When Corporations Rule the World
a book by David Korten
(our site's book review)
Korten tells us the global corporatocracies are mobilizing the full resources of the world's largest corporations behind an effort to consolidate global corporate rule. Democracy is taking it on the chin, since those in power are circumventing democratic processes and structures as they rule from the golden thrones of the shadow government. The actions of these elites " . . . constitute an increasingly effective attack on the institutions of democracy—the very purpose of which is to prevent a small inside elite from capturing control of the instruments of governance. . . . The greater the political power of corporations and those aligned with them, the less the political power of the people, and the less meaningful democracy becomes. There is an alternative: to localize economies, disperse economic power, and bring democracy closer to the people."
Democracy is taking it on the chin, since those in power are circumventing democratic processes and structures as they rule from the golden thrones of the shadow government
Desmond Tutu called When Corporations Rule the World " . . . a must-read book—a searing indictment of an unjust international economic order, not by a wild-eyed idealistic left-winger, but by a sober scion of the establishment with impeccable credentials." The book is a devastating critique of the tyranny of the global economy, globalism, the multinational corporatocracy, and greed of a few dictating the misery of the many and the utter failure of democracy as a system of governance—since it is the oligarchs of the corporatocracy that rule these days, deftly side-stepping democratic concerns. They're burying democracy 6 feet under.
The greed of a few are dictating the misery of the many and the utter failure of democracy as a system of governance—the elites are burying democracy 6 feet under
The Republican Party has responded to the modern American political situation of disintegrating grassroots power and skyrocketing media influences by expertly adapting sophisticated techniques of mass marketing to the task of winning elections. "With these techniques, it has accomplished the improbable task of exploiting the alienation of powerless citizens to build a populist political base in support of an elitist agenda!" The propaganda machines of the right wing have actually got tens of millions of confused, brainwashed, misled citizens voting AGAINST their own interests! This is antipopulism in a populist disguise, and it is truly a masterfully employed trick that is centuries old and, apparently, as effective as ever: the old "wolf in sheep's clothing" trick.
The GOP is implementing 'anti-populism in a populist disguise,' and it is truly a masterfully employed trick that is centuries old and, apparently, as effective as ever: the old 'wolf in sheep's clothing' trick
What did they use for a distraction in this sleight-of-hand? Culture War issues. See Culture Wars: The Struggle To Control The Family, Art, Education, Law, And Politics In America. The Democratic Party, which used to represent grassroots populist constituencies, but now uses the same techniques of mass market persuasion as the GOP, except that it focuses on the reverse side of the Culture War issues, is offering advice such as: "Don't let these Bible thumpers steal a woman's right to choose from every woman if the U.S. so women go back to back-alley coat-hanger abortions!"
At the same time that multinational corporatocracies are consolidating global corporate rule, Korten says, confidence in our major institutions is evaporating, and there is a profound and accelerating suspicion among thoughtful people the world over that something has gone very wrong. These conditions are becoming pervasive in almost every locality of the world and point to a global-scale failure of our institutions. Except that while more than 99.9% of us humans see this institutional transformation as a failure, less than one tenth of one percent of us—the rich corporatocracy members of the shadow government—see it as a success.
Republicans went crazy, Democrats became useless, and the Middle Class got shafted (or is it Trumped?)—this drunken party of greed gone mad is NOT the plan our founders envisioned!
It means that the global planning of such organizations as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg, the U.S. Business Roundtable, and the World Trade Organization—as well as secret organizations we have yet to hear about—have given these corporatocracy fat cats global corporate rule. The oligarchs of the corporatocracy rule these days, thumbing their noses at democratic concerns. If measured by contributions to improving the lives of people or strengthening the institutions of democratic governance, the World Bank and the IMF have been disastrous failures. Korten: "[the World Bank and the IMF] have arguably done more harm to more people than any other pair of nonmilitary institutions in human history."
In the U.S., the 1% people get 99% and the 99% people (us) get 1%. Is it fair we get leftover scraps and they pig out?
Why would these oligarchs choose to dishonor our Founders and our country and our democratic heritage this way? Three words: greed, power, and control. From their point of view, letting a bunch of ignorant sheep (the citizens) have a real say in national decisions is foolish, dangerous, and unnecessary. Why not actually have a few of the elites in the shadow government pull the real levers of power to keep things less messy but especially more profitable to the elites? If these puppet masters had run things for the good of the people instead of to line their own pockets, the world would be a far different place.
