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 powers. None of them wanted to believe that the weather would deteriorate so fast that it could impact daily life on a massive scale during their lifetime.
Even after the environmental situation worsened massively, the politicians in power still opposed taking any decisive actions, which could have prevented further ecological degradation. Instead of taking a proactive approach against the total collapse of the natural world, the Corporate Government 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 diversion to divert people’s attention away 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 or real-world news. Independent films and news outlets were outlawed, and journalists and filmmakers who wanted to tell real-life stories that mattered were publicly prosecuted and punished.
This tactic worked like magic; soon enough, the public began disconnecting from reality with the help of propaganda entertainment, which encouraged people to look the other way without fearing the dark future that was swiftly catching up with them all. Under the Corporate Government, the voices of reason began mysteriously disappearing across the Old World. Unfortunately, only a handful of them managed to cross over to join the already established Ecotopia in the 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 sustainable 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 pay much attention when the prices of services started going up. Neither noticed when the water restrictions were introduced or when 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 since the corporations became the government. Whenever anyone showed any sign of resistance that individual would perish, leaving no trace behind. The intimidated public didn’t oppose when the Corporate Government made weekly work in the food processing factories mandatory. When the bulldozers started clearing out green lands, forests and parks to build the unsustainable food factories people were too tired, preoccupied and scared to put up a fight.
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 while drowning in debt. The distraction policy pushed the general public towards unprecedented overconsumption, which would have worked wonders for the corporate profits if only people could have afforded all those overpriced products and new gadgets.
With prices of all services and food going up, everyone had to work more hours, possibly holding two jobs, to be able to afford the basics. Paying back the debts or bank loans became highly impossible. If the family fail to pay back the debts the family members became enslaved to the corporations they were indebted to. The corporations used and abused those in debt in any way they pleased. The social activists or unions who could have stood up to the Corporate Government were driven away by the previous populist governments, who happily destroyed human and worker rights under false pretends of progress.
Year after year, the gap between the 1% and the rest of the population expanded so much that closing it became a dream of the past. 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 few who could afford to buy their way in. The Above was going to shelter the wealthiest and the most influential from the suffering that would eventually consume Down Below. The Above was supposed to be just a provisional solution to buy the Corporate Government enough time to find a way to move the Above to Mars.
Sadly, the general public was too drained by years of struggle to pay much 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 was willing to put up a fight.
After the 1% successfully relocated to the Above, the life in the 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 food in small garden and houses illegal and punishable by life imprisonment in the work camp if caught. But many people had no other alternative but to disobey the rules the Corporate Government carelessly implemented and tried to grow whatever they could. Even though the Corporate Government moved to the Above, they had no intention of allowing Down Below to slip away from their grip. 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 all activities for signs of disobedience. Little they knew that under their very noses resistance was growing.
When the Corporate Government came into power, it promised prosperity for every citizen. Instead, they delivered financial, social and ecological collapse, driven by unstoppable ruthlessness and greed. The people of the Old World quickly forgot that life, before the Corporate Government spread their wings, was good, prosperous and pretty astonishing.