Read Chapter 18 “The Corporate Government”
The Corporate Government, made up of five members of the largest corporations, was well aware of the damaged their exploitative business practices were causing to the environment. Even though they had cutting edge equipment that monitored the climate conditions, the solid facts those reports produced were lost on the corporate representatives. No one wanted to believe that the weather could deteriorate so fast that it could impact daily life on a massive scale during their lifetime.
Even after the environmental situation worsened massively, the small group in power still opposed taking any actions, which could prevent further ecological degradation. Instead of taking proactive actions against the total collapse of the natural world, they used all possible means at their disposal to keep the population in the dark about the upcoming doom.
The rigid officials in the department of Social Distractions moved swiftly designing all sorts of distractions to divert people’s attention from pressing matters such as climate crisis or food shortages towards trivial subjects. Artificially created social media wars and reality TV took over from the scripted shows. Independent films and news outlets were outlawed, and journalists and filmmakers wanting to tell real-life stories that mattered were publicly shamed and prosecuted.
This tactic worked like magic; soon enough, the public began disconnecting from real life. Propaganda entertainment allowed people to look the other way without fearing the dark future catching up swiftly with the present. Under the Corporate Government, the voices of reason began disappearing across the Old World mysteriously. Unfortunately, only a handful managed to cross over and join the already established Ecotopia in hope to save whatever was left of a once-thriving planet.
Even though the Ecotopian government offered to help the Old World and was willing to create a supply chain, the Old World’s government was unwilling to cooperate with the Ecotopians. For the Old World’s patriarchal mindset, the Ecotopians were too progressive and too different from the old ways. The absent-minded public didn’t notice when the prices of all services went up. Neither they paid much attention when the water restrictions were introduced or noticed that the diversity of food began to shrink.
Ten years of the corporate ruling made people not only numbed to what was happening around them but also fearful of their livelihood that was entirely in the government’s hands. Any sign of resistance from anyone would cause that individual to perish, leaving no trace behind. The intimidated public didn’t oppose when the Corporate Government made weekly work in the food processing factories mandatory to close the food shortages gap. People were too tired, pre-occupied and scared to put up a fight when the bulldozers started clearing out green lands, forests and parks to build the food factories.
If anyone questioned the corporate decisions in private, their doubts were quickly eroded by endless promises of a bright future that would have never materialized. For the Corporate Government, the reality of daily struggles and hardships didn’t matter as long as the public kept on spending their hard-earned money. The distraction policy pushed the general public towards unprecedented overconsumption, which would have worked wonders for the corporate profits if only people could afford all those overpriced products and new gadgets.
With prices of all services and food going up, everyone had to work even harder to be able to afford the basics. Paying back the debts or bank loans became nigh impossible. Failing to pay back the sharks enslaved many families to the corporations they were indebted to. The corporations used and abused those in debt in any way they were pleased. The social activists or unions who could have stood up to the Corporate Government were driven away by the previous right-wing governments, who destroyed human and worker rights under false pretends of progress.
Year after year, the gap between the 1% and the rest of the population was growing so much that closing it could have never happened. When the Corporate Government couldn’t pretend that everyday life wasn’t affected by climate collapse, instead of looking for solutions and alternatives, they decided to build a temporary safe haven in the Above for the chosen 1%. The Above was going to shelter the wealthiest and the most influential from the suffering that would eventually consume Down Below. The Above was just a provisional solution to buy the Corporate Government enough time to find an alternative inhabitable planet and find ways of moving there.
The general public was too drained by years of struggle to pay attention to what the elites were building. Even though the architects of the Above systematically removed the remaining natural recourses from the Down Below no one could even care any longer.
After the 1% relocated to the Above, the life in Down Below became unimaginably tough. The natural disasters, untreated illnesses and infections followed by long spells of starvation shrank the Old World’s population drastically. The corporate farmers struggled to provide enough food for the Above, not to mention producing any nutritious foods for those, who stayed behind.
Obsessed with monopolies, the Old World’s government made growing your own food illegal and punishable by life imprisonment in the work camp if caught. But many people had no other alternative but to disregard the rules the Corporate Government put carelessly in place and tried to grow whatever they could. Even though the Corporate Government moved to the Above, they had no intention of allowing Down Below slip away from them. A massive surveillance program that was already in place was intensified giving Down Below army almost unlimited powers. With the help of their faithful drones, the military closely monitored the citizens and reported back to the Above of any disobedience or unusual activities. Little they know that under their very noses resistance was forming and growing.
When the Corporate Government solidified their power, they promised prosperity for every citizen. Instead, they delivered financial and social collapse, driven by unstoppable greed. The people of the Old World quickly forgot that life, before the Corporate Government spread their wings, was good, prosperous and pretty awesome.