The shadow government pulls the real levers of power to keep things more profitable for the elites, and elected leaders are mere puppets
From the rich elites point of view, letting a bunch of ignorant sheep (the citizens) have a real say in national decisions is foolish, dangerous, and unnecessary
But the most significant piece of wisdom to come out of the breadth and scope of world history is that absolute power corrupts absolutely. And in the case of the oligarchs of the shadow government(s), it has done precisely that. They're taking the wealth from the rest of us and keeping it for themselves. A predictable outcome of such an obscene concentration of power. There have been a few unselfish, compassionate leaders in the world such as Nelson Mandella and Jimmy Carter, but these are rare exceptions, and even though Carter was on the Trilateral Commission, he'd have been easily outvoted by less humanitarian members. So democracies of the world have become facades, clown shows, poses, and fronts. The oligarchs' strategy: "Keep the silly sheep all excited and entertained by the cacaphony of screams and howls as the candidates in elections fight over silly diversions like the Culture War issues, while the serious work gets done in our shadow government meetings."
Democracies of the world have become facades, clown shows, poses, and fronts
Korten gives a comprehensive list of all the social dysfunctions that are manifesting in most of the countries of the world as a result of this control by greedy oligarchs. See The Index Of Leading Cultural Indicators and Personal Symptoms.
Remember when you learned in world history and U.S. history courses that the U.S. was formed when American settlers wanted to prevent a royal elite from Europe from continuing to tax and oppress the Colonists? Our Founders succeeded in this quest and our democracy was born. However, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and it is a price that Americans have failed to pay. So the royalist, elitist, aristocracy desires prevalent in many of the rich and powerful took advantage of this short American attention span (nonvigilance) and they surfaced with a vengeance, and the people never knew what hit them since this time the oppressors and exploiters were mostly home grown—not European—and they wasted no time in forming sneaky little shadow government organizations and capturing control of the instruments of governance. While we were chuckling over various distractions on TV and in movie theaters, the elites were sealing our democracy's doom.
A United States Founder, George Washington
Korten says that "Economic globalization is neither in the human interest nor inevitable. It is axiomatic that political power aligns with economic power. The larger the economic unit, the larger its dominant players, and the more political power becomes concentrated in the largest corporations. The greater the political power of corporations and those aligned with them, the less the political power of the people, and the less meaningful democracy becomes. There is an alternative: to localize economies, disperse economic power, and bring democracy closer to the people." He also says that global corporatocracies are mobilizing the full resources of the world's largest corporations behind an effort to consolidate global corporate rule in the 1995 version of the book. But he talks more of a fait accompli in the 2015 version:
When Corporations Rule the World, 3rd Edition In this new edition of his classic book, David Korten illuminates the convergence of ideological, political, and technological forces that have driven an ever-greater concentration of economic and political power in a handful of corporations and financial institutions and left the market system blind to all but its own short-term financial gains. As he vividly documents, the social and environmental consequences of these efforts have been devastating.
Our Supreme Court has slowly degenerated into being nothing but a depressing tool of the corporatocracy, and the Citizen's United case proved it
Human survival depends on a global community-based, life-centered alternative beyond the outmoded ideologies of communism and capitalism. Korten lays out specific steps to achieve it. Among them, dump the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizen's United case, stop seeing corporations as deserving of human rights like they're people, start making corporations accountable for their actions, stop allowing offshore tax shelters, and undo all the legal loop-holes that allow corporations to avoid responsibility. Then, address civic restoration and dysfunctionality from the bottom up—it will never work from the top down. Next, pursue policies that create opportunities for people who are experiencing deprivation to produce the things that they need to have a better life. (As The Forest Through The Trees says, "teach a man to fish, not give a man a fish.")
The Forest Through The Trees says: "teach a man to fish, not give a man a fish"
President Abraham Lincoln observed just before his death: "Corporations have been enthroned.... An era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people . . . until wealth is aggregated in a few hands . . . and the Republic is destroyed." And 20 years later, in 1876, President Rutherford B. Hayes, complained, "this is a government of the people, by the people and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations." Ten years later, in the the late 1880s, the robber barons John D. Rockefeller, J. Pierpont Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, James Mellon, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Philip Armour, and Jay Gould took advantage of the relative absence of regulation in the world of business to exploit people and businesses mercilessly, which eventually led to passing an array of regulatory legislation to protect us from this rampant robbery and exploitation, so we were relatively safe for a few decades.
Ronald Reagan, the 'great communicator,' was an unwitting corporatocracy tool; this turned out to be a deadly combination: ignorance multiplied by a very gifted ability to spread it
But then along came a well-meaning guy named Ronald Reagan who didn't understand the meaning of U.S. history but did know the meaning of how to be a great communicator. This turned out to be a deadly combination: ignorance multiplied by a very gifted ability to spread it. Reagan slashed regulations left and right, with Big Business looking on lovingly as their champion knocked out decades of social progress and democratic progress with an actor's flair for drama. And the huge law firms and PR firms and advertising firms that backed his efforts comprised the most sophisticated misinformation campaign ever foisted on the American public. Most people who were part of these campaigns didn't even realize that it was misinformation—including Reagan, who didn't realize he was being used as a pawn of the shadow government efforts to consolidate global corporate rule.
