Guide Political Economy of the global media business: Why corporate interests shape the news

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Corporations don't breathe air, drink water or eat food, nor have demonstrated much regard for life. Yet they have great influence over creating the world we live in.

This influence extends to governments, media, education and the rules, regulations and customs that shape the beliefs and behaviors of humanity. As non-living fictitious entities, corporations have used their money, power and socio-economic-political influence to create a world that serves their interests - "A World for the Non-Living" - A world that rationalizes and perpetuates the destruction of life, health and beauty as well as the devastation of our biosphere in the name of increased profits and growth.

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Since the beginning of the industrial age in , corporations have grown in influence and have consistently shown a pattern of elevating the economic imperative over the ethical imperative. The corporation, as a form and structure, is relatively benign and provides a method for a collection of individuals to unify their efforts and capital to achieve a mission. Like a pot of stew, corporations are analogous to a container of boiling water.

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It has no flavor or character, but takes on the characteristics of the ingredients thrown into the pot. The corporate stew consists of such things as the mission, purpose, organizational structure, leadership, employees, policies, protocols, regulations, facilities and culture. If a corporation is run by ethical, equitable, socially responsible and environmentally conscious management with a highly functional governance structure for eco-social benefit, and is supported by like-minded shareholders and customers, a corporation can do great good in the world.

However, when a corporation, with the rights and powers of an immortal person, is controlled by greedy, corrupt and power hungry sociopaths whose management and shareholders rationalize the abandonment of qualitative and ethical considerations for profit and turn a blind eye to destruction, toxicity, injustice and suffering they cause, a corporation can become a dangerous and powerful enemy to humankind and the planet.

Just years ago, the business corporation was a relatively insignificant institution. Today, corporations have become the dominant institution of business and impact practically everything on this planet from people, animals and plants to the quality and availability of water, food, energy and resources e. Prior to the 17th century, the first corporations were created as not-for-profit entities to build institutions, such as hospitals and universities, for the public good. They had constitutions detailing their duties overseen by the government.

Who's in control – nation states or global corporations?

Straying outside the constitutional boundaries was punishable by law. Now corporations run the government and make the laws. It shipped out gold and silver to Asia in return for spices, textiles and luxury goods. The East India Company expanded into a vast enterprise, conquering India with a total monopoly on trade and all the territorial powers of a government.

Who's in control – nation states or global corporations? | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian

At its height, it ruled over a fifth of the world's population with a private army of a quarter million. In the 17th century, making money became a major focus for corporations. The limited ability of national governments to pursue any agenda that has not first been endorsed by international capital and its proxies is no longer simply the cross they have to bear; it is the cross to which we have all been nailed. The nation state is the primary democratic entity that remains. But given the scale of neoliberal globalisation it is clearly no longer up to that task.

This contradiction is not new. Indeed, it is precisely because it has continued, challenged but virtually unchecked, for more than a generation, that political cynicism has intensified. The recent success of the far right in the European parliamentary elections revealed just how morbid those symptoms have become.

These victories, election to a parliament with little real power, on a very low turnout , can be overstated. But the trend should not be underplayed. Over the past 30 years, fascism — and its 57 varieties of fellow travellers in denial — has shifted as a political current from marginal to mainstream to central in Europe's political culture. The problem with describing these parties as racist is not that the description is inaccurate but that, by itself, it is inadequate.

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