Turkolmez: The ‘corporate fascism’ hiding behind the curtains

Emre Turkolmez, Op-Ed Contributor

Have you ever tried to find the differences between Apple’s new and older products? I’ll save you the time and provide a recent example. From the many articles written comparing the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, one can see that besides supposedly operating 25 percent faster at “top speed,” Apple has bothered to make only two changes to major aspects of the phone: price and weight. Ironically, neither decreased. Yes, your new, upgraded iPhone 8 is now heavier and has a glass, easily crackable back.

Clearly, today’s capitalism — if it was ever — is no longer bound by humane moral perimeters, because morality requires freedom of choice. Some may argue, “Well, no one actually tells you what to buy.” They may not tell us what to buy, but they sure do not mind using today’s social constructs to their advantage. According to some psychologists, there are three core psychological needs human beings require for satisfaction: autonomy (freely choosing to do things without anyone else’s control), competence (doing things that you initiate rather than what you are pressured into by others) and relatedness (the need for social connection and intimacy). Now consider how many Americans can feel “forced” to buy iPhones due to social constructs. Contacting people conveniently can become impossible when you do not have iMessage, and you cannot even initiate some social interactions without using any of the social media apps. Maintaining relationships and staying in touch with others — holding a prime social status, if you will — without Instagram or Snapchat feels impossible, so you basically cannot feel related if you do not depend on social media. Even if iPhone is not the requirement, a popular, up-to-date smartphone is. Do you feel less free yet?

Drawing from the novel, “The Morality of Capitalism: What Your Professors Won’t Tell You,” the following scenario may clarify the current problem with “capitalism” — which I now prefer to call corporate fascism. Suppose two people want to divide two differently sized apples before they can eat them. Person A aggressively snatches the bigger apple. Person B asks, “How could you be so selfish?” and without remorse, A answers, “If you were to grab one first, which one would you pick?” After B responds, “I would have picked the smaller apple,” A condescendingly says, “If that is the case, we both got what we wished for.”

Now apply this conundrum to an entire society. Some, like the second person in the example, put the needs of others before their own needs, or assign them equal importance. Others, however, consistently seek to profit from taking advantage of those people. If this system continues unrestrained, it should naturally lead to conflict between the two sides. But for that to occur, the wronged have to be aware of how others take advantage of them. I am asking the B’s in society: Become aware of how corporations have, and continue, to do so.

“Corporate fascism” is meant to refer to the self-indulgently structured group of major corporations throughout the world. Negotiation and decision-making seemingly occur solely under their interests, without care for anything but themselves. Everyday prices of products in technology, health and other major industries continue to increase often for a single, poorly justified motive: profit.

Corporations realize they have the luxury of raising prices, which in turn leads to inflation — the general increase in prices and the simultaneous fall in the purchasing value of money. Today, that word is — again, due to the structure of capitalism — absurdly justified to the extent that few even question its morality. How is making lives of people who live from paycheck to paycheck even harder warranted because of the economic problems of the country? How many times have we heard the excuse “the economy is bad” from bankers and politicians for whatever reason it may be, while these corporations are left untouched?

While this argument doesn’t become obsolete without statistics, the U.S. has floated around 2 to 5 percent inflation rates for decades. Who has the resources to do anything about this? The aforementioned group of people. Yet, in their eyes, why would they take action while inflation — even though it may cause them to pay more for other resources as well — profits them significantly.

The fact that corporate fascism pervades the U.S. remains true when even simply observing the way society functions: Addicted to what major corporations have to offer, even if it means living by the skin of their teeth. Without a moral authority restraining the moves of the ones involved in the system — corporate fascism — society will continue to move towards the path of misery without awareness.

Emre Turkolmez is a Weinberg sophomore. He can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.