Transnational Institute materials on corporate power

I’ve just run across a number of very good short videos on corporate power and alternatives, as well as some longer pieces. See the links below.
Bob

All of these can be found on the TNI web site under their State of Power programme
https://longreads.tni.org/state-of-power-2020

Three short videos on corporate power and alternatives

The Corporation: Who runs the World 1:52 minutes
Which corporations are the most powerful in the world today?
The Corporation is capitalism’s preeminent institution, dominating our economy, distorting our politics and reshaping society. TNI’s ninth flagship State of Power report delves deep into the changing nature of the corporation in a time of digitalisation and financialisation and asks how we might best confront its power and construct alternatives.
https://youtu.be/9CqqMQ0W6WA

The Corporation: Power without accountability 1:46 minutes
How corporations have become the key drivers of today’s social and environmental crises.
The Corporation is capitalism’s preeminent institution, dominating our economy, distorting our politics and reshaping society. TNI’s ninth flagship State of Power report delves deep into the changing nature of the corporation in a time of digitalisation and financialisation and asks how we might best confront its power and construct alternatives.
https://youtu.be/YcNepZEu9RY

The Corporation: What’s the alternative? 1:26 minutes
The Corporation and its power seems unquestionable today. But the Corporation has not always existed. Could we change or replace it?
The Corporation is capitalism’s preeminent institution, dominating our economy, distorting our politics and reshaping society. TNI’s ninth flagship State of Power report delves deep into the changing nature of the corporation in a time of digitalisation and financialisation and asks how we might best confront its power and construct alternatives.
https://youtu.be/al4SgPKmQJs

The End of the Corporation? 32 page article
It’s time to make the profit-maximising, shareholder-controlled corporation obsolete
Marjorie Kelly
STATE OF POWER 2020
https://longreads.tni.org/stateofpower/the-end-of-the-corporation

Which corporations are the most powerful in the world today?
1:52 minute video
The Corporation is capitalism’s preeminent institution, dominating our economy, distorting our politics and reshaping society. TNI’s ninth flagship State of Power report delves deep into the changing nature of the corporation in a time of digitalisation and financialisation and asks how we might best confront its power and construct alternatives. Visit: https://longreads.tni.org/state-of-po
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CqqMQ0W6WA

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TNI: Grappling with growth – Synergies and tensions between degrowth and people’s movements

An excellent piece on degrowth from the Transnational Institute, by Daniel Boston

https://longreads.tni.org/grappling-with-growth

We live in an age of converging crises. Only days ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a damning report on the state of the environmental crisis. At the same time, while a few countries are recuperating from the pandemic, an on-going third wave of Covid wreaks havoc across the Global South. In both crises, the economic imperative overrides other concerns and appears to render necessary changes illusory. Even among staunch proponents of our current economic system, calls for reform grow louder. The health and environmental crises are illustrative of broader tendencies: environmental disasters, rising global inequality, political polarization, a strengthening of right-wing extremism, anti-immigrant policies, and accompanying human misery.

In light of this, movements are mobilizing. Beyond reform, they argue that systemic changes are needed. Their struggles take a holistic view, emphasizing how the individual crises are entangled and driven by underlying structural factors. A question moving increasingly to the center of attention is growth itself as a driver of social inequality and unsustainability. Critics of growth argue that reckoning with environmental devastation and social inequality is directly tied to leaving behind the growth-paradigm. Among the frameworks and movements criticizing growth, degrowth is especially prevalent.

Degrowth argues that environmental sustainability and social justice necessitate transitioning beyond growth-reliance. In order to address social and environmental issues, we have to transition towards societies that are not just smaller in size but also operate according to a different logic – a logic that is not determined by the market sphere.

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Guyana’s PPP government to exploit oil before the planet burns down

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday reiterated at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, USA that the government supports the swift development of the local oil and gas sector as a means of earning as much as possible while global realities still allow for the use of fossil fuels.

It was one of the starkest admissions yet by the PPP/C administration, that in tandem with Exxon-Mobil and its partners, its intention was to extract as much of the nine billion barrels of oil equivalent and counting before the tide turns against fossil fuels.

https://www.stabroeknews.com/2021/08/18/news/guyana/guyana-in-race-to-maximise-oil-revenues

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American CEOs make 351 times more than workers. In 1965 it was 15 to one | Indigo Olivier | The Guardian

Today in the US, the CEO-to-worker pay gap stands at a staggering 351 to one, an unacceptable increase from 15 to one in 1965. In other words, the average CEO makes nearly nine times what the average person will earn over a lifetime in just one year.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/17/american-chief-executive-pay-wages-workers

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FT: Conspicuous consumption can no longer be our economic engine

The capitalist dream of endless growth – just a bit different from today’s reality eh.

