by Justin Beck
normatives of corporate power produce workplace mobbing and non-lethal weapons.
By Justin Beck and Nabeel Ahmed
In the landscape of what has come to be known as globalization, corporate power has manifested itself globally and has spread across the globe, in a sense representing a world power unto itself. Albeit this world power cannot be proven to be united under a single, defined worldview, it can be observed that national borders and other more abstract boundaries between different countries, regions or peoples are becoming elusive as the corporate narrative makes its impact. This can be understood that the world power is manifesting itself in the power play of the corporate industry.
Though it can be debated in a variety of arguments. This understanding that the global corporate power is the world power and knows no borders raises many questions. Questions that have been addressed by some of its critics. One being the idea that if the global corporate power is actually an organized border breaching struggle than it must have a structured mechanism or an organizational hierarchy. If not so, it must have some kind of sister revolutionary forces working on the same idea that is being undertaken in one region (Foote, 2000).
However, it is a highly elusive concept. The global corporate power, nonetheless it is categorized to be one phenomenon isn't necessarily working on uniform principles or ideologies. As opposed to the Russian revolution and the Nazi regime, which was being followed in the spirit of idea and leadership which was classically a totalitarian phenomenon, corporate global responsibility is as much as different from them as it is similar. The interest of the corporate world will keep on shifting, they won't ever be a slave to the ideas that keep values and virtues, the idea of us and them, and rather they will always focus on their interest at that very time. They would have to shift the nature of their values and beliefs as the world culture demands in the return of which it will be a source of capital return because they will be able to sell which they want to sell. Bu modifying the already flexible beliefs in every way necessary, they will influence the target niche that they want to influence. So, as the philosophical understanding of Sheldon Wolin coins the term "Inverted Totalitarianism" for the phenomenon of global corporate power. As it is has its similarities with the classical totalitarian view, as it also implies a propaganda through success and it being the dictatorship of corporations rather than the dictatorship of individuals and ideas (Wolin, 2016).
There can be a question though that we have identified the similarities so far but how come they are different. There can be a question though that we have identified the similarities so far but how come they are different? Is there any logical difference that we can carve out that has its implication which makes this whole concept a little different than part from the fact that it is replacing individuals with corporations. This has been very well articulated by Sheldon Wolin as well as it can be illustrated by a few examples from the corporate world. Apart from the fact that the idea of democracy can only flourish if the citizens are given freedom and scope to flourish and form opinions, a lot has changed. John Dewey's view of education as something that will help an individual towards understanding its true potential, the corporate funded researches has used the very nature idea of the sacred knowledge to be used as a weapon of mass influence to form opinions that will ultimately be beneficial to the changing interests of the corporations. In this way, we have come to the verge of a severe lack of a critically thinking individuals that can debate on the fact that what is and what isn't concocted. By the culture that is influenced by the popularity of ideas anything that reaches the heights of fame, it is considered truth. The media shifts and shapes the understanding of masses as the corporate elite will want it to be which is highly suitable to the interests of global corporate power (Wolin, 2016).
While the clarity of global corporate power as an inverted totalitarian phenomenon increases we can see the effects of this very phenomenon in the target where it is highly relevant. The corporate industry will exhibit its totalitarian power on the employees working within the organization or in any competing sector. Phenomena such as workplace mobbing is one example of how inverted totalitarian view effects the workplace setup. Those employees going against the corporate benefit are indeed protected by Human resource ethics and laws and often are not easy to get rid of. So the firms backing the corporate interest will adopt ways that act as an alternate to termination. As soon as the differences arise the resolution phase will be shortened because the god of corporate world is not so benevolent and merciful. Soon the conflicts and disagreements will enter into another phase where the victim of mobbing will be aggressively and psychologically threatened by the coworkers leading to an extreme workplace ostracism. As more and more people will be joining in the mobbing activity, the third wave would be much severe in which the participants and the administration would cause the victim to feel degraded and dissident only to enter in a much stronger phase in which the administration and the coworkers will categorize the victim to be difficult and disturbing who is not worthy to share an office with. These mobbing attacks causing psychological terrorism will result in extreme conditions which are never suitable to work and the victims decides in quitting keeping in view the psychological and social status he has been bearing. This is yet another attempt to make the environment uniform that is according to the interests of the corporate world (Duffy & Sperry, 2007).
