Did you think that the section on Corporations in Bulletproof Blues was too cynical? Unrealistic? For example, this section:
Corporations accrue political power by funding politicians who support the corporation’s interests. Typically, political influence is used to increase incomes, eliminate competition, or externalize costs by either enacting or eliminating laws and regulations. For example, the multinational corporation Lastimar used its political influence in the USA to ensure the addition of riders to a multi-billion dollar agricultural appropriations bill. These riders required the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court were to order the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement could be completed.
Did that strike you as too over-top-top? That nothing so blatantly evil would ever happen in the real world?
You might find this interesting…
It seems that while many were focused primarily on sequestration cuts being softened, the Continuing Resolution contained several riders which embrace the poisoning of our food.
The “biotech rider” would have the Department of Agriculture “approve the harvest and sale of crops from genetically modified seed even if there is a court order saying the environmental studies on the crop were inadequate,” and “It will allow farmers to plant, harvest and sell genetically engineered plants even if the crops have been ruled upon unfavorably in court.”
(from “The Freedom To Poison (AKA ‘Monsanto Protection Act’) Snuck Through In Budget Deal”, Political Shake, March 24, 2013
Earth has been visited by aliens many times in its history, although few people in the Kalos Universe are aware of this. Most of these visits were well before 3000 BCE, which is when humans began recording history. Some may have even been before the evolution of Homo sapiens approximately 200,000 years ago.
For hundreds of years, modern science has endeavored to peel back the layers of ignorance, to shed light on the true nature of the universe, to replace yesterday’s myth with today’s proven fact. And it is to advance that cause that we must ask ourselves… are extraterrestrials dull?
What’s a superhero game without subversive organizations vying for global dominance?
A subversive organization is one that seeks to transform the established social order and its structures through force and deception. In essence, subversive organizations seek to supplant traditional national and cultural loyalties. Subversive organizations are similar to criminal enterprises in that both are primarily opposed by governments (as opposed to corporations, which would happily do business with them if doing so would generate a profit). However, the goal of a subversive organization is the supremacy of a cause or ideology rather than material gain. Subversive organizations do seek financial gain, often through criminal activities and donations through various “front” charities, but this revenue is merely a means to an end.
Subversion of the power, authority, and hierarchy of an existing social structure is a labor-intensive task. For this reason, subversive organizations establish or infiltrate front groups and seek to manipulate existing political parties. Front groups may establish further front groups, and so on, to the extent that ordinary members have no idea who is actually in control of their organization. In fact, a given front group may be infiltrated by several subversive organizations simultaneously. This many-layered structure makes it difficult for the establishment to root out and eliminate subversive organizations.
Because subversive organizations place loyalty to their ideology above any respect for law and order (and may in fact be antagonistic to the existing legal structure), the use of force is always an option, and most subversive organizations prepare for eventual armed confrontation with the establishment. For this reason, they exert considerable effort to infiltrate the armed forces, the police, and other institutions of the state, as well as important non-government organizations. In some cases, the subversive organization will attempt to plant “sleepers” in these institutions, but in most cases they will use a combination of bribery, blackmail, and extortion to gain leverage over vulnerable individuals who already belong to the targeted institution.
Most subversive organizations realize that the overthrow of the existing order would be made simpler if the general populace looked upon the traditional power structure with disdain or apathy. To generate antipathy to the status quo, subversive organizations provide support to groups who generate civil unrest through demonstrations, strikes, and boycotts. Additionally, subversive organizations may infiltrate media outlets in order to shape the narrative that ordinary people use to make their political decisions.
Subversive organizations have many potential uses for posthumans and actively attempt to recruit them unless the organization has an ideology which prevents it. Because subversive organizations depend on subtlety more than on overt force, any posthumans in their ranks are likely to have abilities pertaining to deception and manipulation.
We posted an excerpt on corporations yesterday. We hope you enjoyed it. Today we flip the coin a bit, and look at governments in the Kalos Universe…
George Washington is reputed to have said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force.” While the authenticity of the quotation is in doubt, the accuracy of that assertion is not.
In the Kalos Universe, governments are the tangible expression of the natural tendency of some individuals to seek to dominate others through the use of force. Those who are part of the government are the “insiders”, while those subject to the government’s rule are the “outsiders”. Insiders have a pecking order where some wield more power than others, and the means by which insiders rise and fall in the hierarchy depends on the specific form of government.
The goals of those in government depend on their rank in the hierarchy, and vice versa. At the lowest levels, such as a city council or a school board, most insiders will seek to use their power and status to force others to adhere to a certain moral code or to gain some benefit for a preferred social group. Some may even seek to promote what they perceive to be the “common good”. At intermediate levels, such as in state governments, smaller national agencies, or even upper levels of national governments in smaller countries, the insider’s desire for money, power, and status is as important as their concern for public morality or social justice. At the highest levels of government, such as the legislatures and major agencies of world powers, the goals of those in government are money, power, and status, to the exclusion of all other considerations.
Outsiders, those not in government, often think that governments exist to provide services. Governments may in fact provide services for outsiders, but this is incidental. A government without a postal system, a highway department, or a department that administers medical subsidies would still be a government. A government without an army, on the other hand, would cease to be a government. As Mao Zedong said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
A corporation is a legal entity created to shield the people controlling it from liability. The ultimate goal of a corporation is to make as large a profit as possible. Other considerations, such as the quality of the product or service the corporation provides, the health and welfare of its employees and customers, the integrity of the environment, the survival of future generations, and adherence to the law are discarded when it is cost effective to do so. For example, if the fine associated with violating a government regulation is lower than the cost of complying with the regulation, the corporation will violate the regulation and pay the fine (or challenge the fine in court, if that seems more cost-effective). Similarly, if a product may result in the deaths of a percentage of those who use it, and the cost of defending against or settling any ensuing lawsuits is predicted to be lower than the cost of altering the product’s design, the corporation will produce and sell the product as-is rather than sacrifice profits to prevent the deaths.
Corporations accrue political power by funding politicians who support the corporation’s interests. Typically, political influence is used to increase incomes, eliminate competition, or externalize costs by either enacting or eliminating laws and regulations. For example, the multinational corporation Lastimar used its political influence in the USA to ensure the addition of riders to a multi-billion dollar agricultural appropriations bill. These riders required the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement could be completed.
Many corporations present a carefully crafted persona to the public designed to increase sales and engender trust. For example, the corporation may contribute to highly publicized environmental causes (while causing massive damage to the biosphere elsewhere), it may donate funds to children’s charities (while paying Indonesian children three cents an hour to work in its factories), or it may run commercials featuring a friendly mascot with an innocent smile and gentle, self-deprecating humor. Corporations employ teams of marketing analysts and psychologists to ensure that the consumer perception of the corporation is that of a trusted friend who provides essential goods and services. As the current Nexus-McKesson slogan states, “Nexus makes life better!”