Corporation: Earth

This week it was announced that the Walt Disney Group have agreed a $52.4bn deal to purchase assets belonging to the 20th Century Fox group, in a deal which could create one of the largest media conglomerates in the world. We live in a world where organisations like these control an alarmingly large part of what we do, how we act and in the case of Disney what we watch on a regular basis and arguably more so than any government.

It got me thinking, if corporations keep growing at an exponential rate, both in terms of revenue and worldwide scope how would this impact the political and sociological future of the world.

What if Amazon wanted to buy the U.S. Government? What if Tesco’s became the worlds sole food provider? How would having an internet essentially governed by Google affect freedom of expression?

Corporate Takeover & Geopolitics - Craig Hulet (17.09.2012) (C2C am)

At its heart the modern corporation  is a very similar animal to a government. It has responsibilities to both its stockholders and its employees. In the wider world it acts in a way to enhance its reputation, it conducts mergers and acquisitions in the same way that a nation conducts wars and colonisations and it can fall in the same way that a government can fall.

But a corporation, like a government is only as good as its leaders. However there is one very vital difference, a large number people can vote out a government whereas a director or CEO of a corporation cannot be voted out en masse, only their fellow directors can cast them out.

This may be a slightly negative view of the impact of corporations on the wider world, indeed many corporations engage in philanthropic efforts to better the lives of  ordinary citizens, have charitable arms and benefit mankind.

Look for example at Space X, which has revolutionised the space programme by introducing the first reusable rockets and is proposing to place individuals on Mars by the end of the 2020’s. If Space X wanted to take over NASA and make it a truly international organisation, I would cheer but what if Space X chose to colonise mars and only allow its employees to go there to the detriment of others?

Would planets be renamed in line with corporate objectives? Would it be Disney’s Pluto rather than just Pluto? Will we see the Starbucks galaxy?

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Every little helps: As long as it’s in line with corporate objectives

What if Tesco’s was the only supplier of food and suddenly hiked up its food prices to a point where it encouraged famine? Could a government effectively respond if Tesco’s was the countries principle employer?

At the moment there are various laws and mechanisms which prevent one company from effectively instituting a monopoly of the provision of goods and services over any given sector, so in a sense Amazon could not totally own the online delivery sector.

Laws are subject to changes in circumstances like anything and if the world suffers an economic similar or larger than that suffered in 2009 when the banking sector collapsed then governments may have to change their policy to allow these types of mergers to take place.

Using an earlier example, what would happen if the U.S government collapsed and couldn’t sustain itself, could it fall prey to a hostile corporate takeover, like so many other firms within the corporate sector. Could we then see the United States of Amazon?

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One nation under Jeff Bezos, with liberty and justice for marketplace sellers

If we have a world where five to six corporations effectively control two thirds of the world’s economy and those organisations fall prey to attack from outside sources, as we saw during the recent ddos attack then the world will never be more vulnerable to catastrophe.

Imagine a world where google runs the internet and someone attacks google and you have something of an idea about the impact that this could have.

This also does not preclude the possibility of a corporation acting nefariously. What if a company with a large sector of employees decided to cripple the economy of a country where its competitor operates in order to potentially reduce the potential acquisition cost of that competitor. What effect would that have on the economy and what could the government do to stop them?

Just suppose that a government starts acting against the interests of the corporation. How low could a corporation sink to protect its interests?

If its target were not a competitor but a government it could shatter the public image of that government by engaging in media spin, further destroy the economy of that government by refusing to do business with it and eventually cripple it by encouraging its employees in that country to strike.

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Could Google become a nation state?

In the film Blade Runner 2049, the Wallace corporation has business interests that affect governments and all the people of planet earth. Its founder Niander Wallace, establishes a monopoly on the use of replicant technology acting through the use of government agencies (in this case the LAPD) and through the use of external agents to stop the dissemination of technology which might affect this monopoly.

It may seem like the future but if the current trend of big corporations continues it could become the present.