Uniformity of culture, an ideal and safe heaven for the global corporate elite. This would be serving the very purpose of eliminating or modifying anything that is causing a hindrance in the selling process of the corporation. That can go from creating false needs to underrating the actual needs which go against the corporate interest. The famous anti-fat researches that were funded by the sugar industries so that the fat free diet which is bound to be tasteless would be made tasty by adding a lot of sugars in it, thereby, increasing the sales of the sugar market. At that very time, there was a research which explained the fact that the sugars are actually cause of obesity rather than fats, which resulted in the intellectual mobbing of John Yudkin, a nutritionist who was ridiculed and degraded upon his views which were backed by a corporate interest free data (Smith, 2014). Another example can be given of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a neurologist from Nigeria who did a research on the cause of a pattern of suicides that were happening in the former players of American football. He got on to presenting and proving the cause to be the serious concussions in the game resulting in brain injuries was a major break through which was ridiculed by the football leagues. The industry degraded and attacked him in every way possible and asked him to take back what he has published (Scarinzi, 2017). These all instances well depict the way inverted totalitarianism is effecting the workplace and is initiating workplace mobbing.
An emphasis on the so called corporate social responsibility can also be seen from an angle that can explain why inverted totalitarianism is in need of work ethics and uniform principles that can impose the capitalistic agenda on the working class. Making them subservient by indulging them in a thought that this is their social responsibility to be civil, civil being the uncritical employee that works day and night without asking questions. These corporate normative however is not implicit everywhere homogenously, it is flexible and changing (Mele, 2006).
Keeping all the discussed instances we can say that the inverted totalitarianism is something that is the dictatorship of the corporations which whenever is denied or revolted against, no matter by an individual or an organization will be fought and subverted by the corporate power. Depending upon their interests the values will change but the image that the global corporate power will portray is that it is the only way to prosperity and the only way to enhance the quality of life. Workplace mobbing was discussed to be one tactic to keep the work force and competitors in line. The other factor could be the use of non-lethal crowd control. Non-lethal crowd control has effected in both literal and metaphorical capacity. The popular notion that a doctor doesn't need its clients dead neither he needs them cured, he needs them in the middle so that he can capitalize on them. In the same way this corporate elite wouldn't want its consumers gone and neither will it want them to be having their own critical thinking. Thus the corporate world will use non-lethal crowd control techniques in the forms of diversion of their thoughts b creating false needs and false competitions between the brands. When necessary the corporations through their influence use literal non-lethal tactics to deal with those who make issues that are against the interest of the corporate elite. This could be done by influencing on the enforcement agencies and government by funding their party campaigns or donating in the so called charity (Lewer, 2007).
The differences between the classical totalitarianism and inverted totalitarianism is very significant but they both after all are totalitarian phenomenon, which would do anything to keep the masses in line. To further their interests they will use tactics to modify or eliminate whatever comes in their way. Even if it is not a world power, it has its power in the world just like the totalitarian forces once had across the globe.
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Wolin, S. S. (2016).Â Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought-Expanded Edition. Princeton University Press.
Duffy, M., & Sperry, L. (2007). Workplace mobbing: Individual and family health consequences.Â The Family Journal,Â 15(4), 398-404.
Scarinzi, C. (2017, November). CTE in Contact Sports: An interview with Dr. Bennet Omalu. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@ScarinziSports/cte-in-contact-sports-an-interview-with-dr-bennet-omalu-a766fa0b98dc
Mel D. (2006, October). Mainstream theories on normative corporate social responsibility: Analysis from catholic social thought. InÂ Proceedings of the VI International Conference on Catholic Church Social Thinking and Manager Education, The Good Company. Catholic Social Thought and Corporate Social Responsibility in Dialogue, Rome(pp. 5-7).
Lewer, N. (1997).Â Non-lethal Weapons--a Fatal Attraction?: Military Strategies and Technologies for 21st Century Conflict. Zed Books.
Smith, J. L. (2014). John Yudkin: the man who tried to warn us about sugar. The telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/wellbeing/diet/10634081/John-Yudkin-the-ma...
lecturer of psychology in karakoram University Pakistan
Post graduate. Masters level