This is a donation to this research and opinion blog, which I have been individually maintaining since 2007. If Andersen Design makes it through this existential crisis, we will be willing to make good on your donation, on an individual basis, if you present the receipt to us, when we are up and running again.
featuring special vintage pieces and items that are either 

currently in production or are scheduled to be in production

We need to establish a fund for monthly recurring contributions totaling $2000.00 or more so that we are not continually dealing with an existential crisis as we are trying to re-establish our new foundation. Tax deductible contributions can be made through our Fractured Atlas project, Andersen Design American Phoenix. Those contributions take a week to process and will not be available by Friday.
There are a couple ways to make a tax deductible contribution:
1. You can donate by credit card online at the link below:The Andersen Design American Phoenix Project2.
If you prefer, you can also donate by check. Please send contributions to Andersen Design, 103 Cochran Rd, Edgecomb, Maine 04556-3024. Checks should be made payable to Fractured Atlas,
The Andersen Design American Phoenix in the memo line.The Andersen Design American Phoenix is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non‐profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of The Andersen Design American Phoenix must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” and are tax‐deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Andersen Design took years to establish. It is hard to imagine anyone today persevering through such a long birthing process. In the years of prosperity that followed, my father complained that he was in a tax bracket in which the government was taking 50% of what he made. In those years, Andersen Design was in the taxpaying class heavily relied upon to finance the investor class of the Maine's new public-private government. Today, when Andersen Design is in need of capital, the response from the economic development bureaucracy is "Drop dead!"

As I wrote in my last post, the Midcoast Maine Community Action group's mission statement emphasizes economic development and economic independence, identifying that it serves low income, "at risk " people, which is currently myself. The website says they help us with our problems by helping us to identify what our problems are. How it can it be true that they help us with our problems, which they identify? In our case their definitions occlude the whole nature of who we are. The assumption in that conjunction is that low income people are not capable of identifying their own problems. The mission statement is a language trap. The word "economic development" is processed through the term "at risk" to take on a meaning that economic development is security gained through public assistance, not growth and opportunity, but a security floor, which raises one out of the at risk category. Period.

Yesterday, I tried to explain to MMCA that a significant part of our income is derived from a business in our home. In that case, I was told, the group could not help me because I am a business. Aren't businesses part of economic development?  No, not the way they define economic development which is helping people with personal needs. I said, currently our gallery is not yet operational but I use the phone and home office to generate income. Then they cannot help me because I am doing business in the home The way MMCA defines economic development excludes businesses, despite the fact that their mission statement specifically includes business as a category they serve, It was explained to me that they were formerly called an economic development group but now their name has been changed to a community action group, I called that devolution. Maine is devolving into feudalism! Expect the word "businesses" to soon disappear from MMCA's mission statement, as did the words "helping people to become economically independent" disappear from Boothbay Resource's mission statement after I suggested to that organization that they could fiscally sponsor Andersen Design.
A year ago I was dealing with the other end of the spectrum and trying to get help in writing our business plan from a business consultant who has a private practice and is also associated with several of Maine's public economic development resources and active in the art world. That sounds like a good combination for Andersen Design. I shall call him Mr Green, not his real name.

The first thing I encountered is a rule one frequently encounters at this strata of Maine's economic development system. Mr. Green would only talk to one person from any organization. I see no benefit in this rule for the client. It exists solely because it makes it easier for the consultant. It  establishes a class order in which corporate heads only talk to corporate heads. In our case there is more than one principal. Since I was not an executor of my father's will, I was excluded from conversation, left to judge what was going on by hearsay. It seemed that all had gone well with the first meeting but I could see my partner was offended in the first follow up phone call. After a while I became confused about Mr Green's role. At first I believed he was there to help us with our business plan but after a while I came to believe that we were supposed to present a plan to him so I called one of the public economic development groups in which Mr Green is listed as a consultant. I asked for help with writing a business plan which we could present to 
Mr Green and insisted that all principals needed to be at the meeting.