Reports of the death of economic growth have been greatly exaggerated — thus far, at least. More than 200 years ago, Thomas Malthus predicted that the earth’s resources would soon fall short of human needs and mass starvation would result. Adam Smith and David Ricardo both shared Malthus’s premise…
People failed to follow Malthus’s advice, which was to restrain their libidinal urges. The world’s population increased sevenfold over the following two centuries. Yet mass starvation did not result. Instead came a period of unprecedented bounty … [For a
few!]
In [] contrast to Malthus’s vision, [] a slowdown need not spell doom… As societies become more affluent, market actors increasingly have the privilege of consigning economic growth to its original function: a formidable tool of human development, rather than an end unto itself.

https://asianpolyglotview.com/2021/07/conspicuous-consumption-can-no-longer-be-our-economic-engine.html

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London flooding and global warming – a degrowth issue?

Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates said the storms were being caused by a convergence of air currents as warmth in the Earth’s surface from the recent heatwave rose to meet cooler air in the atmosphere.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/25/thunderstorms-leave-cars-and-buses-stranded-in-london

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Degrowth Policies Cannot Avert Climate Crisis Alone. We Need a Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal is the boldest and most likely the most effective way to combat the climate emergency. According to its advocates, the Green New Deal will save the planet while boosting economic growth and generating in the process millions of new and well-paying jobs. However, a growing number of ecological economists contend that rescuing the environment necessitates “degrowth.”

World-renowned progressive economist Robert Pollin, distinguished professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, is one of the leading proponents of a global Green New Deal. In this interview, he addresses the degrowth vs. Green New Deal debate, looking at how economies can grow while still advancing a viable climate stabilization project as long as the growth process is absolutely decoupled from fossil fuel consumption.

https://truthout.org/articles/degrowth-policies-alone-cannot-avert-climate-crisis-we-need-a-green-new-deal/

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One year on, no lessons learnt? – Vikalp Sangam

A very good critique of “development” in India

This is a Longer version of the recently published article Are we listening to the lessons taught in the first year of Covid-19?

Local self-reliance for basic needs, and localized exchanges of products and services, are far more effective in securing people’s lives than are long-distance markets and employment opportunities. In the nearly 75 years since Independence, we could have geared economic policies that facilitated and encouraged such self-reliance. Rather than incentivize big industry to take over most production, virtually all household goods and needs – soaps, footwear, furniture, utensils, clothes, energy, even housing, and of course food and drinks – could have been produced in a decentralized manner by thousands of communities.

https://vikalpsangam.org/article/one-year-on-no-lessons-learnt/

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Review: Tim Jackson’s Post Growth – Life after capitalism

Tim Jackson’s Prosperity Without Growth is one of the most influential books on the postgrowth bookshelf, written in the wake of the financial crisis and clearly articulating the limits of economic growth as a measure of success. This book also comes in the wake of crisis, a time when “alongside an uncomfortable reminder of what matters most in life, we were being given a history lesson in what economics looks like when growth disappears completely.”

http://earthbound.report/2021/03/29/book-review-post-growth-by-tim-jackson?s=09

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What the Ever Given saga could teach us about the world

Washington Post, 30 March 2021 – https://tinyurl.com/38ws8xx4

The mishap led to the huge container ship choking off the Suez Canal, a man-made strait that sees more than a tenth of all global shipping pass through every year, for almost a week, serving as a reminder of the extent to which the global economy still moves on sea — that is, about of 70% of all international trade. The ship’s journey saw it conveying goods from Asia to Europe. It ran aground amid a Middle Eastern sandstorm and was rescued by a multinational coalition that included Japanese and Dutch salvage teams and local Egyptian tugboat operators. The ship’s 25 crew members were all Indian nationals, part of a legion of close to 2 million seafarers — many from impoverished backgrounds in South and Southeast Asia — who literally keep international trade moving. Thanks to coronavirus-era border restrictions, hundreds of thousands of sailors have languished aboard their often cramped ships beyond the terms of their contracts, invisible workers in what one captain described as the “shadow sector” of the global economy. The ship’s ordeal also highlighted the fragility of the global economy. Over the past half- century capacity on cargo ships has mushroomed by about 1,500%, expanding the range of available consumer goods and lowering prices around the world. The vulnerabilities of an interdependent world, where one product may be produced and delivered through supply chains threading multiple continents, are also on show. Even shipments that don’t go through Suez will be affected, as factories wait on essential components arriving from elsewhere before they can make products to send off. It highlights a world of choke points and how important a handful of key maritime passages is to the whole global economy, as well as the strategic calculations of regional powers, including potential standoffs between rival navies. China is dependent on vast imports of oil and iron ore and has arguably structured the bulk of its foreign policy – including its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative – to secure its far-flung trade networks. China imports nearly 3/4 of the oil it consumes, as well as about 4/5 of the iron ore it uses to fuel its frantic pace of infrastructure buildout – not to mention most of the goods exports it uses to obtain hard currency to pay for these commodities, making it peculiarly vulnerable to maritime blockades. Choke points such as the Suez Canal are bound to be even greater sites of geopolitical rivalry and tension, highlighting the need for world powers to figure out a collective system for administering them. [And all the more reason for us to find ways to live better with less in a world already consuming more that our planet can safely produce!]

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