One CORPORATION to rule them all, One CORPORATION to find them, One CORPORATION to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them…
by William Skink
I adapted the famous rhyme by J.R.R. Tolkien describing his ultimate fictional evil in order to apply it to our modern day manifestation of evil corporate consolidation, a phenomenon happening across all sectors of the economy.
Corporate consolidation is often associate with media companies. Here is Bill Moyers providing a brief history of media consolidation:
From the time the Federal Communications Commission was created in 1934, through the 1970s, the US government largely acted to preserve media diversity and prevent media consolidation, putting in place regulations that discouraged any one corporation from owning too many newspapers or television stations or from reaching too large an audience. “The widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public,” Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote in 1945, blocking a merger between the Associated Press and other newspaper publishing companies. It was a popular viewpoint at the time — preventing media consolidation was seen as strengthening the First Amendment.
But in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan’s FCC Chairman Mark Fowler brought a new, deregulatory view into vogue, and the federal government’s efforts to prevent media consolidation began to unravel. A watershed moment came a decade later, when Bill Clinton’s decision to sign the Telecommunications Act of 1996 handed lobbyists a major victory. The law was a massive dose of deregulation that dramatically raised caps on the number of local newspapers and television stations a single corporation could own, and the percentage of the national audience a single corporation could reach.
While the above quote touches on a serious problem, this post isn’t about media corporations consolidating market access–it’s much bigger than that.
This post is about a choice we have regarding the structures of power and how we want those structures to evolve, which brings me to the BIG QUESTION:
Will we passively allow corporate consolidation to CENTRALIZE more and more power in fewer and fewer hands, or will we instead actively move toward DECENTRALIZED power structures that will be more responsive to local needs.
While this idea might not be front and center in the minds of a scared and disoriented population, it was the final rallying call of Michael Krieger’s blog Liberty Blitzkrieg before he decided to shift his focus on hunkering down with his family in Colorado. From the link:
We find ourselves at a moment where the financial and political systems that have dominated for decades are failing in a spectacular and irredeemable fashion. Those who pull the levers are (as usual) attempting to take advantage of the situation by rapaciously snatching and consolidating more wealth and power, while leaving the general public to rot. When faced with such a historic moment, one should assume a certain degree of responsibility to make sure the next paradigm ends up better than the one we’re leaving. If we fail to think deeply about an improved vision and framework for the future, someone else will do it for us.
From my perspective, humanity remains stuck within antiquated paradigms that generally function via predatory and authoritarian structures. We’ve been taught — and have largely accepted — that the really important decisions must be handled in a centralized manner by small groups of technocrats and oligarchs. As a result, we basically live within feudal constructs cleverly surrounded by entrenched myths of democracy and self-government. We’d prefer to be lazy rather than take any responsibility for the state of the world.
We’re now at a point where simply recognizing current structures as predatory and authoritarian isn’t good enough. We require a distinct and superior political philosophy that can appeal to others likewise extremely dissatisfied with the status quo. My belief is humanity’s next paradigm should swing heavily in the direction of decentralization and localism.
If this idea appeals to you, read more at the link. If you don’t think this idea is worth pursuing, then the future you are passively allowing to take shape will include housing and health consolidation from BLACKSTONE and a global financial reset from BLACKROCK.
From the first link:
Over the past decade, Blackstone has relentlessly expanded its reach in real estate. Since going public in 2007, Blackstone has multiplied eightfold the equity capital it devotes to real estate, to $163 billion. Blackstone leverages that capital by taking out mortgages, so the total value of the property it owns “in the ground” is around $325 billion. By these measures it ranks, by Fortune’s estimates, as the world’s largest commercial real estate company.
From the second link:
Over the past decade, private equity firms like Blackstone, Apollo Global Management, The Carlyle Group, KKR & Co. and Warburg Pincus have deployed more than $340 billion to buy health care-related operations around the world. In 2019, private equity’s health care acquisitions reached $79 billion, a record, according to Bain & Co., a consulting firm.
Private equity’s purchases have included rural hospitals, physicians’ practices, nursing homes and hospice centers, air ambulance companies and health care billing management and debt collection systems.
From the third link:
BlackRock, Inc. (BLK) is by some measures the biggest investment management company across the globe, with more than $7.4 trillion in assets under management at the end of 2019.1 As a major publicly traded company with a market capitalization of more than $84 billion, BlackRock provides investment and technology services to both institutional and retail clients around the world.
I am painting this macro-scene of ever-centralizing corporate power because this dangerous force is rapidly coalescing like a massive storm cloud over our collective heads, and it is a storm largely being ignored by the current bickering over municipal funding of police departments.
I don’t think enough people understand how this economic crisis that is just getting started will create incredible opportunities for those who are well-positioned to take advantage of it. If the excerpts above don’t drive that point home, I don’t know what will.
The pandemic has created a quick blow to a significant swath of small businesses across the country while the wealthiest among the wealthy have brought in 637 billion during that same time period.
While the two wings of our corporate mono-party offer the tempting illusion of a political choice, this obscene and perpetual transferring of wealth should be in the back of everyone’s minds as the economic pain manifests locally.