Stross is a spectacularly good contemporary science-fiction author, brimming with ideas, who also has a stimulating blog, where his latest entry asks why things are so messed up. His proposed answer is that we’ve been invaded by alien organisms — namely, corporations:
Corporations do not share our priorities. They are hive organisms constructed out of teeming workers who join or leave the collective: those who participate within it subordinate their goals to that of the collective, which pursues the three corporate objectives of growth, profitability, and pain avoidance. (The sources of pain a corporate organism seeks to avoid are lawsuits, prosecution, and a drop in shareholder value.)
Corporations have a mean life expectancy of around 30 years, but are potentially immortal; they live only in the present, having little regard for past or (thanks to short term accounting regulations) the deep future: and they generally exhibit a sociopathic lack of empathy.
I like it; it’s fun (although William Gibson said much the same thing, I think); but it’s so 1960s, if you know what I mean.
Odd and interesting.