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Have Corporations Become a Global Existential Threat?

Posted in business, ethics, existential risksTagged ,

Perhaps you think I’m crazy or naive to pose this question. But more and more the past few months I’ve begun to wonder if there is a possibility here that this idea may not be too far off the mark.

Not because of some half-baked theory about a global conspiracy or anything of the sort but simply based upon the behavior of many multinational corporations recently and the effects this behavior is having upon people everywhere.

Again, you may disagree but my perspective on these financial giants is that they are essentially predatory in nature and that their prey is any dollar in commerce that they can possibly absorb. The problem is that for anyone in the modern or even quasi-modern world money is nearly as essential as plasma when it comes to our well-being.

It has been clearly demonstrated again and again — all over the world — that when a population has become sufficiently destitute that the survival of the individual is actually threatened violence inevitably occurs. On a large enough scale this sort of violence can erupt into civil war and wars, as we all know too well can spread like a virus across borders, even oceans.

Until fairly recently, corporations were not big enough, powerful enough or sufficiently meshed with our government to push the US population to a point of violence and perhaps we’re not there yet, but between the bank bailout, the housing crisis, the bailouts of the automakers, the subsidies to the big oil companies and ten thousand other government gifts that are coming straight from the taxpayer I fear we are getting ever closer to the brink.

Who knows — it might just take one little thing — like that new one dollar charge many stores have suddenly begun instituting for any purchase using an ATM or credit card — to push us over the edge.

The last time I got hit with one of these dollar charges I thought about the ostensible reason for this — that the credit card company is now charging the merchant more per transaction so the merchant is passing that cost on to you — however this isn’t the whole story. The merchant is actually charging you more than the transaction costs him and even if this is a violation of either the law or the terms and services agreement between the card company and the merchant, the credit card company looks the other way because they are securing a bigger transaction because of what the merchant is doing thus increasing their profits even further.

Death by big blows or a thousand cuts — the question is will we be forced to do something about it before the big corporations eat us alive?

Existential Threats

3 Comments so far

  1. I looked into similar questions and issues on the Transnational Super Class, which are certain CEOs of the World’s largest Corporations, billionaires who are involved with World disruptive technology gaming, technology entrepreneurs, top military commanders, politicians with great influence, select religious leaders, media barons, even terrorist leaders and master criminals, and more. These Corporations enjoy transnational status, while being subjected to the national laws everywhere, they are often allowed significant power on the governments whose law define them. A possible example that is real? Look how Haliburton derives significant revenue from the U.S. Government and its US operations, but when public pressures and opinion turned against its practices, it moved its headquarters to the Persian Gulf. These Super Class oligarchs will move from one government to another, if they aren’t obliged their power and influence. Today it appears that many large transnational corporations are moving towards the Persian Gulf or other countries in the Middle East (to better exert their power?).

  2. Wintel — great points. It seems we agree fully however you have exposed that this threat may actually be even more grave than I had previously thought.

  3. Yes, this article is hopelessly naive. Corporation is a business form. There are very good reasons for this business form that have very nothing to do with anything particularly nefarious. The limited liability aspect of corporations is actually required for many of the ventures whose fruits we enjoy today to ever come to pass.

    What is a global existential threat is government, especially of the size we have today. If you examine the record of the 20th century you will see that governments directly caused the death of many tens of millions and threatened the survival of humanity itself. Governments have largely destroyed the viability of most Western economies while conditioning “their citizens” to blame conditions on business organization and other scapegoats. Not that some of these haven’t been bottom feeders par excellence on the carrion government created.

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