Google, Microsoft, America, Amazon, General Motors, Pfizer, Tesco, Walmart, Russia, State Grid, Exxon Mobile, The UK. Could a corporation achieve what no dictator has done and take over the world? Potentially the answer is yes, and that is a scary prospect.

Trump National Security Adviser resigns after Russian talks cover-up

Retired general Michael Flynn, who had served as national security adviser to U.S President Donald Trump resigned on Monday after allegations of secret discussions with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Mr Flynn claimed he had mistakenly misled the vice-president, Mike Pence, and other Trump officials about the nature of phone calls in December to the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kisilyak.

It was revealed that these discussions were regarding the lifting of U.S Sanctions against Russia, in place since the last days of the Obama administration and due to alleged state sponsored hacking by Russia.

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Flynn admitted to lying to the Vice President, Mike Pence

In his resignation letter, Mr Flynn said “In the course of my duties as the incoming national security adviser, I held numerous phone calls with foreign counterparts, ministers, and ambassadors. These calls were to facilitate a smooth transition and begin to build the necessary relationships between the president, his advisers and foreign leaders. Such calls are standard practice in any transition of this magnitude.”

“Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador. I have sincerely apologised to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.”

The resignation comes after it was revealed that the Department of Justice had warned the White House that Mr Flynn might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

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Retired  General Joseph Kellogg

President Trump has named retired general Joseph Kellogg, as acting national security adviser, pending the appointment of a permanent successor. It has been widely reported that former CIA director David Petraeus may be appointed to the post but these reports have yet to be confirmed.

Mr Trump, who is currently playing host to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chose not to directly comment on the resignation which is the latest in what has been a chaotic start to his life in the Oval Office. He instead took to twitter bemoaning the number of information leaks which have occurred over the last few weeks.

Adam Schiff, Democrat senator and member of the House Intelligence Committee has called on the Trump administration to confirm when contact with Russian officials began and who was ultimately responsible for allowing them to take place.

Schiff said: “The Trump administration has yet to be forthcoming about who was aware of Flynn’s conversations with the ambassador and whether he was acting on the instructions of the president or any other officials, or with their knowledge.”

Suspicions regarding Russian involvement in the U.S Election still remain and this latest resignation will do nothing to allay fears that Russia may be interfering in American politics at the highest level.

International Whispers- May talks up new ‘Special Relationship’ in US visit

Prime Minister Theresa May has been keen to stress the Special Relationship that exists between Britain and the US in her first visit to America since Donald Trump became President.

Theresa May Visits The United States Of America

Mrs May arriving in the U.S

Mrs May said that Britain and the US “have a joint responsibility to lead” but will not do so in the same way as previous administrations have done.

The Prime Minister will lay a wreath at the grave of the unknown soldier in Arlington National Cemetery before having a face to face meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office later today.

Both countries are at new phases in their history, with Britain soon to be exiting the EU and the US having a new president after eight years of the Obama administration. It is a tense time for both countries, with both having to heal after very polarising political campaigns (Brexit and the US Presidential election).

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May received a standing ovation from Republicans in Philadelphia

The Prime Minister argued that a new “special relationship” would be nothing like the previous one between Tony Blair and George W Bush, which saw high profile invasions Iraq and Afghanistan. “The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are decisively over.”

But as she distanced herself from one previous special relationship, she was keen to stress the parallels between today and the relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher particularly when dealing with Russian Premier Vladimir Putin saying “We should build the relationships, systems and processes that make cooperation more likely than conflict – and give assurance to Russia’s neighbouring states that their security is not in question. We should not jeopardise the freedoms that President Reagan and Mrs Thatcher brought to Eastern Europe by accepting President Putin’s claim that it is now in his sphere of influence.”

May said that she was determined to deepen links between the two countries, adding “It is in our interests – those of Britain and America together – to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe.”

When asked how the temperaments of brash billionaire and a vicars daughter would interact ahead of her meeting this afternoon, the Prime Minister said “Haven’t you ever noticed, sometimes opposites attract?”

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The New Odd Couple?