As you can see in the dire image above, most companies in America are owned by even larger mega-corporations.
So what if companies are owned by other larger ones? Why is this a bad thing?
Some may argue that companies with large multinational owners have more stability and a more sustainable chance of growth. But for most people, even those working for them, that is not necessarily a good thing.
One of my favourite thought experiments is the ‘veil of ignorance’. Imagine a society where you have no idea who you will be or what position you are at before entering. You could be male, female, gay, straight, black, white, disabled, poor, rich, native or immigrant. While reading this article, ask yourself if this is the society we have now? Would you be happy to enter it as anyone else? And do these large mega-corporations help?
One of the biggest issues facing us at the moment is climate change. These companies don’t care to take action as it doesn’t affect their bottom line or their stock price. With even American oil companies admitting that climate change exists; and then not changing their practices in the light of this late admission, demonstrating the lack of any compassion from these money hungry corporations. This complacency seems like something that could be solved with legislation. But the issue is that a lot of the people in legislative power have associates at the top of these companies, that is if they are not directly linked themselves. With 71% of greenhouse emissions coming from only 100 companies, just like the image shows, it is a few greedy individuals who are making this choice to not actively do anything. Using the example of the American oil company, they asked for Washington to build a barricade for their factories near the coast due to rising sea levels. They will take action to keep making money whilst understanding that they are destroying the planet. That is disgusting.
omelessnesson the rise and the rich and poor gap being widened day by day, it is clear something needs to be done”
After that dark look at the dire state of the economy and the planet’s health let us look to the future. These companies own us. They control what we eat, wear and think. But what will it look like in the future? I reckon they will either concentrate even more to become one or a few large mega-corps, quite dystopian. Or we could rebel. We could fight. Stop income inequality and end the monopoly these companies have. This could be done through rebellion, strike, counter propaganda or legislation. But it is clear that just protesting doesn’t change the way companies act. This can be seen with the surplus of animal rights activists and the similar lack of response from Greenpeace. When they do respond, it is only often to save face, not taking considerable action.
This capitalist hell leads to disenfranchisement among the workers as they have no sense of ownership over what they are creating. These large companies have thousands of employees working on near to minimum wage most of whom feel disconnected and dispassionate about their career. It also leads to democratic dissolution as the real people influencing governments of the world are the (usually white male) CEOs of these large companies. This can be seen in the recent Facebook scandal as Congress struggles to catch up and control a huge issue that none of them fully understand. Though some regulations were put in place, particularly on the European side, none of them tackled Facebook’s data monopoly. Another example would be the desperate bidding that US states made to have the next Amazon HQ built on their lawn. States offered huge tax incentives to the company that is already notorious for barely giving back any of its earnings to the countries it supplies.
I can attest to this sense of helplessness from working for a large fast-food company. When I speak to my boss (the franchise owner) they have this similar sense of being at the will of the larger company. We all get paid very little and this seems ridiculous as the larger company in 2007 was valued at $1.5 Billion and has grown massively since. The higher-ups take something like 8% of all the store’s earnings. This is on top of the franchisees having to buy extras for the store like promotional material, new products or unneeded renovations for the store. The owners are still making a loss at the beginning of their second year of owning the store (after buying it off someone else) and it looks to be at least another six months before they will go into the black. So who is winning out of all of this debt and struggle? We can look back to the corporate structure image and see. Why aren’t we trying to change this?
Probably the worst effect of this large corporate structure (other than the planet being destroyed) is the growing rich and poor divide. As discussed before, the only people benefiting from being involved with these mega-corporations are the people at the top. And with the homeless on the rise and the gap between the rich and poor widening each day, it is clear something needs to be done. Some may make the argument that: this is capitalism and that it is the way things are, with everyone having an equal opportunity. In the state it’s currently in, the economy is not capitalism, rather it is manipulation. A single mum with three kids doesn’t have an ‘equal chance’ to succeed as anyone else. Why aren’t we jumping to change the system or at least reform the current one?
The simple and sad reason is that the people in power currently benefit from the system this way and don’t want to risk giving up that money and power. This is why a US president who owns a large corporation is the worse thing to “make America great again”; it’s in his interest to just make it greater for him and his 1% pals.
We should take back control of our companies and our government. Life shouldn’t be like this.