Only a month ago, I wrote a two-part piece on the New World Order – an intellectual exercise, or so I thought, a thought-experiment, a what-would-happen kind of thing if and only if. The events since, not to mention the hidden implications of fellow Blogcritic Ms. Reidhead’s article, have convinced me beyond a doubt that what I was entertaining then as a remote possibility was quickly assuming the dimensions of an impending reality.
“Welcome to Star Trek: The Next Generation; it’s sooner than you think,” was the line I used. A catchy phrase, I was congratulating myself. Well, I no longer think it’s either catchy or funny, or any of the above. Which just goes to show the difference a month can make.
Since the Eighties, the hidden theme of American politics has been the growth of corporate power. The political responses were many and varied. Some looked the other way, taking the path of least resistance. Others, of more questionable moral ilk, viewed this development as an opportunity to enrich themselves through shady deal-making and exchange of quid pro quos — the practice of lobbying, an integral part of American political landscape, providing the excuse. Others yet, the most sensible of the bunch, waited on the sidelines anticipating a showdown.
And a showdown it was going to be, since you can’t serve two masters at once; for as the global conglomerate was gaining in power, enabled by crooked politicians and public officials, the power of the government to control the abuses and set the tone for the nation was quickly on the wane. The culture of corruption permeating all levels of business and government and the resulting collusion between public and private interest couldn’t continue indefinitely. Sooner or later, a sense of decency and moral outrage were bound to prevail. The corporation and business interests had to be made subservient if the government — the idea of polity — was to recoup its rightful authority in all matters affecting national interests. It was only a matter of time, I was certain, and I looked forward to this showdown with great hope and expectations.
Well, it never came to that. The corporations overreached, rendering the whole scenario null and void. A perfect opportunity, you might say, for the government to take over the reins and re-establish itself as the rightful master. Which is why I viewed the present crisis as a godsend: it produced the requisite kind of result by bringing the business world to its knees without bloodshed or ugly confrontation. Now I have second thoughts.