This report is really something that everyone in the world should understand, because it spells out precisely what the corporate sector intends to do. Ostensibly, it’s a response to the global financial crash of 2008, which in reality is a convenient justification for the corporate sector to make a power grab. In short, the plan is to make national governments and international institutions irrelevant, and hand over global governance to the corporate sector. The report, of course, doesn’t put it that way. It calls for greater co-operation between elected governments and unelected corporations when it comes to global power. Why we should have to hand over any power at all to unelected bodies that exist solely to make profit is not adequately explained. Nor could it be of course – not in a way that makes sense to anyone other than the wealthy elite.
The University of Massechusetts Boston calls the report ‘the most comprehensive proposal for re-designing global governance since the formulation of the United Nations’. It comes out of the ‘Global Redesign Initiative’ of the World Economic Forum (known for its winter meetings in Davos), itself a wealthy elite lobby group that exists to promote the rights of international investors over elected bodies and ordinary people everywhere.
Here’s the report. It was compiled in 2010, and since then, the biggest development towards their vision of a corporate world has been the proposed TTIP trade deal between the US and EU – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
I read a book called How the Other Half Dies in the early eighties, which opened my eyes to the way that banks and corporations dominate the economy. It was written by Susan George (not the actress). She’s a hero of mine, and helped start me on the path of understanding how the corporate sector is taking over more and more of the roles of government, so that nowadays, their aim is global governance more than just economic dominance.
She is now president of the Transnational Institute, and I recently came across a video of her explaining how corporations are planning for global governance. First she mentions the usual channels – lobbying, ‘trade’ treaties, institutes that appear to be neutral but actually exist to promote corporate interests in specific fields (food, energy, finance etc.), infiltration of UN and international agencies, and then goes on to describe the more creative ways in which the corporate sector is now attempting to take power. This is all described in more detail in her new book, Shadow Sovereigns.
She points out that TTIP is much more about power than about trade, and makes the very good point that if faced with the possibility of very expensive lawsuits from very wealthy corporations if they introduce policies to protect the environment or workers’ rights (which is what will be possible through TTIP) that can in any way hinder the corporate sector when it comes to making profits, then they are likely to forego those policies. This is even more likely in poorer countries.
And then, also on the website of the Transnational Institute, I found the video below (entitled ‘How do Corporations Want to Run the World in Future?’), featuring Harris Gleckman, who explains more about the Global Redesign Initiative Project’s report, including how the corporate sector intends to initiate policy within the UN – making a mockery of the title, United Nations. Instead, they foresee more of a public-private initiative – a United Nations & Corporations, if you like, moving more towards becoming a ‘United Corporations’.
Open Democracy put it this way: ‘a central argument made in Davos contends that when it comes to tackling global problems, nation-states and their public politics are not up to the job. They must therefore be replaced by a sleek new system in which ‘stakeholders’ –- that is transnational corporations, a few powerful governments, selected intellectuals and invited members of ‘civil society’ – will henceforth manage the world’s affairs together. Governments will become merely one actor among several running global affairs.’ Read more on their take here.
The article above also mentions that: ‘More than 60 years ago, the UN affirmed sovereign nations and their peoples as the ultimate authority for international affairs.’ That is now changing. National governments can no longer control transnational corporations, and can no longer govern their own countries. If they try, in ways that inconvenience multinational corporations and their investors, those investors will remove their money from that country and force it to change direction. This was highlighted in a recent report by Credit Suisse.
If you’ve read this far, you probably understand the threat posed to democracy by the corporate sector. It’s up to people who understand this to explain it patiently to others.
The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's
1Steve Gwynne November 5th, 2015
Good piece. The US sci-fi tv series Continuum has an interesting take on global corporate governance which in the series is called the corporate congress.
In many ways I find this whole area of global governance quite complicated. On the one hand it seems simple that democracy should be the governing principle rather than corporatocracy but on the other when dealing with these different institutions in the real world then local councils for example provide such a poor standard of customer service compared to say Virgin or Talk Talk or energy providers. In this respect going by my present experience I would much rather corporations or at least corporations with a strong ethic of corporate social responsibility organising affairs which cannot be done effectively by communities themselves. I mean democracy seems to produce such crap ineffecient corrupt governments and local councils that it might well be better for technocratic corporations to do the job instead.
Obviously this excludes the likes of Exron who have actively gone about deceiving the public as well as VW and so obviously some means of recall would be necessary.
I have this conversation with politically minded friends and often they might say that the community itself can manage most affairs but again in my experience most people have no or very little political acumen beyond their own selfish interests. Hence democracy again produces very ineffective outcomes as a result of largely politically illiterate population.
The question therefore is who can we trust to manage our transcommunity affairs if not the mostly politically illiterate population, the mostly corrupt and self-serving politicians, the mostly self-serving unelected governmental officials, the mostly self-serving TNCs/MNCs. This pretty much only leaves the customer facing corporations who in my experience provide the best customer service, the best rebate/compensation packages for ineffecient service (I recently received £100 from Virgin for crap service), an active system of improvement in which customers can suggest improvements or complain about service and last but not least, in the main these type of corporations are already doing much of the job anyway but the only thing that makes them appear ineffecient is the need to access their services through ineffecient and mostly superfluous local councils.
Maybe there is another way!
Cheers for posting ????.
2Dave Darby November 5th, 2015
Miles away from you on this one Steve. I agree that professional politicians tend to be self-serving, often waiting for a lucrative job on a corporate board after serving them well; and that pure democracy (press the red button for yes, etc.) would put a largely politically (and technologically) illiterate population in charge, but the thought of the world being run by the corporate sector, for profit, with sweat shops, tax avoidance, zero hours contracts, planned obsolescence, and without any semblance of democracy, makes me sick to the stomach. All our High Streets exactly the same, no chance for small businesses to compete, (Donald Trump as world president?). It’s a horror story. The fact that you think the most important thing in governance might be customer service makes me a bit queasy too. There’s also the problem that corporate capitalism is primed to grow forever, which is degrading the biosphere, and which therefore will eventually make us extinct unless we get rid of it.
Where I think you’re right is pointing out the problems with pure democracy and parliamentary ‘democracy’. imho the best short-term (and potentially achievable solution) would be a new system of choosing better representatives based on face-to-face contact (more on that here – http://lowimpactorg.wpengine.com/how-julius-nyereres-ujamaa-idea-could-form-the-basis-of-a-new-global-political-system/), with no corporate input into the system, until we can reach the hallowed ground of a society with no hierarchy. I’ve disagreed with fellow anarchists about this, but I don’t see a way to flatten the hierarchy completely whilst faced with the corporate behemoth.