9
$\begingroup$

There are three cyberpunk corporations. All of them engage in immoral criminal activities to raise funds, and they don't really have a choice...profit margins are tight, and we have to stay afloat in a declining economy. I run one of these cyberpunk corporations, and I'm fighting a long and bloody war against the other cyberpunk corporations for market share. That war is expensive, further driving me into crime to sustain the beast. It's an endless spiral of despair and chaos.

Obviously the government hates my criminal activities. Our feuds with the other corporations tend to lead to collateral damage and bring down property values. I already tried bribing governmental officials, and it worked...for a time. But after yet another terror bombing that killed innocent civilians, the government had given up accepting my bribes. Which was fair...we couldn't afford the bribes anyway.

The government have instead established a Police Agency dedicated to "fighting crime" (i.e, attacking all three cyberpunk corporations). This four-way war is bleeding our finances dry. We have killed some of their police officers. They have killed some of our corporate executives.

To keep our corporation alive, our accountants have requested that we try to get a government bailout. I can't let this corporation go bankrupt...I have worked here all my life, I support its ideological beliefs, and the perks are nice. But I can't stop killing police officers. I can't stop committing crimes. I can't negotiate away the corporation's "evilness", because doing so would take away valuable income that will keep the corporation afloat. But I am still willing to talk with the government, and work with them (at least temporarily). All I just need is money, money to survive the next day.

So how do I convince the government to give me a bailout?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Why not just kidnap a high-ranking government official and hold them to ransom? $\endgroup$ – Akshat Mahajan May 10 '16 at 2:18
  • $\begingroup$ Um, you just said the government hates an evil corporation. Sounds like quite the contradiction to me... $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon May 10 '16 at 4:39
  • $\begingroup$ Corruption? It's only another crime to add to the list. $\endgroup$ – AmiralPatate May 10 '16 at 7:58
  • $\begingroup$ Viva la revolución - only way to go $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg May 10 '16 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Tariq Ali , How high up in this evil corporation are you? are you the leader, a grunt, or somewhere mid level? $\endgroup$ – Mr.Burns May 10 '16 at 11:39
8
$\begingroup$

It's kinda lame, but the bail out would probably happen for the same reasons they did in the real world. Too big to fail.

Lets assume typical Mega-Corps size because you only have 3, though the lack of power seems to suggest otherwise. Haliburton employs 70,000 people currently and the US govt employs 2 million civil servants (and something like 20 million total, if you count all soldiers, elected officials etc.) Your company is going to employ at a minimum 5 million, in a small country like Britain. In America it would probably employ 50 million or more. In addition it's likely at least 80% of the major markets you compete in are taken up by yourself and the other corps. That means you have at least 15-30% market share in any given market.

A loss of 5 million jobs in a day would decimate any modern economy. The US lost 5 million jobs in the first 8 months during the Great Recession, and in 2 years lost only 8 million total. Think what would happen if that happened in a single day. As one of 3 corporations, you have probably a minimum of 15% of the work force, and up to a full third if you are the largest corporation. Losing 15% of a work force could bankrupt a nation.

Furthermore, your competitors will suck up your lost market share and become that much more powerful. Perhaps more powerful than the government itself, considering how weak the national economy is going to be. Your corporation falling may be all that's needed to start setting off a civil war that makes two corporate states.

Even if there are other corporations, and yours is a moderate sized corp, in a cyberpunk universe they are still meant to be employing hundreds of thousands. The hit to the national economy with you falling will be something no politician with any understanding of economics wants to risk. Especially when it will make the other two players just that more powerful.

One of the key aspects of a cyperpunk world is the intermingling of corporate and government affairs. This is a perfect example of how, despite hating the corporation, the government has a symbiotic relationship with it, one that they cannot destroy without destroying themselves. It explains why the government hasn't already shut the company down itself if it knows they are engaging in street warfare.

$\endgroup$
5
$\begingroup$

How do governments come to power in this world? If it's through any kind of elective democracy, you can take a cue from recent events and pull off an audacious maneuver—run for president yourself, then given your corporation a bailout.

