Google helps people to have access to knowledge, Apple allows every person to have technology, Zara makes great clothes. You can hear all those statements everyday. You have the impression that those thoughts are the product of your free will and choice. They are not. A young man shares his view about corporate control. His point of view is that we don’t have much choice anymore, at least less than we think. He explains how corporations have slowly turned into legitimate individual like entities with human rights and own will, becoming more powerful than any of us.
I had to be dedicated to my corporation. I had to respect it, respect it’s identity, it’s way of working. Most of us have to. It was in England, in a big supermarket company. You had to forget yourself for the company. They would make you understand that you were, by working with them, taking an active part in the greater good. Allowing people to have access to cheaper and better goods than any other brand had to offer. They did not want for you only to work with them, they wanted for you to embody the company’s idea, to represent them in the outside world. When you worked there, as in most national and international corporations, you had benefits there. Shitty discounts and social events in order to make sure you were with them, all together, a family. What they trying to achieve is to transform your workplace in your prime social place. What do you do with colleagues ? What is the prime subject of conversation? Work. By making your life revolving around work, they transform you in little soldiers, ready to do anything to defend their corporations.
It’s called branding and it’s all well thought behind an office by guys with fancy names like marketing director or prime salesman.
In the system that we live in, you have to feel related to brands and companies, they are part of your everyday life. You defend some, hate others and we spend most of our time doing advertisment for one or another. Without realizing it. A human being in a western metropol is exposed to 2000 ad messages every day. It’s inside us. It’s omnipresent. The only choice that is left for me as an individual, is to decide what brand do I choose to represent me. Which one will help me define myself as a person? Tough choice when you stand against the whole branding system. Somehow you have to like some brands better than others and thats where you are caught. A brand has penetrated your mind.
What is the difference between a person and a company? Think about conversations with your friends when you talk about different brands, it does sound like you are talking about people, doesn’t it? A corporation has a name, an I.D, a history, a group of friends, a family, passions, a physical body (Ronald Mc Donald, Mickey, etc.) to represent it, possessions, it can have money, borrow some, buy and sell. It stands for something, your happiness most of the time, it forgets itself for you. How beautiful. Today, a corporation has even more rights than you do. At least in the United states. The leading country in economical abuses and malign free market theories.
The beginning of this story was just following the Civil War. After the fourteenth amendment was taken, the newly freed Black people became equals in rights with the white ones. What history books did not tell you is that, thanks to the vagueness of the American Constitution and this amendment, a couple of corporate lawyers, a new way of living at that time, argued that the fourteenth amendment would also apply to companies, making them as valuable as individuals. It’s called “Artificial Personhood”. Before that time, a corporation had really few powers and was entitled to respect the state authority. It was an subordinate entity that was a gift from the people in order to serve the public good. In the middle of the nineteenth century, this situation changed. Between 1890 and 1910, there were 307 cases brought to the Supreme Court and containing the 14th amendment, 288 were to defend corporations, 19 had the purpose of defending African-americans. 600 000 were killed in that war and who benefits from it at the end, not the ones that were supposed to.
In 2010, it got worse. A case was brought to the Supreme Court. Citizen-United Vs Federal Election Commission. It ruled an old law that forbid corporations to give as much money as they wanted to political parties. The lawyers argued that if the company was equal with an individual it should be given political rights, hence give their dirty billions to the two big parties. So that happy system can live up forever. It’s a close circle between corporations and political figures, they all are evolving in both worlds.
Where does that leave us ? Still a lot of people believe that competition allows us to have better and cheaper goods. The problem being that there is not much of what we could call a fair competition anymore. If you take five companies, let’s say Monsanto, Moody’s, News Inc, Barclays and General Electric, here you go, the world. Billions of products around the world are produced by those and you can’t even see or know it. They create the competition as they want, and don’t worry, they will fool us every time. The third way is not possible, you have to choose, if you are not microsoft, you must be apple, if you are not disney, you must be pixar (well not anymore as globalisation did, once again, a good job) and so on and so on.
If they want you to buy a special product, you will. They will turn your family, your children, your friends so it’s all around you, you won’t escape it. The best example are our little ones, a team of researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the “Nag Factor”. The targeting of children in marketing is omnipresent and it creates an irresistible envy for the child to have whatever toy it is. This study showed that if he or she’s nagging enough, the child will have the thing in most cases. The only aim for the big guy on top is making the child aware of the existence of a certain product, the parents do not have any power anymore.
We, you and I, just need to realize that we are not as free consumers as we think we are. Everything is controlled from above, what you want and when you want it. There is no Illuminati shit, a secret group that controls everything. It is legal and is called the Bilderberg Group, it simply the most powerful men (and a very very few women) of the world, medias, politics, big corporations, they are all there. The funniest is that only the ten top members of this group know what is the long term goal of it.
Identifying with brands is really dangerous as you have to believe in a made idea that was especially conceived for you to like it. They are portraying consumers as having habits that they never betray, putting people into little boxes that define them. We have to think as people first, not as consumers. Don’t relate to brands, choose people instead. It’s much harder, but in the end it’s all benefits.