Claiming that all this "big government" and "overregulation" and "overtaxation" was holding back American progress and business success was simply not true. What was it holding back? It was holding back Americans from having to assume most of the tax burden of Big Business. It was holding back the curse of monopolies from once again blighting the business landscape as in the late 1800s, incuring lots of collateral damage in the process. And it was holding back the circumventing of democratic processes and structures from those who ruled from the golden thrones of the shadow government. Needless to say, THESE truths were left out of the Reagan speeches! As Korten says, the election of Reagan "ushered in a concerted and highly successful effort to roll back the clock on the social and economic reforms that had created the broadly based prosperity that made America the envy of the world and to create a global economy that was more responsive to U.S. corporate interests." (And yet Reagan painted his efforts with the brush of expanding that broadly based prosperity, since it was what he'd been told. He'd drunk the Kool-Aid—every last drop.)
Our nation's actions are making the Founders turn over in their graves
The Corporatocracy is undermining democracy and making our Founders turn over in their graves. (See The US is an oligarchy, study concludes.) Corporatocracy: rule by an oligarchy of corporate elites through the manipulation of a formal democracy. Oligarchy: a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes. After the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizen's United case, the movement of the US toward a corporatocracy is complete. Justice Stevens, of the minority dissenting opinion, wrote: "At bottom, the Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt."
Korten tell us that "The civic sector is the foundation of democratic societies. To a substantial degree, citizen organizations and networks are replacing the increasingly corporate-dominated press in the function of public watchdog." The press pushes the corporatocracy agenda, but the internet is a way around this if you are willing to read articles from the alternative press like Alternet.
The Press and Television and Radio Networks Push the Corporatocracy Agenda
The author looks at World Bank evils by noting that officials who sign foreign loan agreements are obligating the people of the poor country to future financial obligations without their consent. This becomes especially nasty and unfair when, as has happened to millions of people in World Bank client countries, the loan-funded projects displace the poor from homes and lands, pollute their countries' waters, cut down their forests, and destroy their fisheries. Then, adding insult to injury, when the bills come due, the poor are told that their social services and wages must be cut to repay the country's loan obligations. This is a good example that highlights the fact that in global corporate rule, people are not feeling creatures but merely numbers and inefficient ones at that. (The details are spelled out in all their ugliness in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.)
But there are many people and groups—especially indigenous peoples—who are fighting all this environmental destruction and pollution and cultural decimation at the hands of the globalists. The examples in Korten's book are varied and inspiring. Korten supports the Third Wave and bemoans the foolish reductionism in so many Second Wave ethics. He supports the ecological-holistic paradigm as opposed to the reductionistic-mechanistic paradigm, in Fritjof Capra's terms. See The Web of Life.
We all need to fight the environmental destruction and pollution and cultural decimation at the hands of the globalists
True spirituality can never be the product of conformity and respect for/fear of authority—if it isn’t a product of finding oneself, it isn’t real; Korten says that to make our effect on the earth sustainable, we must dump our addiction to money, re-inspire spiritual meaning in our lives
Korten says that to make our effect on the earth sustainable, we have to break free of our addiction to the world of money, re-inspire spiritual meaning in our lives, and anchor our economic institutions in place and community so that they are deeply connected to people and life. People-centered development must create life-centered—not money-centered—societies in which the economy is but one of the aspects of good living, not the purpose of human existence. But because our leaders are obsessed with the economic myths and reward systems of the institutions they lead, they will never lead this process, so leadership in this creative process of institutional and value re-creation must come from within civil society. See The Rise of Global Civil Society: Building Communities and Nations from the Bottom Up.
He notes that governments seem wholly incapable of responding, and the frustration of the citizens is turning into rage. Yet propaganda machinery controlled by megacorporations constantly reassures us with these lies:
- Materialism is the path to happiness
- Governmental restraint of market excess is the cause of our unhappiness
- Economic globalization is inevitable and good fo the human species.
We're in full agreement with Desmond Tutu what calls the book a searing indictment of an unjust international economic order. We call it an ugly look beneath the surface of the shadow government's reverse Robin Hood strategy: take from the poor and give to the rich. We should all read this important book and take its suggestions to heart before we find ourselves in a totalitarian world government where the ass clowns in charge keep telling us to jump, and we are forced to reply: "How high, Sir?"
- Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World
- When Corporations Rule the World
- The Rise of the American Corporate Security State
- The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption
- Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America
- The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America--and What We Can Do to Stop It
- The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government
- National Security and Double Government
- A Game As Old As Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption
- Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the Global Economy IMPLODED -- and How to Fix It
Various authors see the shadow government from various perspectives—like the blind men and the elephant, but the overall gist is creepily similar