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The Selfish Organization: Technology and the Rise of Transnational Corporatism

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(The following is an excerpt from the book: "Organizational Culture for Successful Democracy")



  (Copyright, 2012)


By John G. Mentzos, Ph.D.

In the early twenty-first century, we are inundated with countless news broadcasts, articles, books, internet blogs, and documentaries suggesting that humanity is facing a crisis of biblical proportions. For example, genetic crops could potentially cross-pollinate with indigenous crops (Goldberg, 2001), raising the fear that widespread pollution of human food sources could result. Reports suggest that the gap between the wealthy and lower economic classes of the world continue to grow (St. Paul Pioneer Press, January 31, 2009). Some pundits suggest that a worldwide economic depression is on the horizon (Hanieh, n.d; CBS News, October 21, 2008; Chossudovsky, 2008). These circumstances could have dire social consequences as increased hunger and poverty leads the population toward despair, frustration, and mass uprisings.

In addition to these daunting issues, the United States is at war and facing the potential spread of new wars. Some suggest Russia and the United States could be heading for a new cold war (Burke, 2006) or worse World War III (Roberts, 2007).

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As if the possibility of a nuclear holocaust was not enough, global warming could not only displace millions of people, it could also result in untold natural disasters, including an astounding loss of species (History Channel, Countdown to Armageddon, 2008; Environmental Graffiti, 2007).

How did we get here? Progressives such as Naomi Klein (2007) and John Perkins (2007) suggest that the common denominator for each of the threats described above is major industries run amok. According to these writers, the problem is that major corporations are the dominate organizations worldwide. Even popular conservatives such as Ron Paul suggest that the financial industry is central to many of the problems facing the United States (Paul, 2008; see America: Freedom to Fascism by Aaron Russo, 2005).

These pundits argue that major corporations affect how society is organized, and that how society is organized will ultimately determine the destiny of the world. Their contentions include that major corporations influence our foreign policy, national leadership and economy.

In President Eisenhower's farewell address to the nation on January 17, 1961, he expressed concern about the growing power of what he termed the "military industrial complex." Some fifty years later, the question is--has industry positioned itself to usurp our democracy?

According to David G. Mills in his article, It's the CorporateState, Stupid (2004)

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"The structure of fascism is the union, marriage, merger or fusion of    corporate economic power with governmental power. It is the  consolidation of this power that produces the demagogues and regimes we  understand as fascist ones."   (p.1)

A brief examination of the history of organizational technology and politics associated with the rise of the corporation provides insight into the nature of corporate influence today. It also elicits critical questions as to what the corporate sector may ultimately have in store for the world.

The interest of industry, particularly the multi-national or transnational corporation, has always included influence over nations and/or their populations. The first transnational corporation, the Dutch East India Company, was founded in 1602 "when the State General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia." (Wikipedia.com, Dutch East India Company, retrieved  October 7, 2012). Based on the activities of colonialism then, the impetus for the first transnational corporation was environmental exploitation and profit through the policy and practice of harsh and dehumanizing control over weaker peoples via puppet regimes.

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John G. Mentzos earned his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Development from the Union Institute. For more than 25 years he has consulted with leaders in nonprofit management, government, foundations, business, education, human services and (more...)

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