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…