The Gods of the 21st Century are Corporate

GODThe Gods of the 21st Century are Corporate by Peter Sear

Throughout history human beings have put their gods before their fellow man. Our grandest and most beautiful buildings were built for gods, spaces considered sacred are forever fought over and other human beings, children even, have been sacrificed.  Even today, lives are dedicated to serving deity no matter the expense to human beings.

People often say that capitalism is the new religion and money the new god, yet I think something stranger is going on. Something we may believe to be secondary to money has taken hold of power; we are now serving corporations.

The Vikings, Greeks and Romans, like Hindus still today, had many gods ruling over their various domains. Citizens knew which to serve depending on what they wanted and respect was assumed to all. In the 21st Century, many may frown at such deference to such an array of higher powers. Yet we get up each day and nervously munch on breakfast cereal, which we are told is good for us by the corporation who sells it, and we wait on our mass produced sofas for news of a supermarket’s financial report to see if they will issue us all with another ‘PROFIT WARNING!’ A god of food daring us to stop respecting it. Why warn us? Are we meant to panic? Shop more? Serve more? The employees will have to work for less or be banished in favour of more automation and we must all pay more for food. You have been warned!

Each industry has its gods and we are in dwelling in their shadows. These are gods that value their own share price not us. Given choices like: share price or health, profits or lives, the gods are single minded and we endure the consequences of each of these decisions; the pollution, the illness, the poverty, the death.

The situation is exacerbated when the only Profits these corporate gods offer us are Politicians; Politicians who serve them not us. The gods want cheap labour and the politicians import it. The gods want our schools to produce corporation fodder rather than free thinking happy adults and the politicians comply. The gods want their property to be guarded and policed and the politicians provide infinite resources.  Last week one or two of thirty thousand fans, visiting West Ham’s ground for their last match, broke the law by throwing objects at the opposing team bus. After the game their Manager, Slaven Bilic questioned the lack of police among such a large crowd of people, suggesting the security around Canary Wharf a couple of miles down the road was significantly different. ‘If you pick your nose there’, he said (a very human behaviour by the way), ‘someone will tap you on the shoulder and explain that it is not permitted’.

The banks are gods among gods, the most powerful gods in the universe and they answer to no other. The environment at Canary Wharf is clean enough to be more accurately described as sterile. The surrounding streets of the Borough of Newham are the poorest, filthiest streets in London, for the new gods care for their own property not their neighbours’.

In keeping with history, we will endure things from our new gods that we would not from people. Even a close friend would not get away with putting you on hold to listen to awful music for up to an hour before talking to you. Or a friend who insisted you talk instead to someone in a foreign land, that they or you have never met, about your relationship with them. Do any of your friends send you emails from addresses to which you cannot reply?

The whole of society has been taken over by the new gods. Any jobs involving caring for people rather than corporations are respected the least and paid atrociously. Teachers, Doctors, Nurses, Counsellors, Therapists, Carers, are the slaves of slaves; made to work longer for less; for all human beings are irrelevant until they become a CEO.

Child Care, should we really be grateful for that? Or is it a tool of the gods to get more work-time out of us and less time wasted with your own child. Forty years ago a house could be run on one wage, with technological advances ahead we began to worry about what people would do with all of their spare time. Instead, homes now require two or more incomes and the hours have grown longer and with email at hand often never end. Our homes are unoccupied in daylight hours, children let themselves in or get collected by strangers on minimum wages.

All gods are man-made; human creativity at its grandest. We created corporations to serve us, but they have grown into monsters and we now serve them. The gods of the 21st Century are corporate. These gods rule our lives. They own us day and night. We no longer have time even for our own children; and soon they’ll be coming for them!