Corporates take over failed states

The C20 takes over management of the West African country Llamanda

In an unprecedented move, the Corporate-20 (aka C20) took over the running of Llamanda late last night. Llamanda is a West African country rich in natural resources, which has been plagued by corruption, political infighting, the appointment of incompetent political cadres to State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), collapsing infrastructure, dysfunctional healthcare, and rampant inflation. The deterioration has been going on for decades but has now reached a breaking point; Llamanda must either completely overhaul its way of running government departments and SOEs, or it will descend into anarchy and deadly civil war.

Jeanette Brown, spokesperson for the C20, was quick to reassure the media that it was not a coup d’état. She stressed that Llamanda’s democratically elected government was still in place, but, as responsible leaders, they saw no other way to ensure Llamanda’s survival, and the protection of their own interests.

Since the global financial crisis in 2008, CEOs worldwide have faced ever-increasing pressure from shareholders, customers, rating agencies, and their own staff to live up to their professed purpose, morals, and ethics. Society no longer accepts that increasing profits can be achieved by ignoring corruption and social injustices in developing countries. The CEOs of the largest corporations also realized that without an educated workforce and a financially active customer base, future profit growth would not be sustainable.

The C20 was formed in anonymous backrooms and its sole purpose is to look after its corporate members’ global interests. Only member companies know who the members are, but rumour has it that the ten largest companies by market cap are all involved.

Bolstered by the pivotal role large corporates had played in the Ukraine–Russia war of 2022, and the impact a unified front had had to help end the conflict, the C20 took Llamanda to task, placing an ultimatum on the government: “End corruption, sort out education, provide healthcare for all, or we will shut you down!”

Llamanda’s government ignored the demands, protesting at the UN, but two days ago, the C20 had had enough of the procrastinations and excuses and closed Llamanda down. Banks, internet, social media, shipping lines, telecoms, radio, TV, and electricity stopped working within a couple of hours, shortly followed by countrywide protests supporting the C20’s move. With a crippled economy, the government had no other choice than to hand over the country’s management to a high-powered corporate task team. The task team has three years to clean up government departments and turn the country around.

The C20 is now looking at several other countries for similar arrangements but international organizations have grave concerns about the C20’s long-term agenda. Will they hand back power to elected officials or is this a stealthy form of corporate colonization?

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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