I’ve nattered on about hierarchy, leadership, pyramids and all sorts interminably.
But this is no wonkish, philosophical airy-fairiness of a subject.
Couple the re-election of Blatter as the head of FIFA, world football’s governing body, with the stats below, and you’ll probably begin to see what I mean:
I wonder if the FIFA crisis, surely reasonable enough to describe it so by now, won’t in the near future be seen as the corporates’ Berlin Wall. All the grand transnational sponsors standing by as hundreds die; millions of kickbacks apparently kicking back and forth over the bodies of enslaved workforces – who find themselves, quite despite themselves, grimly constructing huge edifices to the greater glory of football’s Pharaohs.
No movement from any of the latter, either; no expression of regret; no humanity expressed at all, it would seem.
So why don’t any of them make the first move? They must know some terrible backstories. They must realise what’s been going on. They must know the truth.
And that’s probably the reason.
This is the tipping-point that tips in favour of footballing omertà. Once you’ve gone so far, it’s impossible to back out. It’s the law of increasing guilt. It must be terrifying – in particular for huge organisations which feel so exposed to public disapproval. To public – and very public disapproval.
The Berlin Wall looked so insatiably permanent once upon a time. Then literally overnight it collapsed and imploded, like puff pastry awaiting its fork.
Will FIFA and its corporate sponsors match this dynamic – or will, instead, they end up being the wall Berlin was never able to ultimately sustain?
Right now, I’m unhappily unsure.
TTIP is the corporates’ last-ditched attempt to achieve global control over burgeoning citizen-democracy, that is clear. Yet the idea of world government via economic practice shouldn’t shock us too greatly – it was, after all, what drove the guildspeople of medieval times to create communities, municipalities, threads of relationships of this and that nature. From the local village to the global village, it shouldn’t have to be a terribly scary move. Clearly, the fact it is shows that something at base is wrong with implementation. Where a long and honourable tradition, much accepted throughout history, should all of a sudden terrify nation-states of educated peoples … well, it’s obvious something ain’t functioning as it should.
Looking specifically at the case of corporates’ dreadfully blind eyes with relation to FIFA’s behaviours, and more generally at some of the wilder accusations circling around the TTIP process, one does begin to wonder if the challenge doesn’t more generally lie in corporate capitalism’s inherent lack of democracy.
Whilst guildspeople and artisans in ancient times voted to support each other, perhaps against rather broader and more powerful forces, corporate capitalism now owns us all. Yet power brings no humility; the ability to do anything no sense of responsibility. We only have to look at what Qatar and FIFA have been getting away with – in full view too of the world’s assembled media – to realise there’s something very very wrong.
The solution then? Perhaps capitalism’s one remaining taboo: hierarchies and structures of internal and interfacing organisation which allow for multiple voices and votes; which don’t, instead, overpay some CEO gingerly atop one of those pyramids I alluded to at the beginning.
Get it right? Probably not your fault – but you’ll accept the kudos all the same! Get it wrong? Blame someone else; they’re bound not to be powerful enough to effectively fashion what becomes received opinion.
It’s manifestly not a healthy state of affairs for any organisation to find itself in.
Do we, then, need more democracy in biz? If TTIP is to move forward, without a doubt.
And if TTIP falls at the last hurdle, or doesn’t consummate itself exactly as it would prefer, simply for the benefit of business’s own healthy ability to renew from within, a democracy of sorts will need to begin to establish and seed.