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Re: tyranny of corporations (was: Corporate Nations)
The hitman image certainly rings true for some top execs I've met. I recall a session with a corporate sociologist many years ago (the company was going through one of those team-building bullshit affairs). I had completed a psychological profile tests and we were reviewing the results. She was given to occasional black humor and on this particular occasion told me she has some good news and some bad news, asking which I prefered hearing first. I selected the good news, whereupon she said that my profile was an exact match with those who reach the highest levels of the corporate world. Then the bad news, its also the profile of a master criminal. I kid you not.
As to hyperindividualism, Robert Bork covered this topic in his recent book Slouching Toward Gamorah. In it he identified two idiological diseases infecting America: radical equality and radical egalitarianism (i.e., hyperindividualism). Both, in his opinion, are a result of a warped evolution of 20th Century liberalism.
Since many in our society seek to emulate these hitmen (i.e., get a piece of the rock at any cost) and have no more scruples themselves than those to whom they aspire, anonymous betting pools could harness the more extreme members in a populist fashion to counterbalance our new age robber barrons and politicians.
The solution to hyperindividualism isn't regulation (which can be blunted or co-opted by those with the bucks) but allowing those below to profitably advance at the expense of those at the top. Dynamic equilibrium in a new marketplace. Sort of like the way Klingons get field rank advancements.