Random Question for Today

I was reading about how we’re rapidly heading toward a future of transnational corporations that are more powerful than government. (Or that we are already there, but don’t realize it yet…) It sounded like a good setting for a dystopia. Does anyone know: has one been written yet? (Or is a world run by business less interesting than one run by communism, or preconditioning, or comfort, or whatever else has been predicted?)

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21 thoughts on “Random Question for Today

  1. Who would be interested in a world run by big business? As long as all the benefits are on the table . . .

  2. The movie, Wall-E (and to a certain extent Robots) broaches the subject.

    There is a book called House of the Scorpion that very subtly goes there. I don’t know if there is abook that is based entirely around it.

  3. I don’t think such a book would be less interesting than communism etc., as long as there is a good “hook” to get the reader involved. There is a large trend in movies nowadays (possibly in response to cultural feeling, possibly to stay politically correct and offend any nationality or ethnicity) to make corporations the enemy rather than a country. Thus, we don’t have (as many) movies where the bad guys are the Soviets or Nazis (or terrorists or Chinese or whoever based-in-reality possibility we may have) but where business and/or moneymakers are the real villians. Robots was a case in point. But this goes back to Die Hard – a thief masquerading as a terrorist.

    Anyway, I don’t know where we are actually headed, given that pendulums (pendula?) shift all the time, but I have some ideas for novels along those lines. It’s easier to pick a specific branch of business and imagine it to an absurd conclusion (I don’t know, where communications companies control the media and how countries interact, thus a possible super-Verizon has the power to induce wars or something… Megafood corporations could cut off supplies of vital commodities to vast parts of the world, inducing similar catastrophic outcomes, or at least plucky individuals smuggling such rare treasures as peanut butter… Or simply companies [starting with car or computer companies?] controlling vast components of the world economy, thus forcing countries to make choices that benefit the companies…)

  4. robert ludlum has gone in that direction a few times (trevayne is an example). Also now that the supreme court has ruled that corporations can directly politic for candidates (or against them), we aren’t too far off from such a reality.

  5. The movie “Death Race” portrays a world in which corporations have taken over; primarily, one corporation, controlling the prison system, has turned it into a for-profit industry by racing inmates against each other in a deadly race where only one car can survive.

  6. Sorry about the double comments.

    Books (Confession: I googled them; have never read ’em):
    Gladiator-at-Law by Cyril Kornbluth
    Neuromancer by William Gibson

  7. I must have read some, but I googled since I couldn’t think of titles offhand.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dystopian_films#Corporate_based_dystopias_.28nongovernmental.29
    Sadly, all the focus seems to be on movies. Post-apocalyptic is so big right now in books though, there must be something there.

    http://io9.com/5053970/future-dystopias-where-conservatives-have-won This was the closest I could get, but the focus is pretty much entirely on science fiction. I’d prefer literature/fiction that isn’t so scifi-ish. Maybe I’ll have to write one!

    Oh wait, I just thought of one- The Supernaturalists by Eoin Colfer. and googling has also revealed The Unidentified by Rae Mariz as a possibility, but I’m not sure it fits the category because it’s not even out yet.

  8. The classic SF book, still well worth reading today, is _The Space Merchants_ by Frederick Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth.

  9. You’re only now catching onto this. You’re so out of the loop………. business = the legal mafia.

  10. Don’t know if this is what you’re looking for, but what about When Corporations Rule the World by David Korten? To the best of my knowledge there are plenty of books and publications about this issue from ethical, financial, or political perspectives; I don’t know if they discuss actual dystopia.

  11. Yes, there is agreat series about it – the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde, where the huge multinational Goliath is much stronger than governments. The first and most famous book is called ‘the Eyre Affair’, and since it was highly praised by Terry Pratchett, you should really try it 🙂

  12. Oryx and Crake
    and the pseudo-sequel The Year of the Flood
    by Margaret Atwood

    The Giver by Lois Lowry

    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

  13. although I just realized that only the Atwood books actually place corporations in a position of power above the government. Lowry and Huxley mostly present corporations as a stand-in for government. in which case i guess they kind of become a form of government themselves…

  14. “Jennifer Government” is a pretty fn example of this – not only do the corporations run everything, they also hire hit men to make sure things go their way

  15. Rash, by Pete Hautman.

    Not exactly businesses running the world, but close enough that the post made me think of it.

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