Multinational Corporation

A Nightmare, in Real Life

Picture the entire Fortune 500 combined into one large company.

The company manufactures everything imaginable with monopolies in cotton, silk, dyes, salts, spices, and tea. Not only do they have near-monopolies in gunpowder but also weaponizes opium, giving away free samples to encourage dependency. Basically, their only moral is to make money.

Government and the company intertwine at the highest levels. Comparatively, their owners make Russian oligarchs look like market stall merchants in wealth and influence. Indeed, the company effectively dictates government policy.

The company raises its own army. It is twice the size of the official army with no legal constraints. They outright colonize other countries and start and fight wars. If they prevail in war then the company keeps the spoils. However, when they lost then government absorbs the losses.

The British East India Company worked exactly like this.

The company was enormous, openly influencing and dictating to the government. Eventually, they controlled half of all trade in Britain.

The East India Company colonized and ruled India. Subsequently, they started and fought the opium wars with China in the name of Britain.

Other East India Companies

There was also a Dutch East India Company that was not entirely dissimilar. That business colonized South Africa, literally enslaving the locals. The Apartheid government is a direct result.

The French East India Company was not nearly as successful, due more to a lack of capital than higher morals. They tried and failed to colonize Madagascar but did create small outposts around the world.

France dissolved their East India Company, which never earned a profit, in 1769. The Dutch East India Company was dissolved in 1799 and all assets and territories became the property of the Dutch government. In 1858, the British government assumed control over the soldiers and territory. The British East India Company dissolved in 1874.

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