Monday, 22 December 2014

The Corporate State

Hanny Lennart:

is a vice president of Global Cybernetics;
is also "...the guiding genius..." (Rise Of The Terran Empire, p. 64) of the five Home Companies;
and serves the Solar Commonwealth " a credit a year as Special Assistant Minister of Extrasolar Relations" (p. 195).

Now I know exactly what Poul Anderson's omniscient narrator means when he refers to "...the corporate state" (p. 142) and adds:

"For that is what the Solar Commonwealth became. No longer distinct from politicians or bureaucrats, the magnates of the Home Companies gained a powerful say in decisions about matters far removed from finance or engineering." (ibid.)

No doubt Commonwealth citizens have elected Members of Parliament and the leader of the majority party has become Prime Minister and has appointed a fellow MP as Minister of Extrasolar Relations but who has elected this Special Assistant Minister? Already powerful in Global Cybernetics and the Home Companies, she now gains more power by "serving" the Commonwealth, supposedly at no gain to herself since she is paid only "...a credit a year..."

Lennart tells Story and van Rijn:

"'As for the Commonwealth, we've now had fifty years of progressive reforms to strengthen democracy.'" (p. 68)

- to which van Rijn replies:

"'By damn...maybe you really believe that.'" (ibid.)

The rival cartel within the Polesotechnic League is the Seven in Space and now we are told that the "guiding genius" of the Home Companies cartel is a Special Assistant Minister of Extrasolar Relations! Who, furthermore, expects that the Cabinet will approve her proposal of support for the exiled Hermetian Eric Tamarin and who also has "'...the authority and duty to rule on [Eric's] temporary status'"! I cannot join van Rijn in invoking St Dismas but I see his point nevertheless.

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