Mr Green there after called to schedule a meeting with all of us. The meeting began with Mr Green asking why I though we were there. I said, to have a dialogue. He said "Do you know what I think a dialogue is? Me talking and no one interrupting !". That sounded like my definition of a monologue but I sat back and let him deliver a generic speech. Mr Green is a thinly censored man with a tendency to blurt out what is foremost on his mind and so he commented many times over that our product is of very high quality and our brand surely has strength. I appreciate him for that because through the many doors that I passed through during this last year, most treated Andersen Design as having no value, people like Wendy Wolf of the JECD development group,and others. Mr Green's opinion carries more weight. His art background is consistent with knowledge of our field.

Mr Green's delivery was punctuated by repeatedly asking if we wanted to work with him, and at other times exclaiming that he couldn't work with us. Was it disdain or insecurity? It felt like both, his disdain for having to deal with people of our distressed financial status and insecurity stemming from recognition of the value of our intellectual property assets. In Maine's two tiered cultural system, there is no room for ownership in the bottom half of the economy, intellectual property rights, or otherwise.

Eventually, I wrote the business plan on my own, after Mr Green did not respond to any contact after the first meeting, The plan I wrote incorporated my long held vision for a network of studios independently owned by the people engaged in the work process. When I mentioned this idea to Mr Green, he said, "That's illegal! I can't work with you if you are going to do illegal things!" Did he not listen or was it just that he couldn't deal with the concept of a world with entrepreneurs in the bottom half of the economy? 

Andersen Design serves a public benefit in unique and unrecognized ways

Andersen Design has always taken the road less travelled. The originating philosophical mission was to create a hand made product affordable to the middle class. Those were the days of a middle class so great that my father described it as a bell curve in which the largest amount of wealth distributed among the largest number of people. Because Andersen Design was started with such a philosophy, Andersen Design's art, as the public elected to call it, was collected by Americans of every walk of life and handed down from one generation to the next. For sixty five years many special works were created, and without being documented, were sold. Works are special because of their superior craftsmanship, or because their one of a kind decorative finish, or because they have a very rare glaze, or the interactive glazes, that Andersen Design uses in its production process, turned out to be particularly stunning as in the bowl shown here:

Dad was always carving, cutting out, stacking, and cut and pasting ceramic forms into new configurations. 

 And Brenda painted with vitality and expression, never rote :
The whole family was engaged in the creative process:
Girl in a Wreath. Jumping Rope by Susan Mackenzie Andersen, in the private collection of Terry Seaman

There is no telling how many very special Andersen pieces are hidden across the American landscape in the private collections handed down from generation to generation by families of ordinary means. works forgotten to our memories. The most exquisite pieces were sold, without a record made. When Andersen Design is professionally established as the go-to dealer of Andersen, we have a great likelihood of attracting the most unusual work. documenting it, representing those works in the market place and placing them in Museum show venues. Andersen vintage pieces can be donated to the museum as a tax deductible contribution, but the market establishes the value of the donations.

As with other online markets, in example, Ebay, Amazon, and Etsy, a go-to market for antiques dealers is already established. It is competitive to get into this market place. One must have references with other dealers who are already in the marketplace being the preferred reference. Fortunately, we have such references and have been invited to phase two of the application process. Online research reports a very high monthly fees for participating in this marketplace, but tradeshows are equally expensive. There is also a section for twenty first century design in which contemporary ceramic vases sell for several thousand dollars. Andersen Design can develop and encourage products for such a market. It is a different direction from our founding philosophy but consistent with the way the world has changed since then. Put that together with "The Great American Ceramic Craftsmen Designer Network" of my vision and Andersen Design can be a marketing venue for a plethora of creativity emerging from the small independently owned studios in the network. I have envisioned the network situated in Maine's low income high unemployment areas which have been virtually ignored by Maine's public-private government. I call it the free enterprise zone, areas where businesses in the home are potentially still allowed in municipal zoning ordinances.

Conceptually speaking, if we should be accepted as a dealer in the world class market, it would benefit many of our private collectors. If we can establish the "Great American Ceramic Designer Craftsmen Network", any one of those studios could develop products for the 21st century line with the  Andersen Design brand, providing them access to the global high end market of dealers and interior decorators.

The dealership is a private enterprise. The archival work is a function of  the fiscally sponsored Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen, which is still a private enterprise, which pays taxes, but is permitted to accept tax deductible contributions via our fiscal sponsor.

