Lectures, Interviews, Articles
American Psychological Association, San Francisco. 8/20/07
Not Quite a Conspiracy: Networks of Power
By Marc Pilisuk and Jennefer Achord Rountree, pg 2
Effects of Concentrated Corporate Growth and expansion
In the 1970s major officers of large corporations in the U. S. and Great Britain responded formed what Michael Useem calls the “Inner Circle,” a semi-autonomous network designed for the interests of corporate capitalism. It clearly distinguished the interests of the large corporate investors as a class and provided a corporate logic for a centralized advocacy. A select group of corporate officials take on a leading role in consultations with the highest levels of governments. As a result, their privileged status is secure , their growth unprecedented and they have turned government into a contracting cow.
For example, The Center for Public Integrity examined more that 2 million defense contracts. Half of the DOD budget goes to private contractors, 60% awarded without competitive bidding. Not surprisingly, many companies have been accused of massive overcharging and the entire process has resulted in a relentless flow of direct and structural violence. In the charmed circle of US capitalism, Lockheed-Martin-, Boeing-, and Raytheon-manufactured munitions destroy Iraq; George Shultz’s Bechtel Corporation and Dick Cheney’s Halliburton rebuild Iraq; and Iraqi oil pays for it all.
Their work includes:
1) the packaging and selling of legislation and selection of candidates and cabinet appointees;
2) control of media information to make destructive consequences appear normal, and even necessary;
3) governance of foundations, think tanks and universities;
4) promotion of a better climate for big business;
5) image building through philanthropy, support for cultural programs and issue advertising issue advertising, (not tied to selling but to shaping public opinion);
6) military and police protection for their property and status.
Considering that many modern corporations are wealthier than most of the world’s nations, it appears that the U.S. government has granted them commensurate returns on their political investments. The returns require the continuation of global violence.
For a powerful industrial elite to steer a policy process with self-serving deals of this magnitude, one needs more than the pressures of independent corporate lobbyists. One also needs other elements: such as think tanks and advisory boards, that meet together in the role of architects for new policy and elite clubs to assure camaraderie and loyalty to their class.