The recent financial crisis in most of the Western World once more brings up the issues of responsibility, culpability and regulation when it comes to the State, Government, Corporations and businesses.
The structure and function (at least in theory) of many Western governments allows the citizens of the State to influence governmental policy on issues which affect them now and which may affect them in the future.
The structure and function of a Corporation is similar to that of a bacteria: Short term gain, with no regard for the future, other entities in the environment (eg humans) or the future of that environment. They are totalitarian, tyrannical institutions, with orders being given at the top and passed further down the chain. In the US, laws have been passed to require corporations to place the interests of their owners above other interests, ie to make as much money as possible.
It is much cheaper and more effective, in many instances, to use the machinery of the State to carry out actions which would benefit the corporation, eg the protection of oil wells in the Middle East, the socialisation of debt when problems occur, the use of research into areas whose innovations are then basically given back to the corporations. Many of the breakthroughs in recent decades have been down to the use of state machinery to benefit the corporations eg Computers, electronics, the telecommunications sector including the Internet, automation, the use of lasers, the commercial aviation industry, etc etc.
Corporations gain control of State machinery through the use of government influence, eg outright bribery, lobbying, offering of lucrative jobs to soon to be retiring government ministers. The most important way of influencing the state is through the use of public manipulation- marketing, and more importantly, the media. Many private media outlets, and especially so in the US, are owned by major corporations. Apart from the obvious money-making venture, there are other, clear reasons for this ownership. The funding of election campaigns is also a major influential factor when trying to control governments, although it is used to a lesser extent in Ireland. In the US, elections have been reduced to marketing campaigns. The word 'marketing' is important here. Marketing fundamentally involves misinforming consumers. Presidents are mainly judged on superficialities; false images created through the use of marketing.
So, in much of the Western World, we have 2 major power systems clashing: The power of people in taking action to affect their present conditions, and more importantly, their own future; and corporations: Ever- growing organisations which may end up destroying this future through their narrow minded outlooks.