The Museum can play a role in bringing. into the light of day, the works hidden from public view in the private collections of ordinary Americans.  I have been documenting our vintage pieces on Airtable. Given available financial resources that can be expanded as a data base of works in other private collections. Andersen Design collections can be donated as a tax-deductible contribution to any museum but it is the private market which establishes the value of the contributions.

Go to Part One  Go to Part Three

Friday, February 9, 2018

Can Ceramic Production As An Art Form Have A Second Chapter In America Today?

Rare Standing Robin, circa 1980's.

PART ONE in a series in which I  place Andersen Design's vision of economic development in the economic development environment in Maine


I was raised in a home business, similar to a farm, but instead of producing crops, we produced ceramics. From the beginning, Andersen Design, was  conceived of as part of an economic development philosophy. My father Weston Neil Andersen, often expressed the value of creating jobs. In this 1964 letter, by my father as he sought capital for the next phase of development, He talks about increasing the number of employees of our small company and about the benefit that the ceramic industry can have for Maine's feldspar industry. Our company was small but this is the stuff that real economic development is composed of, creating new avenues of wealth and connecting resources, not merely redistributing existing supplies of wealth.

We created a product line of classic ceramic design which has never gone out of style and a brand identity which can be used to market any product consistent with our style and values. These are intellectual property assets, and in my view,  an economic development resource, which can be used to revitalize a ceramics industry in the USA. Since our company has never had shareholders, we were not obligated to maximize our profit by relocating our production to low costs global labor markets, which is where most western ceramics companies produce today. I envision expanding our production through a network of independently owned slip cast productions with whom we would work on an independent contractor basis. My original inspiration was that people in the designer craftsmen community favor small teams and intimate spaces over working in a large corporate environment. When I was recently. briefly, considered the possibilities of a benefit corporation, It occurred to me that it was our absence of shareholders that made it possible to persevere as an American made ceramic product and that the network I had envisioned would enable expansion without changing that advantage.

The problem we have been dealing with for many years is a shortage of capital needed to adapt to the changing marketplace which the entire retail industry is confronting. I have been through many doors and found that we do not fit the current economic development paradigm and vice versa and so I have been telling the story, here in, about how Maine got to where it is today and developing ideas on how that can be reversed to create an economy which includes the greatest number of people and encourages diversity.This blog post is mainly about that, but I begin with my own perspective so it can be incorporated into the larger context. My idea is not a new one. There have always been regions where ceramics were made. The tradition survives in the Umbria region of Italy. England is also reviving its ceramic industry after the exodus of many companies in recent decades. Ceramics is a very engaging profession. I do not understand why the economic development community of Maine is so cold toward it, other than the mentality and culture which has developed in Maine since the government took over managing the economy, the story I have been relating here in.

The founders of Maine's public-private government understood the wealth creating function of economic development when they declared that it is appropriate to use the profit motive to generate capital in the Maine economy.

A New Form of Entitlements

The Governor’s Task Force report recommended that two complimentary corporations be chartered by the Legislature, The Maine Capital Corporation and the MaineDevelopment Foundation.

The Maine Development Corporation is the Maine board of all boards and still existent today. It is reasonable to argue that The Maine Development Foundation was put into place to facilitate a replacement for that form of decision making that the newly formed public-private government sought to eliminate. In the words of the second objective stated in the  Governor’s Task Force for Economic Redevelopment-1976:
2: eliminate the requirement for a local referendum on municipal bond issues.          
The Maine Capital Corporation has since been repealed except for section §5202-A:
1977 §5202-A. Small business investment companies exempt Corporate small business investment companies, licensed under the United States Small Business Investment Act of 1958, as amended, and commercially domiciled in Maine and doing business primarily in Maine, shall be exempt from taxation under this Part. [1977, c. 640, §2 (NEW).] As currently found in Maine statutes   
For public relations purposes, It makes practical sense to separate the act that makes investment companies exempt from taxation from acts that grant investors refundable tax credits. Refundable tax credits mean that if no taxes are owed, the tax payers owe the holder a cash payment. 

