Domination by Stealth. Are “Citizens” really only mere Consumers?
Imagine an organisation that serves the needs of people all over the world,; that delivers consumer goods to their homes at very little notice, that provides packaged information, entertainment, sports news, even provides a little device on your sideboard or table, which answers your questions when you ask. Then, behind the scenes, this wonderful organisation provides computing platforms (known as “Clouds”) to support Twitter, Netflix, Unilever and General Electric and many more giant corporations.
What could be bad about this wonderful service provider??
Now imagine an organisation that dominates and sometimes exterminates competitors, that exploits its staff, reducing many of them to mere components in a mercilessly efficient machine; and behind the scenes compiles vast bodies of information on the consumption habits of citizens, whether they want this or not. (Of course, the frightening fact is that many people do want to be supplied with consumer goods at a whim.)
What emerges behind the scenes, not at all clearly so far is a fuzzy image of capitalism run rife; that enables immense power to be exercised by a very small number of people, that feeds the egos of its creators, that provides limitless funding behind the scenes to politicians and other influencers.
Objections to such organisations can be forged at two levels :- first the obscene amounts of money amassed by small numbers of people; second (despite denials) . , the impacts on the environment.
Maybe worst of all, such a model of capitalism reduces citizens of democratic countries to mere Consumers, puppets of immense controlling machines.
Just in case you might be wondering the name of one such organisation, it is Amazon. Its founder is Jeff Bezos, who has just stepped down from the chief executive role, to pursue other interests. What these might be will be fascinating to see. One estimate of his “earnings” is $149,000 a minute, and whose wealth increased in the middle of a global pandemic by $13 billion in a day.
Soon, the power and wealth of such people and their founders will be beyond the ability of any one nation state to control. It will need powerful multinational organisations to perform this necessary task.
And.... The United Kingdom has just left the European Union to “take back control”.