Global Policy Forum

Understand power structures to overturn them


In its third annual ‘State of Power’ report, Transnational Institute (TNI) uses vibrant infographics and intriguing essays to expose and analyse the principal power-brokers that have caused financial, economic, social and ecological crises worldwide. This collection of essays and accompanying infographics draws attention to key dimensions of power and its exercise in our globalised world. The contributions highlight how power is hidden and concealed.

January 29, 2014 | TNI

State of power 2014

The peasants who lose land or whose river is polluted by mining may not know the name of the owner or corporation threatening their livelihood. They certainly will not know which transnationals are buying the minerals, the politicians who signed the trade deals to facilitate its extraction, or the elusive corporate lobbying groups that successfully pushed through those deals.

In the report 'State of Power' Susan George takes an overarching global look at how corporations have systematically and silently appropriated power and authority through lobbying, trade and investment agreements, and through unaccountable expert groups and bodies. She focuses on power unaccompanied by accountability of any kind, but especially on the rise of illegitimate power which she considers the threat to democracy.

In the article she puts her finger on the scandal of corporate influence and states that "non-elected people have become familiar, far more knowledgeable and quasi-legitimate actors on the fringes of government."

Hilary Wainwright who delivers the concluding remarks in the report tells us that dissembling this fateful triangle requires that we recognise power’s transformative capacity and use our creative skills, alternative knowledge and values to overturn neoliberalism. In her article she points to inspiring examples from anti-austerity movements in Greece and Spain that are not only challenging neoliberalism, but building practical, productive alternatives that embody the values of solidarity, social justice, co-operation and democracy to which we all aspire.


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