Corporatocracy: Wikis

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Corporatocracy or corpocracy is a form of government where corporations, conglomerates or government entities with private components, control the direction and governance of a country.

Contents

Concept

First, corporations provide financial support to competing political parties and major political party candidates. This allows the corporations to hedge their bets on the outcome of an election so that they are assured to have a winner who is en-debted to them. As politicians are increasingly dependent on campaign contributions to become elected, their objectiveness on issues which concern corporate interests is compromised.

Second, in many cases former corporate executives are appointed as powerful decision makers within government institutions. They are often charged with the regulation of their former or future employers. Government employees who collude with corporations often accept high ranking positions within corporations once they have demonstrated their commitment to serve the corporate interest. These lucrative offers provide incentive for government employees to serve Lobby groups as well as provides their new employers with access to governmental decision makers. This is known as the 'revolving door' between corporations and the institutions established to regulate their behavior; and can lead to regulatory capture.

Arguments

There are currently no governments labeled by any governmental agencies as a corporatocracy. However, a large body of research including the work of many political progressives, has criticized many governments for being de facto corporatocracies because governments tend to obscure the degree to which corporate interests are entangled in their affairs. An objective standard for declaring a government a corporatocracy is often misdirected from public discussion in-part because these facts are heavily propagandized [1]. However most Western governments based on a capitalist system have been classified by evidential research[2] as being corporatocracies because most media outlets are controlled through corporate ownership and advertising; and corporations are by far the main contributors to political candidates and causes.[citation needed] Corporate campaign contributions create a dependency of the politician on the corporation - in order to keep his power and wealth (i.e. to continue receiving support for re-election bids), by which they are obliged to "pay back" to the corporation using their political influence. And the domination of media outlets by a select few corporations also eliminates one of the primary systems of checks and balances of a democracy [3].

Many reporters and researchers have argued that corporations also exert their influence through the World Trade Organisation.[4] Through this methodology, governments are more in control of their countries at a domestic level, while international corporations rule those nations at a more abstracted level through the control and flow of capital (often including natural resources and populations) across borders; thus creating a manageable and pliable "global corporatocracy" or hegemony.[5] This global influence in turn has a great deal of power over the national and trans-national (e.g. the EU, NAFTA) governments, who rely and to a great extent, depend upon these practices.

The most common contradiction of the term "corporatocracy" and its use in the lexicon is the theorem that corporations are primarily superficial entities possessing no real political power. Instead, it is the people behind those corporations that hold the power who act upon their own individual political ideologies. In this sense, a corporatocracy is nothing more than a market segmentation where the class which owns the means for producing wealth is fighting for their own individual-self interests. The direct challenge to this theorem is the fact that a corporation is by definition a 'collection' which is built of private (and more often public) wealth funneled into a vertical hierarchy without the requirement of any democratic controls[6] and designed for the singular cause of maximizing roi (return on investment: i.e. the expansion of the control of capital). And this entity (or institution) has legally been ruled through almost all court systems to be considered a single 'person' and given the inalienable human rights thereto required by most constitutions for human beings. This means that corporations have the ability to use direct democratic channels reserved for citizens (and denied to all other institutions including: religious organizations, non-profits, and universities); and are also represented and protected as an individual within the courts when facing public scrutiny and regulation.[7]

It is also primarily significant that the wealthiest 1 percent globally now own almost 40 percent of the world's capital, and that most of these same people have significant ties to the richest and most influential corporations.[8]

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Buying politicians controversy

Those who dismiss the idea of a corporatocracy often say the only way it is possible is if it were legal to buy a politician's vote. In such a way, the corporation would, in fact, have a direct vote on major policy matters. However, all true democracies have made vote buying illegal. However, under the terms of at-will employment, corporations can require their employees to vote a certain way in exchange for (continued) employment.[9]

However, those who believe there may be corporatocracies argue that no one individual, and perhaps no other groups of individuals, would have that much power, money or influence. Further, they argue the decisions on what to push for and who to support are made by a relatively few from inside the corporation. Therefore, while thousands of people may make up a corporation, only a few have the power to speak for the corporation and advocate issues on behalf of the corporation. That provides those corporations with a substantial amount of power, leading to a corporatocracy.

Further, they argue that it does not take an overt effort to buy a politician's vote. Making a substantial donation to a certain politician's campaign could be seen as sending a signal to that politician that the money is there if they vote in a way the corporation desires. Conversely, the money could be donated to an opponent if the vote does not go the corporation's way.

Use of the term

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower himself argued against the strengthening corporatocracy in the form of a military-industrial complex that sets national and international financial, economic, political and military policies due to a permanent war economy.

In his 2004 book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins writes; "corporations, banks, and governments (collectively the corporatocracy)".

The concept of a government run by corporations or instances where governments are actually weaker (politically, financially, and militarily) than corporations is a theme often used in both political fiction and science fiction. In these instances the dominant corporate entity is usually dubbed a megacorporation.

See also

Related organisations

Books

Documentaries

Notes

1. John Perkins, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman," page xiii, Berrett-Koehler Publishers (November 9, 2004)

  1. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent
  2. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidentiality
  3. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalism#Role_of_journalism_in_a_democracy
  4. ^ See the Documentary, "Codex Alimentarius"
  5. ^ See Catherine Keller, On The Mystery: Discerning Divinity in Process, Fortress Press, Minieapolis, 2008 (page 6-7) [1].
  6. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation#Criticisms
  7. ^ The Corporation, 2003
  8. ^ Sam Pizzigati, Deeply Unequal World, Foreign Policy in Focus, [2]. The United Nations University WIDER study on the World Distribution of Household Wealth, [3]. The World Distribution of Household Wealth study by Davies et al [4].
  9. ^ Catherine Keller, On The Mystery, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2008 (chapter 1). [5]

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