Why is everything so damn corporate?

Where are we headed?

Off the edge of the world.


And who or what is driving that?

The money, stupid.

Always the damn money.

But think about it (for a long while), how did it get like this?

Well, because some people got greedy and believed that they were gods. And of course, when the sail is set fare and there’s a clear path, everyone wants a piece of the action. To get there — or at least to have a fair crack at the corporate whip — you’ve got to keep your head down, do as you’re told, and play the game. What was it Robert S. de Ropp said in his masterful book, The Master Game:

Seek, above all, for a game worth playing. Such is the advice of the oracle to modern man. Having found the game, play it with intensity — play as if your life and sanity depended on it. (They do depend on it.)

I’ve been there and no one is letting up soon from playing the corporate game, as if their very survival depended on it, which it does!

Imagine though a new game or at least one that wasn’t baked into our education system, our mission statements and the ethos of running a world-class company. Something more earth-bound — i.e. something less demanding of the world — but still able to give us a semblance of a life. Perhaps the exchange of labour might be something different to money or a mixture of money and goods. But I’m dreaming, right? The hegemony of the suits is simply too sprawling, too vast and too difficult to break that even if there are a few bright spots of green or teal-based companies, they won’t scale. You only have to look to the plutocrats to know that they’re going to have their way to the bitter end. The bitter end I tell you, namely when it’s all gone — i.e. a habitable world.

Perhaps one small detail they’ve overlooked: a worldwide rebellion by the wage slaves. They all said a big fat “No” and refused to row the corporate, earth-wrecking boat any longer. And no one flinched when the pressure to conform was applied. Don’t be daft. No one — or no one in their right mind — is going to stick two fingers to the Bosses and walk out the door, are they? Even if a few did, and now I’m thinking of the miners’ strike of 1984–1985, everyone has their price and the old cliche money talks would mean that we’d all be picked off until, well, things were back to normal.

Now I don’t know or can’t predict either the likelihood of a rebellion or the outcome but you have to wonder, or at least I do, why it is we’re so compliant knowing that we’re aiding and abetting the corporate players in destroying the world (see The Guardian, 9 October 2019: “The Guardian today reveals the 20 fossil fuel companies whose relentless exploitation of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves can be directly linked to more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era.”) Oh, don’t worry, I’m up to my neck in it too. In fact, right now it’s something that’s driving me to the edge of my very sanity. But it’s not just the current gig, it’s my whole career. Yes, some companies have been more eco or less damaging to the environment than others but given the money imperative of the Bosses, you only have to look downstream to their consumerism to realise that we’re all paying a very high price for the advent of capitalism and never once thinking how we might reign in the egregious and unnecessary excess of the shareholders, directors and boards that have and will continue to drive us to the edge of extinction.

One last thing. I write these words with a heavy heart. I know that so much of what I say can appear whimsical and a bit flabby given my target(s) but I’m deadly serious when I say that being too corporate (or corporate at all) is the reason why we’ve arrived at the age of the Anthropocene. In short, companies by their very nature are ecocidal or evince ecocidal tendencies. And how we change that still escapes me. Sure, we could think about taking the real nasties into public ownership — a few more trillion dollars of debt won’t hurt— but, somehow, I think the Billionaire class wouldn’t stand for it. Indeed, I think the idea of democracy is risible. Or certainly, I think you can dismiss that idea in the UK. From where I sit, I think this government doesn’t give a fig if the corporates continue to wreck the planet, particularly or more especially if it keeps them in their jobs or they can have, in time, a piece of the action. Now I’m thinking of Mr Cameron and his activities on behalf of Greensill Capital.

Until the next time then.


— Julian

ecological pessimist — influenced by Zapffe, Benatar, Thacker