Sony and Powerful Corporations

One lesson learned from the Sony mess has to do with corporate power. We tend to think that corporations are powerful. After all, they have access to huge amounts of capital and talent and physical resources. They are connected. They add value to society. That is all power, right?

Well it is if you think of power as something based in the rules that govern its activities. Within the rule framework, corporations can do many things that individuals cannot.

But with the Sony mess, we see the limits of corporate power. Corporations are reluctant to risk capital for principle. Sony’s defense of its backing down to hackers is “hey, it is not our fight. After all we are only a corporation!” My how the mighty have fallen.

This is something to remember when libertarians trumpet the great benefits of a society without a public sector. They mean a society where corporations call the shots. And we see with Sony that they are likely to do so based on their own interests.

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