William Dalrymple, The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company
Corporate power exerts great political and economic influence. Tech giants shape public perceptions, and through harvesting of personal data and sharing them with powerful political establishments, manipulate voting patterns in elections. Real estate moguls sell dreams of individual prosperity only to drown a significant number of people in increasing debt. Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) prey on crises and make a profit out of them. Naomi Klein has called this phenomenon as ‘shock doctrine’. Consumerism, rampant marketing and advertisement have greatly expanded our ‘needs’, resulting in staggering profits for big companies. The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the 2008 financial crisis, the revelation of classified documents of National Security Agency (NSA) by former CIA official Edward Snowden and the relentless campaign of fossil fuel industries to label climate change as a hoax, show the immense power corporate sector has on politics, culture, economics and our lives. Though an intellectual culture, especially in the western world, that among other things propounds the ideas of economic liberalism, de-regulation, privatization, and a minimal role for state, has created a fecund environment for big companies to thrive, the latter have often relied on state intervention to bail them out and avert the ominous prospect of bankruptcy. But this is not a new phenomenon.