David Korten\'s "When Corporations Rule The World"


The book "When corporations Rule the World" by David Korten describes
the way things will be in the future with multi-national corporations. These
large corporations are found all over the world. There are many different
problems that are appearing and many of them can be seen to be connected to
corporations. We need to look at what is occurring with corporations and see if
they are causing more problems or are helping to solve problems of the world.
David Korten addresses this question in his book. He points out many of the
problems that are being caused by multi-national corporations in the world today.
He points out the effects to communities, families, the individual and the
environment that are being forgotten about in the ever expanding process of
economic globalization. Korten states " the process of economic globalization
are not only spreading mass poverty, environmental devastation and social
disintegration, they are also weakening our capacity for constructive social and
cultural innovation at a time when such innovation is needed as never before"
(269).
Corporations have not always been as big and powerful as the are today.
Through economic globalization they have become very powerful. "Corporations
have emerged as the dominant governance institutions on the planet, with the
largest among them reaching into virtually every country of the world and
exceeding most governments in size and power" (54). Prior to the Civil War,
owners were personally responsible for any liabilities or debts the company
incurred, including wages owed to workers. Early Americans feared corporations
as a threat to democracy and freedom. After the Civil War, owners and managers
of corporations pressed relentlessly to expand their powers, and the courts gave
them what they wanted. Perhaps the most important change occurred when the U.S.
Supreme Court granted corporations the full constitutional protections of
individual citizens. By the early 20th century, courts had limited the
liability of share holders; corporations had been given perpetual life times;
othe numb er of owners was no longer restricted; the capital they could control
was infinite. Some corporations were even given the power of eminent domain.
In effect, the U.S. Supreme Court bestowed natural rights on unnatural creatures,
amoral beasts that were created to serve selfish men. Now corporations had life
and liberty, but no morals, and the fears of the early Americans were soon
realized.
There are many problems that can be seen being caused by the multi-
national corporations that have spread all over the world. One of these
problems is the thoughtlessness of these large corporations to abuse the
environment that we all have to live in. Corporations have been destroying both
the renewable and non-renewable resources of the world. Many of the
nonrenewable resources are being used at very excessive rates for profit to the
few and nothing for the people where the natural resources are being taken from.
"When industrialization caused countries to exceed their national resource
limits, they simply reached out to obtain what was needed from beyond their own
borders, generally by colonizing the resources of non-industrial people" (27).

Many renewable resources are also being destroyed all over the world and
this is having very devastating effects to many people. One of these main
resources is the polluting of the fresh water and air in the world and the
ability to absorb our wastes. One example of this is the amount of damage that
has done by acid rain. "At the global level, each year deserts encroach on
another 6 billion hectares of once productive land, the area covered by tropical
forests is reduced by 11 million hectares, there is a net loss of 26 billion
tons of soil from oxidation and erosion, and 1.5 billion hectares of prime
agricultural land are abandoned due to salinization form irrigation projects"
(28).
Two of the most important aspects of good health are in the abundance
of clean water and proper sanitation. "Countries with high income levels are
experiencing increases in rates of cancer, respiratory illness is, stress and
cardiovascular disorders, and birth defects, as well as falling sperm counts"
(41). This is due mostly to what is left after economic growth, waste and
pollution.
One of the other effects is that many of these multi-national
corporations have much more power than many governments of the world. "As
markets become freer and more global, the power to govern increasingly passes
from national governments to global corporations, and the interests of those
corporations, and the interests of those corporations diverge ever farther from
the human interests" (67). This means that these corporations have the power to
influence many decisions that