In our day we see the a power struggle between businesses and the government. Who is really in control and holds the power?
Recently we have this power struggle emerge between Apple and the US government. The government wants certain privileges to Apple's software that will undermine the security features built into the software. Apple has refused the demands of the US government and has released a public statement allowing the public insight on this struggle.
The government has a national military on their side. Companies have knowledge and intellect on their side. Both weapons and intellect are powerful weapons.
In the United States there are several different types of businesses. Some own lots of buildings and warehouses while others are solely services provided online.
Tim Wu discusses in his book "The Master Switch" how when businesses become to powerful the government breaks them apart or limits their power. What will happen when a government no longer has the means or ability to break up large powerful companies?
Adam Smith is famous for his theory on the invisible hand that describes how the economy self-regulates itself. He argues that the government should not intervene with businesses.
"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." -Karl Marx
Are we not seeing another type of class struggle between businesses and the government?
Yanis Varufakis, a Greek economist, argues that power in corporations is increasing and if we keep on the current course this power can threaten democracies.
Ultimately money makes the world go round. Who holds the money? Governments receive their money by taxation of individuals and businesses. The Boston Tea Party occurred in 1773 in response to taxation from the Tea Act when Americans decided to boycott this taxation. When a large powerful company feels that the government is imposing unfairly, what will stop the company from doing the same thing?
Large companies today now have the opportunity to have a global presence. In the case of Apple they have enormous amounts of their business infrastructure outside of the United States. If Apple feels that the government deals with them unjustly, will they just move their operations outside of the US? If companies are able to move to a country with more welcoming regulation, then what new superpower will emerge in the 21st century?