It came as quite a shock to me to find out that almost all scientific papers are controlled by a mere six corporations. In the past, I had heard about how there are only six companies that control the American media, compared to over 50 companies in 1983. However, it is more disturbing to think about the fact that academic research is being controlled in the same way that the media is.
Power over the media essentially enables these companies to limit the diversity of information that is reaching its viewers. This essentially prevents the public from moving away from the Type C end of the spectrum, towards the Type A, as the media is only representing the agendas of six companies. The result is similar to that of tunnel vision, as it prevents the public from developing a wider perspective on current global events.
Similarly, a majority of the wide array of consumer brands available can be traced back to ten major corporations. This offers consumers the perception of choice when really the money that they are spending is going to a very select number of Transnational Corporations (TNCs). The economic power of these TNCs is so vast that it can often exceed the power of the nation-states across whose borders they operate. The problem associated with the dominant economic power that these TNC’s hold is that they are driven by profit. As a result, the activities that these TNCs engage in can often have detrimental effects on the environment as well as a sway over the finite resources on our planet.
Consolidation is a very Type C characteristic due to the lack of transparency that is associated with it. On top of this, the element of control is a very prevalent characteristic within these networks. The lack of transparency suggests that the top corporations are not only attempting to control their smaller partners, but also making an effort to control the actions of the general public. In the end, the corporations at the very top will produce the greatest revenue, generate the highest profit and continue to gain power. Another factor that keeps power concentrated within the top tier of corporations is that they hold ninety percent of all technology and product patents worldwide. This creates a staggering monopoly which, once again, concentrates power within these corporations, restricting the ability of the population at large to make their own choices.
Although IMT teaches us that there is no such thing as control or influence, these examples of consolidation make a convincing argument against that particular notion. Furthermore, the corporations that yield an even greater authority compared to the companies that have already discussed are banks. Banks have established themselves as a necessity. It is doubtful that any adult that lives and works in a developed country does not have a bank account. As a result, banks control a vast majority of the money in the world and their level of power within the economy can have devastating effects globally as was experience during the recession of 2007. The greed of these corporations drive their activity and, as a result, they are taking advantage of a large percentage of the population. While individuals do not have the option of being bailed out financially in times of crisis, these “too big to fail” corporations are granted that alternative, despite the chaos which ensues.
With all of this information taken into consideration, it is truly shocking that academic research is also part of a consolidation network. Academic research relies upon publication within an “accredited” or “reputable” journal, however, if these journals are controlled by a mere six corporations, the information that is published will be limited. Bureaucracy has no place in academia and its presence enables censorship as research and funding will be tailored towards specific topics. Despite this, open source resources, such as Wikipedia, are often discredited and said to have no place in academia due to queries over the legitimacy of the information.
On the other hand, open source resources represent transparency and provide accountability for the information they distribute. This means that these resources have more Type A characteristics than the “reputable” scientific journals. In order to ensure that corporations are not deciding the direction of academic research, and essentially the future of our planet for us, free-access journals and open source resources have to gain a greater dominance within academic circles. Questions raised over the legitimacy of information in these sources can be quashed by ensuring that the authors or collaborators are held accountable for their findings.
As awareness regarding the consequences of consolidation becomes better known within the general population, we can hope that censorship will cease to restrict their perceptions. Luckily, widespread access to the internet ensures that information is more accessible today than it ever has been in history. Furthermore, the ability for information to “go viral” through social media demonstrates the speed at which information is capable of traveling. The only issue remains that trivial information is just as likely (if not more likely) of being spread virally compared to dominant information. Nonetheless, the need for print journals is not far from becoming obsolete. I am hopeful that, in the future, the public will not find themselves subjected to the limitations associated with consolidation censorship.