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By Robert A. Vella

A fellow blogger (http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/) coined the term “rogue corporate entity” on one of my recent posts as a focus for blame should our modern society suffer an irreversible collapse.  Such speculation is warranted.  From Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?

A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

My blogger friend is also an expert on this topic.  He has written a book about it titled Growth Shock which I highly recommend reading.  And, here’s more credible voices sounding the alarm bells.  The CIA released a report in late 2012 that described climate change as a threat to the national security interests of the United States, and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said earlier this year that the dual dangers of climate change and economic inequality are “non-negotiable” problems which must be solved.

These opinions are correct.  The current trajectory of human civilization is unsustainable.  We’re simply exploiting too many natural resources and people too quickly.  Sooner or later the system will break down.  If adverse climate effects don’t trigger it first, social unrest certainly will.

Unless we identify the causes behind this issue, it will be impossible to correct.  And since these causes are manmade, assigning blame is unavoidable.  Since no person, or persons, can be held accountable for what ails the entire world, the problem must be systemic.  Enter the rogue corporate entity, or RCE.

RCE’s in my view are large organizational structures sanctioned by the state, or states, to serve a narrowly defined purpose that conflicts with the requisites of a healthy, prosperous society.  They come in two flavors.  The first is oriented towards business and profit making.  The second is oriented towards ideology and issue advocacy.  A transnational oil conglomerate is an example of the first type of RCE, while a well-funded radical political interest group exemplifies the second.  Quite often their agendas overlap, and consequently we see a lot of coordination between the two types (see:  Koch Group, Spending Freely, Hones Attack on Government).

What caused businesses to go rogue is:  1) excessive size, and 2) the legitimization of greed.  When private concerns become so big that they can challenge the authority of sovereign nations, then they are no longer accountable to the people.  Today, there are scores of corporations who fit this profile and who are engaged in a variety of destructive activities.  Wall Street, for instance, should never have been allowed to grow so unwieldy.  Had it been constrained, the financial crisis of 2008 and subsequent Great Recession most likely wouldn’t have occurred.  The legitimization of greed as legal constructs transpired over the last two centuries.  As a result, the amoral pursuit of money is now the highest – and sometimes the only – priority of for-profit enterprises.  Such a disconnect with cultural mores is intrinsically dangerous to civilized society.  When any behavior can be justified by greed, widespread corruption becomes normalized.  The egregious BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico offers irrefutable testimony.  For background information on how greed became legitimized, see corporate governance, fiduciary duty, and Examining the Morality of Capitalism.

RCE’s have become so powerful in recent decades that they have coerced the very institutions designed to confine it.  Even the once stalwart western democracies, which enabled the great middle class expansion of the 20th century, have been systematically transformed into malleable puppet regimes.  Standing as the last remaining barrier before a catastrophic collapse of human civilization is the public.  If the mass of people everywhere can be mobilized into action, the crisis might be averted.  It is assured, however, that rogue corporate entities will use every tool and weapon in their arsenal to prevent any kind of populist remedy.  The clock is ticking…

20 thoughts on “Rogue Corporate Entities and the Collapse of Human Civilization

  1. A timely warning, Robert! I encountered a truly frightening RCE last evening, Enbridge Energy, that has already done a great deal of damage to communities and the environment and is seeking approval from the state of Minnesota to do even more. I’m hopeful that the current proposal to expand will fail, but that does nothing to remove the pipelines already carrying toxic tar sands oil along major waterways.

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  2. As I skimmed the articles about Enbridge today, I realized how much misinformation they gave last night in response to comments by those who opposed expansion. They refused to list the chemicals used to stabilize heavy oil for transport and gave misinformation about the status of the Kalamazoo clean-up and who would ultimately pay the $1 billion price tag.

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    • That was exactly the point of my comment on your post. Procedural transparency is key. If the public does not have all the relevant information, it cannot make the correct decision. By withholding data and releasing misinformation, Enbridge has abrogated its right to a fair-minded consideration. I would oppose their pipeline expansion plan on that basis alone.

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      • Fortunately, there will be a published version of the hearing that I plan to use to develop my written comments. It will make it easier to quote Enbridge’s misleading assertions and counter them with facts from credible sources in a way that demonstrates the threat posed to public health and safety in line with the statute that will be used to guide the state’s decision. The dishonesty of corporate representatives in the hearing (or perhaps their lack of knowledge as scientists and engineers which is in many ways worse), their track record of pipeline failures and slow clean-up efforts, speaks volumes about their untrustworthiness.

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  3. Pingback: Time to Start Thinking about Deposing Fossil Fuel Kings and Establishing a Global Climate Emergency Protocol | The Secular Jurist

  4. Excellent article, Robert. I was reminded of an opinion piece backed by neuroscience research, publish in Psychology Today.

    Excerpt from “We Humans Have A Fatal Biology”

    “Our frontal lobes brought us from our hunter-gatherer ancestors to space travel. It all worked reasonably well, but now the older parts of our brains have caught up with us, dooming the human race.

    Evolutionarily, I think we humans have come to a dead end. Our biology has become mismatched to the world that surrounds our biology. We are no longer a well-adapted organism

    We come to the situation we face today, where the greed of a hedge fund manager on Wall Street dooms a farmer in Mali to starvation. The frontal lobe created financial instruments so ingenious only a computer (also created by frontal lobe intellection) can master them. But the limbic system harnessed that ingenuity to an unsatiable greed.

    And we find ourselves in the pickle we are in today with financial systems crumbling, nuclear weapons proliferating, the environment being pillaged, and religious fanatics unleashing terror on us all.

    In short, I think we humans have come to an evolutionary dead end.”

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/is-your-brain-culture/200906/we-humans-have-fatal-biology

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  5. One of the best things I have read in a very long time. Thank you. Greed is god and it’s going to destroy the world. I wish we could stop using money and start swapping and making our own currency. We could cut the greedy out of the picture if we could change the way money worked. We need to get the revolution going before it’s too late, if it isn’t already.

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  6. Interesting, Robert, and of course we should all be alarmed. Reminds me of the book I’m reading now, Climate Cover-up, which helps to understand why so many Americans don’t understand that the science is in.

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    • So much of American society is illusory. The manipulation of public perception is standard operating procedure for large institutions both public and private. This strategy is effective only when critical thinking is culturally discouraged. Thomas Jefferson warned us about that, and advocated for a comprehensive secular education system to empower individuals. But, look what’s happening now. Public education is being systematically standardized, corporatized, and in some cases propagandized. It’s a very dangerous trend.

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        • Yes, American imperialism is a terrible and ongoing problem. Although, I caution my readers on taking sides in contested regions like Ukraine and Syria. Those countries, like so many others, are cases where there are “bad actors” on both sides ruining the lives of ordinary people.

          Most people in the west/north of Ukraine are undeniably pro-European, while those in the east/south are pro-Russian but still support Ukrainian sovereignty. So, the situation is much more complicated than simply a CIA-led fascist coup versus Putin-led Russian nationalists.

          I think Ukrainians should be able to decide their own future democratically, and all the militarists should get the hell out of there.

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        • I agree Robert, and the point of me sharing that wasn’t because I think this is simply a CIA coup, but rather highlighting what you said about illusions and how the American people get duped. The U.S. gets involved in these other countries claiming that we have those citizens best interest at heart. Couldn’t be further from the truth.

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