Tag Archives: nation state

Changing the Current Corporate Paradigm Will Help America Thrive

The corporation is an artificial construct originated centuries ago to give investors and workers legal protections that balanced risk taking with entrepreneurial rewards. This construct propelled national economies to new heights, which would not otherwise have been achieved. Corporations and derivatives such as LLCs to this day provide America with the best balance for entrepreneurial growth. Yet, with the creation of the corporation, a new life form began that has now evolved to test the very nations that gave it life. Like Frankenstein, the corporation has loosened its legal bindings at the economic frontier and now has the potential to become the corporate-state master of its nation-state creator.

This imposition by corporate-states upon nation-states is appalling. Our government institutions have been rotted from the inside to their skin and their innards have been replaced with government zombies that dutifully perform functions set upon them by their corporate masters. It is a ghastly phenomenon centuries in the making, visible to the naked eye for at least a hundred years, formed from the initial character of corporations. Yet, we humans are caught in our original paradigm of corporations as servants of the nation and are unable to see a new corporate threat evolving.

We call the newest corporate form transnational or multinational. Yet these terms merely define the world’s current paradigm of the frontier edge of corporatism. They name this static moment in the development of the corporation, and not what it is becoming. “Anational” refers to the transforming paradigm of the corporation that has loosened its host nation’s bindings and that is no longer attracted to any nation except in terms of what it might gain from that nation, similarly to how the term “asexual” refers to a human that is not attracted to any gender sexually except for how that contact might produce its offspring.

We mistakenly attempt to label anationals’ evolving perverse power as having a human form, AKA Citizens United. Yet the only way we can continue to call corporations people having citizen power is to also label their behavior humanly perverse, almost psychopathic. Our problem is that we attempt to give human characteristics to all life forms. We would rather call a great white shark a man-eating monster than to swim in its skin, defining its repeatable patterns meant to enhance its sustainability on this planet. If instead of calling corporations people, we could understand how corporate-states consistently act to sustain their lives, we would not have to denigrate corporate existence with human behavioral terms but rather celebrate corporate life form, as we should any other on this planet.

Celebrating a life form does not mean approaching it cavalierly. At their evolving frontier boundary, corporations are gaining enormous capacity to bend nations to their will, in ways that do not help our citizens. In an effort to stave off the inevitable, scholars like Michael Porter write of co-opting corporations toward patriotism, citizenship, or perhaps more precisely corporate responsibility to host nations, or at least including nation states in the list of corporate stakeholders. Yet these attempts to persuade corporations to take on human characteristics are only stop gaps to the evolving threat.

Just as the U.S. can coax China to participate as partners at this stage of our empire’s shifting power sharing, the U.S. can still coerce corporations to participate as national citizens to some extent, even those as powerful as corporate-states. Yet, just as the power struggle between China and the U.S. will ultimately intensify, our ability to co-opt the growing power of corporate states is also waning.

The time will come when corporate states gain a plurality of world power and work together for the betterment of the metropolis of corporate states. By then, nation states by necessity will also have evolved to retain our maximum power. We will then no longer see corporations as people with the rights of citizens. Instead they will finally be correctly defined from the nation-state perspective as a means to an end and will be measured and rewarded for what they can add to the nation-state.

The idea that corporations are people with citizens’ rights will be replaced by the idea that corporations are self-sustaining life forms that live amongst us just as bacteria and bears do. We will acknowledge that corporations perform vital functions in the advancement of humanity but that they can kill us if we do not respect their limitations. Nations will pursue the harnessing of anationals’ positive aspects and will intensify efforts to corral their negative ones. We will understand that corporations are not wild horses that can be contained in national regulatory pens and ridden rodeo style.

Most nations today are nowhere near large enough to contain anationals’ eventual strengths with only national regulatory and legal tools. Nations will by necessity have to cooperatively combine efforts. Unfortunately, the world will also destabilize as smaller nations attempt to consume one another to find scale large enough to survive the next millennium. The very existence of corporate-states will cause tribes to devalue regional differences that have defined current national boundaries formed to combat external threats. China is not a single tribe nor is India or the United States. Others will follow.

Some might label my corporate musings as conspiratorial paranoia. Yet conspiracy is simply another human trait that would attempt to contain the evolution of anationals within our human boundaries. Conspiracy by definition suggests that anationals are somehow more aware of the global shift taking place than nation-states and thus are light years ahead in their planning and efforts. Along the bell curve, some nations such as China are able by their historical circumstances to have a much longer planning horizon than others. Similarly, some anationals are much more aware of their future posterity than others and are acutely acting on their global economic advantages. As a whole however, nation-states and corporate-states are adrift in this sea of evolution, making short-term sustenance moves, as they are able.

Great white sharks instinctively know that they must sometimes migrate throughout the entirety of the ocean, but like humans they give their greatest weight of thought to their next meal rather than where they will be during mating season. Yet, somehow the world aligns to bring them home again, and it will also align to reposition the power of anationals higher in the hierarchy of states. Thought to how nation-states must react to this realignment is warranted.

What this realignment means for humanity is unclear. The role of the nation-state to serve its people, economically and otherwise, providing a balance along the life wheel of work and play, protection and freedom, stability and exploration, sustenance and opportunity is becoming increasingly threatened. People’s allegiances to corporate-states will strengthen as realignment intensifies, threatening national allegiances and humanity’s balance further unless we learn to coexist. Shifting our current paradigm of the corporation will serve us well in that effort.