Alternately, if you yourself are too highly visible to make this work, pick a lower-level executive who is deeply loyal to the corporation, bankroll his or her candidacy from behind the scenes, and have your stooge ride to power on populist pandering and revelations of corruption among the current elite. (You will, of course, have evidence of this corruption, since you're the one who paid the bribes to being with.)

Actually, just having a president in power is too little—to really make it work, you should bankroll stooges to run for office at all levels of the government, all across the country. It would be nice if you could get your puppets into all the major political parties so that any opposition has no single home to gather in. You won't have to bother bribing these stooges, because they're already loyal to you.

For maximum effect, you should hire one of those pathetic humanities majors, who are all homeless and starving in the ghettos of this cyberpunk world, to write a manifesto for your "movement". Use your money to spread this manifesto everywhere, but make it look like it spontaneously erupted from the grassroots. A little astroturfing will start a bandwagon effect among everyday Joe Sixpack types; they'll all get on board and support your "movement". You can leverage any media presence you might have—a few television personalities could do wonders for your manifesto. Think of how effective people like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Rachael Maddow are at spreading political ideas in the real world—if someone like that adopts a manifesto, no matter how ludicrous the ideas in it are, people will consider it. Once your manifesto is out there, have all your stooges start quoting from it and insisting that it represents "the real will of the people" or some similar nonsense. Even if no one listening knows anyone who actually buys this garbage, they'll assume that your stooges are telling the truth and there is in fact a group of people who believe in it out there somewhere.

Your "movement" should rail against the massive increase in police power represented by the special Police Agency. See if you can start a few demonstrations and get the police to violently suppress them. Then have your stooges go out and criticize this massive overreach of government power.

You can also stage "accidents" for particularly troublesome opponents. Some whiny do-gooder activist opposes bailing you out? Just arrange for a "random psychopath" to show up at her rally with ten guns and start shooting. Have all your candidates get up on the stage and lament the tragedy.

Once the government is full of your stooges and your "movement" has taken hold, you go to the government pleading for an end to the violence and admitting that your funds are running low. You agree to sign a treaty where you stop funding criminal acts and stop killing police officers, in return for a bailout which will let you reorganize so you don't need to rely on crime anymore. You should also probably tell the government your corporation will collapse without this bailout, and fund a few corrupt economists to make models that predict economic disaster if your corporation fails. Your stooges will argue on your behalf, and the people in your "movement" will support you.

Once the treaty is signed, you keep on funding criminal acts. Just do it discreetly. Use your bailout money to set up some shell corporations that can launder the money for you. If anyone in the government complains that you aren't living up to your treaty, have your stooges shout them down, and if that doesn't work, discredit them with a scandal or bump them off. A "terrorist cell" or "foreign crime syndicate" are ways to accomplish the latter, while an ill-advised night with an "underage girl" could accomplish the former.

If your stooges and your "movement" somehow get discredited, well, no one knew it was you funding them. After all, campaign donations are completely anonymous in this corrupt cyberpunk world, right? So just run a new class of stooges and start a new "movement", and you'll be good.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I wish I could upvote this answer more than once. You are right on the spot $\endgroup$ – Pavel Janicek May 10 '16 at 9:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This seems like a great answers, for how to have set up a government take over 5 years ago. To have the power able to pull this off, the company probably doesn't need a bail out and if they do this is beyond a hail mary. Trying to spread their forces thin enough to pull this off while fighting a 3 front war would like tear the company apart. $\endgroup$ – Ringo_St R May 10 '16 at 13:54
1
$\begingroup$

You need to negation, make a deal with the government, point a that the war is going no where and that the government involvement is only make things worse. So propose that instead of fight you join forces and take out the other cyberpunk corporations. sweeten the deal with by sighing a secret contract that will give the government access to your secret cyber weapon and human enhancements.

If some one in the government that isn't cooperating with this deal, then that take him out and frame it on the other corporations. Hopefully this will encourage them to team up with you against the other corporations

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

While Torisuda's law is especially audacious and awesome, I am not sure if it would fit into the story my author want to tell. I think the most probable solution to my dilemma is Akshat Mahajan's suggestion in the comments.

Why not just kidnap a high-ranking government official and hold them to ransom?

