Recently, CDPR Projekt Red released a trailer featuring a dystopian cyberpunk world more or less run by corporations. To give an example, the most powerful (and expensive) medical services group will only save your life if you have their insurance, and will gun you down if you are in their way.

This got me thinking: what would the organizational structure of a corporatocracy look like?

Ideally, of course, there would be no government. But this creates a significant problem, as without a government, there can't be 1) regulations regarding the quality of goods, 2) a common currency, and 3) any guarantee that the guy you're dealing with won't shoot you in the head. This makes anything but the most basic bartering impossible, and would grind the fictional economy to a halt.

Then I was thinking that perhaps a massive "mercs-for-hire" business could exist that could be hired to kill, steal, and enforce contracts. However, I feel that this is inherently incompatible with any sort of private security that these large corporations will almost certainly want to hire... And if this massive business is incapable of preventing corporations from literally killing off all of their competition, what is the point in hiring them anyway?

Then the answer might be an "impure" corporatocracy, where the government is more or less controlled by corporations. I am wondering if this would make the massive "mercs-for-hire" business essentially incompatible with the government, as the government would no longer have a "Monopoly of violence", and thus could wastefully spend precious police and military resources on fighting... except they might not have a police at all.

Either way, top corporations would probably use the military to wage war on other governments for their own profit. In this case, they would simply change the laws to suit their needs. Perhaps it could be a "work for us and have your voice heard" kind of situation.

The question is, "What is the most viable (or most interesting) corporatocracy possible?", given that

1) There is as little government as possible while still maintaining a common currency

2) There are many mega-corporations, but none of them are in full control of the world

3) The city is basically a shoot-em-up gallery


closed as too broad by Mołot, Frostfyre, Shadowzee, L.Dutch Dec 3 '18 at 22:14

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, kkeey. Please note that the Worldbuilding SE is dedicated to providing detailed answers to specific questions you have while developing your fictional world. Asking multiple questions per post is generally discouraged. Open-ended questions, or questions without definitive criteria for defining a "best" answer, are liable to be put on hold. Feel free to take the tour and check out our site culture to get a better understanding of the site. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 3 '18 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ Additionally, we encourage users to do some preliminary research prior to asking a question. Including why something does not work as a solution helps inform the community of what a good solution looks like to you. I would suggest checking out the Wikipedia page on corporatocracy as a starting point. If you have a more specific question you would like answered, feel free to ask that as a separate question. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 3 '18 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ I really hate it when questions are closed while I write a lengthy answer, so I can not post the answer once written. I wonder if putting in a placeholder answer, then editing it to write my longer one, would prevent such annoyance? $\endgroup$ – Dewi Morgan Dec 3 '18 at 23:11
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    $\begingroup$ @DewiMorgan We've all had that happen but it's bad form to try and game the rules. Maybe you should open a question on the Meta site to get opinions on the appropriate way to handle this. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Dec 4 '18 at 0:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre fixed $\endgroup$ – kkeey Dec 4 '18 at 2:06