Global elites are concentrating power in multi-national corporations like never before. It has reached critical levels. Corporations now regularly overpower democratic governments and set their own terms of trade and taxation. Why? Because they are given special status by an economic system that prioritises money and profit over life. Private enterprise is a vital source of wellbeing but it must always be servant to the people, never master. Equity and fairness will only win out over the single-minded hunger for profit when people regain democratic control over corporations.
Balance private and public power
Right now, people who see their job as being to attract and protect material wealth, primarily to satisfy a need for social status and power, make more of the important decisions in the world than people whose job it is to protect and promote the public good. In other words, private interests trump public; the interests of the few trump the interests of the many. This is why we can’t get a global deal on climate change. It’s why military spending is so high; far higher than logic or even practicality demand; it’s why, in some places, there is such public turmoil over the minimum wage but near-silence on very low rates of capital gains taxes. Indeed, it’s why the system is bending ever more in favour of capital over people and the environment.
What governance structures could do to balance the equation is limit the size of private power. And they need to do it quickly because very soon the power to do so will be stripped from them entirely. If we wait too long, the only power left will be public revolt, and that will be a lot more dangerous, disruptive and bloody than the alternative we probably still have available to us.