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Anti-corporate activism is the idea that big business corporations are a detriment to the public good and to the democratic process.
Activists[who?] argue that corporate globalization corresponds to a displacement in the transition from a highly industrial-based economy to one where trade development is connected to the financial deregulation on the basis of circulation of capital. An increasing number of diverse societies have changed to free-market structure, which leads to displacement. Due to this expansion, market-governed regulation has outrun the grasps of the state. Opponents of corporate globalization hold that the government needs greater power to control the markets, that income inequality is increasing, and that corporations have gained too much power. As part of the political left, activists against corporate power and influence support a decreased income gap and improved economical equity.
The defenders of corporations such as Ron Arnold highlight that governments do legislate in ways that restrict the actions of corporations (see Sarbanes-Oxley Act) and that lawbreaking companies and executives are routinely caught and punished, usually in the form of monetary fines.
In addition, from the perspective of business ethics it is argued[by whom?] that chief executives are not inherently more evil than anyone else and so are no more likely to attempt unethical or illegal activity than the general population. Large multi-national corporations do continue to attempt to erode governmental regulations through in-house or contracted lobbyists who work closely with State and Federal legislators. So as corporate laws continue to lean in their favor, corporate members have improved portals to drive up company profits.
Anti-corporate activists may often ally themselves with other activists, such as environmental activists or animal-rights activists in their condemnation of the practices of modern organizations such as the McDonald's Corporation (see McLibel) and forestry company Gunns Limited (see Gunns 20).
In recent years, the number of books (Naomi Klein's 2000 No Logo being a well-known example) and films on the subject has increased such as The Corporation which have to a certain extent supported anti-corporate politics.
An artist critical of sociopolitical agendas in business is conceptualist Hans Haacke.
In June 2008, Condé Nast Publications released an article entitled "The Secret Seven" which it listed the top seven anti-corporate web sites which include: WikiLeaks, Mini-Microsoft, Wal-Mart Watch, HomeOwners for Better Building, Brenda Priddy and Company (automotive spy photos) and finally Apple Rumor Sites AppleInsider and MacRumors. In 2020, a group called "Save our Elders from Corporate Abuse" was formed on Facebook. The page was designed to report and expose banks, trust companies, brokerage firms, and other businesses that contractually obligate or otherwise trap senior citizens, particularly those over the age of 80, into predatory loans, perpetual billing for products, or other schemes intended to get money from them without their knowledge or consent.
Media and digital networking have become important features of modern anti-corporate movements. The speed, flexibility, and ability to reach a massive potential audience has provided a technological foundation for contemporary network social movement structure. As a result, communities and interpersonal connections have transformed. The internet supports and strengthens local ties, but also facilitates new patterns for political activity. Activists have used this medium to operate between both the online and offline political spectrums.
Email lists, web pages, and open editing software have allowed for changes within an organization. Now, actions are planned, information is shared, documents are produced by multiple people, and all of this can be done despite differences in distance. This has led to increased growth in digital collaboration. Activists can presently build ties between diverse topics, open the distribution of information, decentralize and increase collaboration, and self-direct networks.
Close to fifty thousand people protested the WTO meetings in Seattle on November 30, 1999. Labor, economic, and environmental activists succeeded in disrupting and closing the meetings due to their disapproval of corporate globalization. This event became a symbol as anti-globalization networks emerged and became strengthened. The experiences from the protests were distributed throughout the internet via emails and websites. Anti-corporate globalization movements have also expanded through the organization of mass mobilizations, including the anti-WTO protests, which were remarkably successful. In the United States, these movements reemerged after less attention was given to the war in Iraq, resulting in an increase in mass mobilizations.