The statute chartering the Maine Capital Corporation  included the following rationalization for the new system of government:
The Legislature finds that one of the limiting factors on the beneficial economic development of the State is the limited availability of capital for the long-term needs of Maine businesses and entrepreneurs. In particular, the lack of equity capital to finance new business ventures and the expansion or recapitalization of existing businesses is critical. This lack of equity capital may prevent worthwhile businesses from being established; it may also force businesses to use debt capital where equity capital would be more appropriate. This creates debt service demands which a new or expanding venture may not be able to meet successfully, causing the venture to fail because of the lack of availability of the appropriate kind of capital.
This impediment to the development and expansion of viable Maine businesses affects all the people of Maine adversely and is one factor resulting in existing conditions of unemployment, underemployment, low per capital income and resource underutilization. By restraining economic development, it sustains burdensome pressures on State Government to provide services to those citizens who are unable to provide for themselvesTo help correct this situation, it is appropriate to use the profit motive of private investors to achieve additional economic development in the State. This can be accomplished by establishing an investment corporation to provide equity capital for Maine businesses and by establishing limited tax credits for investors in the corporation to encourage the formation and use of private capital for the critical public purpose of maintaining and strengthening the state's economy. (emphasis mine)
A new government function, that of the state centrally managing the economy, was then deemed into existence, justified by this line of reasoning:
  1. Because businesses do not have access to capital, they do not grow, or they grow at a slower rate.
  2. Because businesses growth is slow, there is unemployment, under employment, low incomes and resource underutilization creating pressure on the state to provide for the needy.
  3. Therefore it is appropriate to appropriate money from the taxpayers to refund investors for investing their capital in the state, which is to say, to take capital out of the whole economy to give to investor class.
Under Longley, the government compartmentalized society into two classes. one class which is hampered from growing because of capital shortages, and another class of citizens who are unable to provide for themselves, apparently not due to a lack of  resources but because of something lacking within themselves.

What was the source of public money refunded to private investors? It was taken from the middle because the bottom is "unable to provide for themselves" and the top, only, is hampered by capital shortages. Some of the refund might also be paid by the top income earners, but one has to ask to what advantage that would be to the top, when, by investing in the Maine Capital Corporation, there is guaranteed a "limited tax credit" which was a refund, by Maine taxpayers, of  50% of the investors investment, without the investor having to part with a share of the profits? To be fair, in truth, no class is composed of multiple individuals all sharing one homogeneous identity and so there are probably top earners who also paid the taxes to finance the states new redistribution of wealth system for the top.

The Maine Legislature justified the appropriation of public funds by deeming that it was appropriate to use the "profit motive" to create capital for Maine businesses, and so a new government function was created, that of creating capital for special interests. It was an act prohibited by the Maine Constitution in Article IV Part Third Section 14, which  prohibits the Legislature from chartering corporations by special acts of legislation. No one in the public, private, or media sectors took issue. It was declared, by the Maine Legislature, that "centrally managing the economy is an essential government function" and the Maine Capital Corporation was chartered. Federal law requires a public corporation to prioritize the profits in the shareholder's interest. In compliance, the Maine Legislature wrote a sweet deal to attract shareholders to the new investment corporation, creating a burden on the middle class to pay for it.

Flash forward to 2018. How has economic development policy evolved?  I have written in this blog much about the economic development policies written to benefit the top of the economy, but what about economic development programs for the bottom half of the economy?

In example, here is the mission statement from Midcoast Maine Community Action, a non-profit organization:
 Midcoast Maine Community Action is a community action organization advocating on behalf of low-income and other at-risk individuals, assisting them to identify and address their needs, enabling them to achieve self sufficiency and independence.  MMCA actively promotes economic and community development of the businesses and communities in the mid-coast area where individuals and families reside. (emphasis mine)
That latter sentence, which I have emphasized, is either an intentionally false statement, or the people who work in such organizations believe economic development is distributing living subsidies to as many people as possible. (see website). If that were the case, why did we ever need the state to take over central management of the economy? There already existed people dependent on the state for subsistence. If economic development were public assistance programs, we were doing great back in the seventies, though not quite as great as today, when an even greater number of Mainers depend on food stamps, heat assistance, section eight housing and so forth, than ever before.

