From Nations to Corporations

constant escape

winter withered, warm
I thought about it, and didn't really know where to start.

At what point did the real interplay of power shift from nations to corporations? Or what were the critical points? Or has this even happened?

Or have extragovernmental parties always had the power? It just seems like the kind of power the corporations now have is the power that was once reserved for governmental bodies. Even if real power was always behind the scenes and clandestine, today many of the top CEOs are, more or less, publicly known, no? Lawrence Fink, etc.

If we were to persist down a globalist trajectory, would the corporation come to further replace/dethrone the nation, in terms of bodies with power?

I feel like I'm missing something here, but this feels like an important trend to study.
 

luka

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one interesting way in which it's happening is the way our cities are increaqsingly privately owned and policed by private security agencies enforcing their own rules and coes of behaviour, able to eject anyone they don't like the look of and ban any behaviour they object to, photography for instance, regardless of what the laws of the land say.
 

luka

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the end point of which would be a kind of patchwork of corporate territories and no real public space anywhere and the law of the land becoming increasingly academic.
 

luka

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if you go to Stratford where I grew up you can see how this works. Westfield Shopping mall and the Olympic Park are able to filter out undesireables, the drug dealers, the drug addicts, the homeless, the mentally ill, the prostitutes and gang members who congregate in huge numbers just outside the city walls.
 

luka

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the nation state is still hugely important but largely an adjunct of the corporations, to facilitate their growth and power by gathering taxes for infrastructure, policing, healthcare and military.
 

luka

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at one point people were bred as work units and war units for the nation state.
 

luka

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it's tricky and tangled though. interesting case studies would include China, the USA, South Korea, The United Arab Emirates, Russia. How different nation states operate. how they compete. the relationship they have with capital and corporations.
 

Benny B

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Weird, just read about exactly this topic in the Indigenous peoples history of the US I'm reading. I'll type a bit out:

"The corporation as an artificial person...could not be held accountable in a manner familiar to the American Indian way of thinking. Individual responsibility could be masked in corporate personality...a legal abstraction...it diminishes the the relevance of persons or communities...and promoted individualism, competition and sefishness as righteous character traits."
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
I thought about it, and didn't really know where to start.

At what point did the real interplay of power shift from nations to corporations? Or what were the critical points? Or has this even happened?

Or have extragovernmental parties always had the power? It just seems like the kind of power the corporations now have is the power that was once reserved for governmental bodies. Even if real power was always behind the scenes and clandestine, today many of the top CEOs are, more or less, publicly known, no? Lawrence Fink, etc.

If we were to persist down a globalist trajectory, would the corporation come to further replace/dethrone the nation, in terms of bodies with power?

I feel like I'm missing something here, but this feels like an important trend to study.
I always hear the switch happened around the 70's and 80's with the advent of finance and global labour markets, but I really know jack shit about this. Would love a rec for books that arent too long and drab. Or just some articles.

Theres a far right political contingency with silicon valley connections that believes the best political system is opt-in fuedalism where the land is divided up into different technocratic corporate states and you buy in to whichever one sits right with you. Cory Pein has fun write ups on this stuff (link).
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Patchwork theory? I've read/heard a bit from Moldbug, but nothing directly about that. Not sure how feasible it would be, but in principle it sounds very interesting, seeing as it would revolve around the citizen/stockholder/voter's ability to "exit" the district/province under one corporation and move into another. Very nebulous, but perhaps I've just a thin understanding of it.

But I mean, it sounds like it would embrace an ecosystem of ideologies, rather than one. Although there may still be some kind of federalized ideology - actually, I have trouble imagining how there wouldn't be.

Not quite willing to argue that it isn't a far right theory, but I don't quite see how it is. Perhaps in that it is pro-capitalism - but I am far from convinced that any and all pro-capitalisms are necessarily right wing.

Anyone have any thoughts on blockchain? I've only a vague, conceptual understanding of it. I heard someone describe it as a replacement of all human instituations of trust, at least centralized institutions. That is, there would no longer be a need for a third party to oversee/arbitrate/facilitate contracts, seeing as the contracts would be incorporated directly into the blockchain - and I here understand it to be a system of accounting, some kind of peer-to-peer ledger system where every node, every ledger, of the system keeps a record of the whole system? Maybe this is a butchering of a comparison, but it seems comparable to the theory of monads, that every monad is comprised of a reflection of every other monad, and thus the whole exteriority of every monad is immanent to it?

Maybe I'm just drinking the kool-aid, but blockchain does seem to have revolutionary potential. Even Vitalik Buterin, all things/alternatives considered, seems to be a promising luminary. There was another parallel I heard someone draw, regarding the effect blockchain will have on centralized banks, but I forget it.

