So here it is, the Prologue.
“As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.” Noam Chomsky.
In the second half of the twentieth century corporate power began to grow, most notably in the United States. The rest of the world followed, bowing to the might of the US dollar. Politicians of the day, certainly up until the early nineteen seventies during the Nixon administration, the last of the ‘New Deal’ presidents, were well aware of the danger to democracy of unrestricted and unregulated business practices, especially in the financial sector. However, regulated they were and reasonably effectively until the regulations slowly began to be eroded.
How had this happened? The tipping point was possibly the decision in January of 1976 by the United States Supreme Court on the Buckley vs. Valeo case to view money, at least the spending of it, as a form of free speech. Now although many limitations or caps were maintained, the underlying argument accelerated corporate deregulation. By the end of the twentieth century, virtually all limitations on political campaign contributions were set aside as there were always numerous ways to get around any remaining campaign spending controls. The effect of this was a flood of corporate funds into the body politic. This in turn introduced a cycle of wealth centralisation and the reduction of democratic and civilising influences. This trend continued into the twenty-first century. The infamous Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission decision in January of 2010, cemented the consideration of corporations as persons and in effect, the decision ruling was that ‘The right of free speech as corporations cannot be curtailed’. The Dodd Franck act introduced as a consequence of the 2008 crash was finally repealed in 2017, the writing was on the wall.
At the same time that corporate deregulation was progressing, the general population was being seduced by consumerism, they began to no longer care about anybody else but themselves, this change in attitude was encouraged and was central to the control of the masses. Instead they were being actively directed to the superficial things of life, keeping up with the neighbours became hugely important to the middle classes whilst the poorer people, who had no hope of ever being able to afford or live the perceived ‘American Dream’ looked on in anger and impotence. Those who could see the truth, that the masses were in fact an oppressed class were either ignored, vilified for their left wings views or simply labelled conspiracy theorists. All the while, the general public were being ever more marginalised.
The elite enjoyed the manoeuvring, the politicking, they enjoyed the challenge and manipulation of executive policy to their own benefit. They were, however, oblivious to what would likely happen once they had accumulated all of the wealth and all of the power. Thus the stage was set for the largest, most serious economic crash, The Bust, in history. The bailouts demanded by the corporations and institutions effectively bankrupted the governments of the time. Not that the governments had a great deal of choice, as they were merely the puppets, the front men and women, for the corporate elite. The corporations were content that they no longer had to pander to public opinion, not that they ever really did but before the Bust they still had to maintain a public face. This was no longer necessary.
So, ultimately, they destroyed democracy. The governments of the world still existed but they were openly subservient to the all powerful corporations. What could now challenge the corporate elite, what sort of meaning could they find in their lives? Effectively their lives became quite pointless and would likely have atrophied into an endless cycle of unchallenging days followed by empty nights. Now while the older generation of the elite could no longer change, unable even to imagine or contemplate change, the younger generation amongst the elite saw things differently. They, eventually, inherited power and began accelerating the process of merging all corporations within their sphere of influence under a single super corporation. The prime movers were initially from the financial institutions who were the actual owners of almost every other major corporation. They owned the vast majority of the stock and dictated corporate policy. Money as the means to express power was quickly replaced by the control of resources and energy sources.
In the early years after the Bust, the masses began to organise and activism was once more on the rise. Challenges to corporate power were also growing and the corporations themselves responded by, at first, paying the local governments for the use of their remaining armed forces to secure their operations. Very quickly, these armed forces became the security arm of the emerging super corporations. The preferred pre-Bust method of controlling the population was fabricated or fashionable consumerism but as the masses were struggling to simply survive, they needed a new method of control, the ‘carrot’ of consumerism was simply no longer relevant. Survival, certainly in the areas of more extreme weather, was highly dependant on power, the merged super corporations ensured that they had the monopoly on all power production and with the very real threat of being cut off from the power grid, the ‘Stick’, they were able to maintain and direct the masses as they saw fit.
As these new energy corporations, or EnCor as they became collectively known, expanded their power, they recruited into the corporate ranks a new generation of executives and managers at all levels. This became one of the most class-conscious societies in history. In terms of internal disputes, the higher ranked person was always in the right, no matter what the realities of the conflict were. Every single member of this new corporate society was encouraged to fight for promotion by any means necessary. Empathy was considered as an unforgivable weakness and to be accused of it could and did destroy many good people. Some however, determined to work towards change but they had to be extraordinarily careful at all times. They recognised that, the corporate elite are human only in physical form. To be truly human, one must be a humanist.