In the rhetoric of the Longley Doctrine, people dependent on the state for subsistence were portrayed as the problem, not the solution. Today we have evolved to the point where  living on government assistance is conflated with economic development- true at both the bottom and top of the economy but in the class structure, the conflation takes on extreme status differentiations. One sector is glorified with such phrases as "the creative class" and "quality jobs" while the other sector, denigrated, led by Governor Lepage, portraying people on public assistance as losers who spend all their time and money in state owned vice industries, though of course LePage does not mention the the profit the state makes in the vice industries.

Since the 1970's the state has furthered a cultural and economic class society, composed of the "quality" classes , and by default, "the unquality classes", each having their own state designated sets of rules. Since the state concentrates and redistributes the wealth in Maine, it becomes difficult for any organization or individual not to serve as an extension of the state. The control of the flow of capital in culture is akin to controlling the flow of water in nature.

What is missing from the economic development programs offered by MMCA, are any programs that assist business to develop jobs and opportunities for the middle and bottom sectors of the economy. This is where our business would be a great resource but there is no support offered for businesses that I have found. Being that the mission statement says it exists to help business and for economic development purposes, I called and asked to speak to the head of economic development but the woman answering the phone had never heard of the term. With the institution of the Longley Doctrine, was born the idea that the state should only further those jobs paying higher than average wages, based on a delusion that an upper end of the economy can be created artificially and not damage the whole cultural and economic fabric of society, as if by taking money from the middle and giving to the top, the same money will trickle back down to the middle.

The alleged public benefit that the Maine Capital Corporation delivered were jobs for a relatively small percentage of the Maine people and the supposed  trickle down effect which, in theory, benefits the whole economy. Statistics show that since the mid seventies, when refundable tax credits, aka wealth redistribution, came into use across the USA.  inflation grew like a steep wall dividing the haves from the have nots. The justification for the redistribution of wealth by government is that there exists one class of people who is inherently deserving of the opportunities which access to capital enables and another class of people who cannot provide for themselves, implying an absence of skills and intelligence, and therefore a class to which living rations are distributed, Even within the "quality jobs sector"  the state negotiates rations for the workers, as if social justice is the equivalency of economic development:

Observe in this testimony by Mr Douglas Ray, legislative liaison for the DECD, as a wage increase is negotiated for the quality jobs sector.  Note that the negotiations are not just for a raise but for a raise for a state approved expenditure, premised in the principals of social justice arranged by the state, as a third party, without access to information about the wealth creation exchange existing in the relation between employee and employer.

In this testimony given in the congressional session for  §3304.Industry partnerships,  Mr. Ray describes his vision for the expansion of the role of government in a centrally managed economy, led by the private sector, in other words, led by those who have access to the real exchange between employee and employer, which is where the return on investment is measurable. Qualified employees are ones who have earned a bonus by the measure of the wealth creation exchange existent in the employee-employer relationship to which the state does not have access. In short the real contribution given to the employer results in an increase in funds which affords the employer the means to give the employee a raise or bonus.

DECD also supports the Industry Partnership model and recommends that the partnerships be led by the private sector, the job creators in our economy.             ……... The creation of the Skills Academy could fit very nicely with DECD’s initiative to address the immediate hiring needs of Maine businesses, which Commissioner Gervais touched on when he met with the Committee a while back. We are looking to help match skilled workers with companies seeking similarly skilled employees. These companies, should they decide to participate, would then pay qualified new employees in this program a bonus towards their educational or housing debt. While this document is again a good starting point we must not fall into the trap of re-funding the same programs that cannot demonstrate a measurable return on investment. DECD is a willing partner in your efforts and we look forward to working with you every step of the way. The question we encourage you to ask when considering each policy decision and part of this document is: Are the results measurable, and, will this make Maine a more competitive state? (emphasis addedTestimony by legislative liaison for the DECD, Douglas Ray

A policy which determines the rate at which an employee should be paid in terms of what the employee should be able to afford, as opposed to basing the rate of pay on the value of the service provided to the employer, is consistent with a system of rationing.

Rationing is not economic development. The term economic development implies that something actually develops as in those quaint old times in America when people used to "pull themselves up by their boot straps" or "earn a living". If you ever watch the Mad Men series,there is one episode when the lead character expresses excitement about building something. That is the essence of economic development.

Sleeping Sandpiper by Elise Isabel Andersen circa 2016