Corporatocracy

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Corporatocracy (or Corporocracy) is a perjorative term coined by proponents of the anti-globalization movement to describe a government bowing to pressure from corporate entities.

Critics of this term argue that the term has no real meaning in terms of political theory, arguing that a corporation is nothing more than a body of individuals, ruled by an elected governing body and executives appointed by that body. The government of a corporation is beholden to serve and satisfy its shareholders. However, others point out that pursuing the overriding shareholder interest in corporate profitability generally guides the actions of corporate governing bodies, and it is in the pursuit of this interest that corporations exercise their financial and marketplace power in order to influence public policy.

It is also true that while anyone can become a shareholder in principle, in reality it is frequently only the wealthy who can afford to own enough stock to directly influence the voting (and hence the activities) of a corporation. Hence the term "corporatocracy" might be considered somewhat synonymous with plutocracy, the government by the rich.

However, and in contrast, less financially affluent people have at times successfully managed to purchase enough shares to at least have motions submitted for consideration at shareholder meetings. On some occasions where enough publicity is generated, this may directly influence the voting, as the majority shareholders do not wish to suffer negative publicity by dismissing the motion. Several motions related to "corporate responsibility" have been passed this way in recent years.

Some would argue that a real corporocracy can only appear when (and if) a government makes it legal to bribe politicians. That quickly makes politicians very corporate-friendly, and makes it easy for corporations to pass laws as they see fit. Many people in the United States believe the allowance for soft money contributions has created such a situation and view the contributions that prompted the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as evidence. Also, many argue that when the major media outlets are controled by large corporations, access to information tends to become limited to what serves corporate interests, and corporate interests in turn are able to define the national political agenda.


See also: cyberpunk, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky.

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