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The totalitarian corporation?

Birch, Kean (2007) The totalitarian corporation? Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 8 (1). pp. 153-161. ISSN 1469-0764

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Abstract

Throughout its history as an institution, the corporation has been associated with tyranny of one sort or another, from the early period with the imperialist expeditions of the East India Company - virtual ruler of the Indian subcontinent - to the vestige of monarchical privilege embodied in corporate charters in the early USA. However, despite these characterisations throughout the centuries, there has been a very limited attempt to provide a rigorous and scholarly account of the totalitarian characteristics of the corporation. Although many would not agree with John McMurtry's assessment that the corporate sphere is a form of totalitarianism, in that we constantly encounter and experience powerful corporate representations of the world (e.g. advertising, marketing, branding) that reinforce and naturalise the corporation's very existence and our subservient place in relation to it (e.g. consumers, insecure employees, emasculated citizens), it is a question worth considering.