So here I was, reading “Castle in the Air” (“An exotically magical sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle”) when I came up with this handy analogy for how corporations work. And why we can’t beat them in their own game.
Imagine you work in a country where the wages are highest, say The US. But you also live in a place where taxes are lowest, like the Cayman Islands. While at the same time you are domiciled in the country with the best welfare state, so you get lots of quality stuff for free, like Sweden. Yet, when you do your shopping, you go to the country with the weakest currency, like Vietnam.
It’s easy to see how you’d be pretty minted. You’d be earning lots of dollars (cheers, US), you’d give up none of them (cheers, Cayman Islands), you’d get education, healthcare, safety net and the like for free (cheers, Sweden), and you will be spending peanuts on life essentials (cheers, Vietnam).
Unfortunately you, and I, and the vast majority of people in this world, can’t do that. On account that we are a single human entity and cannot live in more than one place at the same time. Most of us have to live where we work, which means that wherever we are we end up spending as much as we earn just to live.
Corporations, on the other hand, are not single human entities. They are human “creations” and they are allowed to “live” in as many places as they like. Notice my use of the word “allowed”; at any given time we could stop “allowing” them to do anything we didn’t want them to.
So corporations make their products where wages are the lowest (Vietnam), then come to rich countries, where they can sell those products at tens of times the amount the cost to produce (US), while at the same time they are domiciled in the Cayman Islands and pay no taxes.
I believe this means that they delay the well known “Marxist crisis”. (Though I could be wrong).
We have created these entities which are larger than us. In a different epoch, we would have justifiable called them “Gods”. This is probably the first time in history when colossally powerful entities have been brought to life, by humans, without at least the pretence of acting for the benefit of all.
In order to compete fairly with corporations, we would need a magical castle like Howl’s. A door with access to different worlds, and different places within the same world, would mean that we would have at the very least the same rights as a corporation.
Without Howl’s door, however, we become mere pawns in the chess game played by the Gods that these corporations have become.
And the reason why I will be one of the best political writers out there is because I can hold simultaneously in my head the world of politics and the universe of fantasy.
Note: Do read the books if you haven't. And watch the movie "Howl's Moving Castle". Really, you won't regret it.