There is already a long history in the United States of Corporations influencing legislation. Most notably legislation that:
- Directly affects their regulatory requirements (or lack thereof).
- Allows them a exclusive advantage in a particular market (by legalizing/mandating the use of a specific technology which competiters can't implement).
- Grants them lucrative government contracts, sometimes along with legal immunity.
- Tax free exemptions of many kinds.
But these actions have always been directly related to their specific industry. It seems now that there is a push to have corporations use their positions in society to directly govern in lieu of present Democratic structures¹,². That is to affect sociopolitical laws which have no direct correlation to their business. Two recent examples are the North Carolina Bathroom Bill and the recent Georgia Voter ID law. This would even mean overturning laws created through the Democratic process. To clarify what is meant by 'Democratic process', I mean generally from an American point-of-view:
- Only elected officials propose, amend and ratify.
- Transparent process that is technically independent of party affiliation.
- Some system of checks and balances including a judiciary.
- And any public referendums.
Along with this, it seems that there are now calls that corporations now permanently involve themselves in such governance³. Thus CEO's, executive boards, and boards of directors, would now effectively be vetoing and ratifying legislation. They would do this to prevent boycott's of their products and protect their 'bottom lines'. This departs from a Democracy in such that:
- CEO's, including sports league commissioners, are not publicly elected officials
- Executive boards and committees are not publicly elected officials
- Boards of Directors are not (general) publicly elected officials
- The primary motivation behind their actions is always to maximize profits and the long-term stability of their corporation - as it should be.
This is not necessarily a negative change to the political system. Corporations, especially modern ones, are often regarded as taking great strides to reduce waste in processes, reduce wasteful spending, and be agile in their approaches and responses. Further, their top decision makers are often in those positions due to merit and proven ability to manage. Such attributes are rarely comprehensively attributed to any government institution.
But of course, as these corporate employees are not elected, it would be very interesting to see how their decisions are accepted by the people who have to live under their decisions. Laws that come into existence and enforcement (or don't) because they allow a company to remain profitable may reasonably be challenged as not necessarily being laws that represent the will of the people, whether those people be in the minority or the majority, or both or either. And there is no system of checks and balances except that which is driven by profitability and stock price.
Another concern is that corporations must now redirect at least some of their efforts from operating their companies, instead to reviewing and rejecting/approving legislation. This involves expertise and training they are not likely to have. Certainly such expertise can be hired. But again, these are unelected employees who have as their main goal the best interests of the corporation in mind. This might significantly distract and detract the top leadership's ability to run the business to the fullest and best of their ability.
The ramifications of all of this is unclear.
With these considerations, both positive and negative, is there a genuine movement to partially replace some existing Democratic processes with a Corporatocracy? NOTE: I'm not asking whether this should happen from a 'right-versus-wrong' point of view. That is a matter of fierce philosophical debate. I'm asking if it is a real movement, and perhaps even if it has a plausible outcome - that is an actual Corporatocracy successfully replacing some previously standard Democratic processes.
¹ "A belated but growing corporate backlash came too late to halt the State's new election law."
² "The group is calling on corporate heads to meet in the coming days and agree to a press conference where they’d publicly condemn the law, publicly denounce similar measures in other states, support the current federal lawsuits against the State and express support for legislation. Those corporations would include AFLAC, Delta, Coca-Cola, Home Depot and more of the state’s largest employers."
³ "Instead, Ken Chenault said, they want those at the seat of power inside corporations to wield their influential resources, dispatch their lobbyists, and utilize other powerful tools to make their position known."