Obviously, the government will still hate my evil corporation afterwards (as per usual), but will still be tempted to pay the bailout anyway (they don't like seeing their own officials get killed, even if they are willing to let police officers get massacred). The main benefit of this approach is that I'm not bound by any deal whatsoever. I still can commit crimes without making people upset about me "not living up the end of my deal"...because, let's be honest, the only thing I promised is that I freed the government official that I just kidnapped. Didn't say I wouldn't try to assassinate him later on.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ This sort of buisness wouldn't keep a deal anyway $\endgroup$ – Donald Hobson May 10 '16 at 15:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't think kidnapping people would work. The government has a strict we do not negotiate with terrorists policy. The whole reason for that policy is to prevent situations like this. Make it clear that you won't Exchange anything for hostages you'll just let them die. Unless you can have a a very specific person who is extremely important to the government then they're just going to ignore you are the deman $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure May 10 '16 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ Plus you gotta remember but the government is more than just one person person. Kidnapped the daughter of a popular senator. No problem his colleagues will just force him resign. $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure May 10 '16 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ Worse yet they might Ally with one of your enemy corporations against you. Now not only is the government not giving you money it is giving your enemies money to take you out $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure May 10 '16 at 18:09
1
$\begingroup$

Since you are the leader you could do a few things, you are the bad guys after all.

I have made some assumptions

1) you have some arsenal so you can attack if needed or defend.

2) You have some money but not enough to get you pass 3 months or so.

3)This 4-Man war is at a stalemate and all 4 side are rough matched and one wrong move means you lose

If any of these are wrong please correct me.


Threaten the Government directly - a physical attack on their person or property

You have already shown that you can cause a lot of damage to local property and you can say that you are going to "step it up" unless you get the money you need, depending on how tight your finances are this could just be a big bluff however you can follow it up with some form of speech that says you would rather not cause more damage then needed as you love this city etc etc.

[Optional] After you have given the threat back it up a little by either killing a few Government officials, the higher their rank and the closer they are to the top brass the better.

[Optional] Bomb the local police station. Depending on how strict the Government is enforcing this "Fight against Crime" policy and who enforces it, if the police enforce the policy a direct attack on them will show them how serious the organized crime is


Threaten the Government passively - Threaten giving up (It is explained below)

This is likely a path you won't go down but I feel I should mention it.

Tell the Government that due to some issue (Don't mention what the issues are) you can no longer fight a 4-man war and you will be conceding and giving up all your territory to another faction, if the Government is smart enough they should know that this will give one side a huge power boost, at that point you could mention you could fight a bit longer with a "Small" donation

Either one of two things can happen when doing this. The Governments backbone break and you can keep bleeding them dry of money (Free money, GOOD!, Can kill whoever you want, almost, MORE GOODs!), or you become a "dog" on a leash for the Government (Free Money, GOOD!, Can't kill people often, BAD!)


Ok so we have covered basic threatening there, all good? But what if this Government doesn't bow down to these threats I hear you say? That is a good question!

Stir up trouble

Force action between the 2 other factions and the Government and the goto the Government offering help (Bad guys turning good, how cliched), this doesn't mean you will help fight, far from it actually, tell the Government that you can talk to the other factions and get them to not attack you (for now) for a certain price of course. If they reject your gracious offer then let them fight after the dust settles pick off the weakened forces and absorb what they have left over increasing you earnings 3 fold, potentially.

If you help the Government then you can drip feed them false information about what the other 2 factions are saying and keep trying to bleed the Government dry. If you let the them all go to war then you need to be able to finish the survivor off quickly else they may recovery and bite back hard


There are other methods beside these of course, Blackmailing officials with their dirty secrets for instance, kidnapping beloved relatives, mass attacking local home/business, leak information to the public media about false crimes the Government has committed and covered up, the list goes on but the ones I have explained are the ones I would do in a situation like this.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent , thanks for cleaning up my answer, looks much better now $\endgroup$ – Mr.Burns May 10 '16 at 15:27
1
$\begingroup$

Blackmail!

Let some of your special troups find or create evidence of illegal activities of the politicians. They will give you your bailout in exchange for keeping that evidence confident.

If you are already doing criminal stuff, leverage it.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.