Corporatocracy

From Academic Kids

Corporatocracy (sometimes corporocracy) is a neologism coined by proponents of the global justice movement to describe a government bowing to pressure from corporate entities.

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 corporatocracy might be considered somewhat synonymous with plutocracy, government by the rich.

Some would argue that a real corporatocracy 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 campaign 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 controlled 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. Finally when the majority of wealth of the politicians is invested into corporations, that gives politicians incentive to support the corporations.

The nature of corporations and stock market speculation makes some of the desires of corporations unexpected. For example, a national corporation in a purely national industry (non international), would be less worried about a universal regulation which would decrease profits, than a regulation that would target that individual company, since investors would be more likely to divest in the second case.

An example of such a system could be Singapore, where the state supports a strong free market, with weak and sometimes nonexistent political freedom. Although the corporations do not rule Singapore, the state often supports them.

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 a governing body (elected by its shareholders) and executives appointed by that body. As such, it is claimed to have as much a right as any other body of people to exercise powers (such as voters). 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.

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