meus intuitus

corporatocracy

with 2 comments

Corporations are more powerful than governments are now. Their power will only beget them more power. For the time being, there are still several dozen truly competitive corporations in the global game of power—WalMart, the oil giants, ING financial, Koch Industries, etc. However, just as millions have consolidated into hundreds and hundreds into dozens, the dozens will consolidate into a handful. This handful will be powerful in a way humanity has never seen.

Empires have a rise, a golden age, and a decline. Just like empires, corporations have a life course—one that we are not familiar with because we have never seen their end. Thus far, what we have seen is:

  1. Genesis: A corporation is created by a group of investors who pool their assets to share the risk of a novel and potentially profitable venture.
  2. Self-sufficiency: A corporation lays claim to a resource or develops a product that becomes an “essential” in the corporation’s market (see: lumber, oil, bananas, radios, televisions, and iPads).  In providing or developing a product that the people will always buy (an essential), a corporation matures beyond risk-sharing.  It becomes self-sufficient.
  3. Monopoly: A corporation’s existence is threatened by competing corporations. It is in the corporation’s best interest to eradicate all its competitors. Any arguments appealing to abstract virtues (like free market competition) are null before the corporation’s need ensure its survival.
  4. Symbiosis: Governments hold the power to disrupt corporate accumulation of power. However, government is an entity of its own with its own needs and ambitions. It partners with the corporations to the advantage of the governing parties (i.e. Democrats and Republicans). This symbiosis improves the security, power, and wealth of both government and corporations.  This symbiosis is a gradual process. It begins with small deals facilitated by lobbyists and ends with overt partnership—such as that seen in today’s corporate-political-media complex.  See:  Revolving door, iron triangle, and captured agencies.
  5. Power Accumulation: As the symbiosis matures, power increases. The developing symbiote realizes its potential. It exercises its power to further ensure its power, to expand its power, and to benefit its members.  The Citizens United decision is an overt example of the symbiote’s use of power. The corporations make a bid for power, the government grants the bid, and the media plays the deal down.  However, the vast majority of the symbiote’s uses of power are much more insidious than these.   An example of “insidious” power use is the military-industrial complex.
  6. Conquest: The symbiote does not yet have absolute power over the people. The people are still somewhat conscious and cry out against corporate governance. They make petty appeals to “freedom” and “democracy.”  Fortunately, they are too many and of too many minds.  They are easily divided.

The most interesting part is that there is no person or group in control of the symbiote’s rise.  Today’s corporate power complexes are the result of centuries of growth, development, and mergers—driven steadily by business economics, population dynamics, and human nature.

Addendum (7/4/2012):  As power consolidates, an “agenda” will become more and more evident.  When the players are many, systemics and dynamics drive the changes.  When the players are few, there is greater capacity for deliberate collusion, corruption, and conquest.

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Written by meusintuitus

March 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

2 Responses

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  1. The phenomenon you describe at the end of the process is what I like to describe as a ‘mindless tyrant.’ In short an emergent social system that acts as a capricious ruler over all. The worst part as you said… you can’t truly hold anyONE responsible.

    unclegluon

    March 30, 2011 at 11:12 pm

  2. Anonymous

    November 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm


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