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Several factors have brought us to this situation: Most obviously, the lobbying power of firms whose donations are of growing importance to cash-hungry politicians and parties; The weakening of competitive forces by firms large enough to shape and dominate their markets; The power over public policy exercised by corporations enjoying special relationships with government as they contract to deliver public services; The moral initiative that is grasped by enterprises that devise their own agendas of corporate social responsibility.
Both democratic politics and the free market are weakened by these processes, but they are largely inevitable and not always malign. Hope for the future, therefore, cannot lie in suppressing them in order to attain either an economy of pure markets or a socialist society. Rather it lies in dragging the giant corporation fully into political controversy. Here a key role is played by the small, cash-strapped campaigning groups who, with precious little help from established parties, seek to achieve corporate social accountability.
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