But damn, you combine blockchain, which will be even more radically consequential once cash is all but obsolete, with surveillance, big data, etc - all of a sudden the playing field is more alien than ever, no?

I would be inclined to prefer patchwork over a conglomerate corporate monarchy - as far as I can tell. But then again, I guess I'm really not sure.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
I hadn't thought of patchwork in terms of feudalism, but it seems rather clear now that you point it out. I wonder if it could be a bottom-up arrangement, though, with the citizens, by way of their votes/stocks, being able to account for the CEOs. The corporations, in any case, would be catering to their citizens/clients - but that would be wishful thinking on my part. What could be done to deincentivize mergers and deprive the citizens of their right to exit?
 

luka

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I hadn't thought of patchwork in terms of feudalism, but it seems rather clear now that you point it out. I wonder if it could be a bottom-up arrangement, though, with the citizens, by way of their votes/stocks, being able to account for the CEOs. The corporations, in any case, would be catering to their citizens/clients - but that would be wishful thinking on my part. What could be done to deincentivize mergers and deprive the citizens of their right to exit?
It's really just an extrapolation of what already exists as the job market and the reality is that conditions vary very little from employer to employer. A little more holiday here than there, but never enough. Always on a 5 day week 8 hour day model. The tendency to homogenisation here is huge because employers want what they can get.

I can't see why any of these corporate micro states would even want people willy nilly any more than employers do. The same powers to select would be insisted on.
 

luka

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The idea that any corporation would choose to run their micro state as an experimental anarchist commune for instance seems fanciful.
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Yeah the theory seems like and all or nothing situation - how the transition occurs, I'm not sure. I'm not even sure the theory is that elaborated.

But how about this: if covid lets enough of us work from home, and assuming that carries over if/when covid drops off, might we eventually start relocating based on where colleagues live? Again, thats assuming that businesses no longer see the value in an office space.

If coworkers relocate into neighborhoods, we're already on the way there, no?

Perhaps a new form of official governance need not even emerge - something like the above might be enough.
 

luka

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why would you want to live near your co-workers? i think we are already on the way there, in some respects, due to what i outlined above. POPS, private open public spaces.
 

luka

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i wanted to write something completely pulpy, as stupid as any comic book.

Ganymede and Xanadu are owned by Priceless Attributes but are not factory towns in the sense that Petersberg is a factory town. Only a relatively small proportion of residents are directly employed by Priceless Attributes. The cities are essentially a business venture. Priceless Attributes rent retail space and housing and supply public utilities; power, water, education, health, security (Wolfram is a subsidiary of Priceless Attributes) and so on either directly or through sub-contractors.
Under this system not only do Priceless Attributes amass obscene amounts of wealth they also control their population to a degree only dreamed about by any dictator, oligarchy or parliamentary democracy. The resident of Ganymede or Xanadu is educated by Priceless Attributes. He lives in an environment designed by Priceless Attributes. His news comes from Priceless Attributes. His entertainment is provided by Priceless Attributes. He is subject to laws drawn up by Priceless Attributes. Strictly speaking there is no public space in the cities of Priceless Attributes. Everything is owned by Priceless Attributes. There is no need for censorship as such. Distribution networks, media, publishers, advertisers are all either owned by or in thrall to Priceless Attributes and any material critical of or detrimental to the interests of Priceless Attributes is strangled at birth.
 

luka

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Staff member
Elysium Fields. Gated Community.

cliques of eerily similar pubescent girls stand around the shopping mall (Elysium Gardens) projecting attitudes of lofty boredom and ostentatious scorn
"ha! visible cartilige" extemporising a running commentary on passers-by and their sartorial and physical shortcomings....
Plastic surgery has rendered them almost identical.
they speak in an affected drawl and hand each other compliments of breathtaking insincerity.
'Oh I love your nose! You've had it remodelled again!'

Private Security Guards prowl the permimeter fence. Combat trousers. Military boots. Handguns in holsters. Stun grenades. Tear gas canisters. Capsicum spray. Tasers.
Snipers in dicreete (neo-classical) guard-towers yawn, pick noses. Razor wire in sodium
light. Inside the gates neighbourhood bobbies stroll the streets tipping their hats to the ladies and ruffling the hair of youngsters.

Wives read magazines in tanning beds. Blue glowing coffins. Turn orange.
Attack dogs strain at the leashes of their handlers.

Shopping mall air ionised to deliver pleasing sensation.
Forest of transplanted trees. Recorded bird song. Model birds perch unconvincingly on branches. Glass eyes peer unblinkingly at picnicers.
Nature Walk.

Keeps the riffraff out.
 
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