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Filed under China, Foreign Policy, Multinational Corporations, social trajectory, World Sustainability

The Rise of the Industrial State – The Fall of the Nation State

Up until modern times, individual greed suited the village, the city-state, the feudal system, the nation. Each nation provided for the betterment of its people, through internal and international trade, war, and mercantilism. The greatest of history’s ancient capitalists were the nation builders who attempted domination of their known worlds through conquest. All failed prior to the industrial age because the energy required to capitalize the value of their worldwide sphere of influence was greater than could be compiled by the organization of vast armies. Worldwide domination could not be accomplished by 1,000,000 or so manpower.

The captains of industry that emerged from the industrial era did what no other capitalist had done since the dawn of time. They controlled not only the energies of man, both bodily and intellectually, but enslaved energy from the bowels of the earth to multiply man’s productivity a thousand fold. Through industry, they could grow industrial empires to eventually harness not only the energies of their nations but of the entire world.

Early in the industrial revolution, this power was contained within the geographies of the nation states. Prior to WWI, colonization fed raw materials from other nations through machinery contained within industrialized nations. Wealth was dispersed to machinery workers and taxed for the benefit of the nations to support their under classes. While the enslaved hydrocarbonic energy of industry had the power to grow exponentially to dominate the world, its time had not yet come. First, hydrocarbons had to be tested by the unbridled desires for nation building that had dominated the centuries before.

Captains of statism still controlled the lives of mankind. These leaders of nations did not yet understand the ultimate power of industry. They thought it could be transformed to once and for all dominate the path to world economic power that had been unsuccessfully attempted by all the previous conquerors in history. This newfound harnessed energy that multiplied man’s output could perhaps be used to capitalize the world’s value through worldwide domination using energy to multiply the power of assembled armies to more than 1,000,000,000 or so hydrocarbon energy enhanced manpower of warfare. Theirs was the grotesque hydrocarbon experiment that had to be played out in the early 20th century.

Great energy driven wars were wrought to subdue the world’s geography. In the end of two great wars, 80 million people had been killed and twice as many maimed in the attempt to control the world’s economies through hydrocarbonized warfare. The captains of statism had assembled great armies accompanied by war machines that directed hydrocarbonic killing contraptions of historic proportions. Modern warfare had ironically made massive armies obsolete, and had castrated the world conquest dreams of most of the statist capitalists.

Yet one nation state above all others, the United States, capitalized energy driven warfare for the benefits of its citizens, dominating the transitional era from that of the nation state to that of the industrial state. Through its obsessive militarized harnessing of the power of hydrocarbonic war, America subdued all other nations within its desired sphere of influence. The demolishment of human capital by the end of WWII and America’s monopoly of the military complex gave way to the transition of the rise of industrial states.

The error of the America’s strategy was that industrial capitalism could not be bound by the geographies of state. Although isolated pockets of multinational corporatism had existed prior to WWII, especially in the oil industry, from the 1960s to the present, multinational corporations expanded exponentially. As they did, corporate taxes that nation states had previously counted on to sustain the needs of their under classes, could not be as easily derived as MNCs, these growing industrial states, expanded across geographic borders.

Commerce is driven by profit motive. Profits had served capitalistic nation states well for centuries because growing wealth of industry could be harnessed through taxation to serve the needs of a nation’s people. However, as industrial states began to cross geographical borders, the ability of nation states to feed off their profits was diminished. And as world-wide military subjugation of “rogue” nation states continued, and threats to world commerce was subdued, ironically industrial states began to value the protection of nation states less.

By the 1960s, all that was to be done to mop up the world’s major commercial threats was to subdue the soviets across the world chess board while isolating other non-capitalist nations from participation in growing capitalist trade. While this decade’s long tactic was completed, great expanses of geography were tamed for commerce. Trade grew exponentially between participating industrial nation states, supported by their satellite commodity colonies and post colonial commodity hegemonies.

The 1960s and’70s saw exponential growth of both the size and number of multinational corporations. The largest multinational corporation in 1970 was GM with revenues of 24 billion. Yet it was the opening of China in 1978 that provided the fuel for worldwide domination of the industrial states. By 1990, GM still dominated, now with revenues of 126 billion. By 2000, six of the top 10 world corporations were banks. By 2007, Wal-Mart was the world’s dominant leader with $348 billion in sales.

Certainly, even in 2011, with its ability to obtain through taxation $2.6 trillion dollars in revenue, the United States is still a much greater economic power in terms of consumption than Walmart is in terms of productive value. Yet with deficits over a trillion dollars compared to Walmart’s profits of $13 billion, America’s ability to sustain itself grows ever more fragile.

The United States’ deficits are predicted to remain above a trillion dollars for the remainder of the century as multinational corporations grow in their ability to exploit the geographical limits of its taxing reach. The United States has exercised only limited power to corral any employment benefits from the expansive growth of multinational corporations, leaving its citizens enduring unemployment and underemployment approaching 20 percent. And the United States is not alone. With cross border monetary resources at their disposal, multinational corporations are able to thwart efforts to align their profit motives with taxation and employment motives of industrialized nations throughout the world.

The transition of power from nation states to industrial states is nearing a maturing phase in which the state authority will reach maximum impotence. America’s strategy of dominating hydrocarbonic warfare has already reached the peak of its impact and is waning. In this maturing environment, China may be the one country that has envisioned a strategy that can harness multinational corporate energy within its borders. As a result, it may ride the rising tide of multinational corporate waves to the domination of all other nation states. China’s power to sustain itself during the peak world domination phase of the multinational corporation, however, has yet to be tested.

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Filed under American Innovation, Multinational Corporations, social trajectory, World Sustainability