In the limited history of democracy, individual companies have had a demonstrable effect on governments of the day. The oil and railroad barons in the USA in the latter part of the 19th century are a good example of this, as are the large mining companies that sprung up in Australia during the same time period. Cecil Rhodes famously founded an entire country based on his own mining operations and named it after himself. But the effect of these companies was limited to their countries of origin.
Then there were the Dutch East India and British East India companies that had a large impact on trade and governance in the age of sail. But these were always answerable to the sovereign monarchs of their respective countries and as such were forced to keep themselves in check, at least ostensibly.
Fast forward to the present day and companies are now corporations, but now they are international in scope. They lobby governments and contribute large sums of money to help elect politicians. They influence policy while manipulating tax laws that enable them to legally pay no tax.
The days of the gold watch, the pat on the back, and a nice retirement after working for a single company your entire life are over. Consultants, contract workers, and part-time employees are now the order of the day. As corporations become bigger than life, the working status of the citizens they engage becomes less certain.
That is if they engage citizens at all. The push for massive immigration has also come from corporations. A worker who is in a country at the behest of his employer will find himself quickly without a leg to stand on if he does not toe the company line. Such a person is always vulnerable as is his family. They are modern-day serfs but with a nice kitchen and built-in appliances.
Crucially the more foreign workers that are in a country the smaller the proportion of people with voting rights. If one takes this to an extreme we have as a modern example the United Arab Emirates. Encompassing the global city of Dubai, the majority of workers who live there are foreign citizens with no voting rights in the country where they work. Whether they be lowly Bangladeshi construction workers or Western professionals, they are still there at the good will of their employers. It is a modern feudal state.
As The Greedy Goblin explains, these people produce GDP without having any political power. They are in effect a resource of the country that can be used at will. The companies that use them enjoy complete control over their employees. So they lobby governments for more temporary visas to bring in foreign workers as they claim that no such workers can be found from the citizen population. As the numbers of these powerless workers rise, the proportion of the people living in the country with voting rights go down, making the population easier to manipulate. If pushed to the extreme then the result will be the subversion of democracy without having to constitutionally change anything at all. The ruling class will hold complete power over its “citizens”. For now they are citizens of the world; landless, powerless, and always at the mercy of expulsion.
The final step in this process is cash. Physical money is one of the sole ways in which people may retain some form of personal power. Bank accounts can be frozen or the funds can disappear if someone is a troublemaker. Cash is the only barrier to this process and it is thus no surprise that we are beginning to see a worldwide war on cash.
If all cash is outlawed and only electronic transactions allowed by law then even citizens with voting rights become subservient to the state. The Australian government is about to appoint a task-force “to examine” whether to abolish the hundred dollar note. The push for this development has come from two international companies, UBS and HSBC. The companies demand policy that directly interferes with the rights of a country’s citizens and the government complies.
Ostensibly this drive to reduce cash is to reduce crime and raise government taxation revenue. In reality it is to support the negative interest rates that government reserve banks have imposed in order to enable big banks and corporations to thrive in an economy strangled by government interference.
If this happens then the only economy left to the common man will be the bartering economy. Perhaps there are other ways to return to feudalism after all.