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Cyberpunk futures...

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1 week 6 days ago #69628 by Mister D
Mister D created the topic: Cyberpunk futures...


Measure Twice

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4 days 6 hours ago #69715 by Kristin Darken
Kristin Darken replied the topic: Cyberpunk futures...
Yep. I've pointed this out to numerous people in the past decade. They just tell me they don't see it. *shrugs* I'm not sure what they're looking at....

Fate guard you and grant you a Light to brighten your Way.

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4 days 6 hours ago #69717 by ShadowedSin
ShadowedSin replied the topic: Cyberpunk futures...
To be honest we are getting there.

"I can only conclude that I'm paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate."
-Commander Susan Ivanova, Earth Force, Babylon 5

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3 days 20 hours ago #69718 by Erianaiel
Erianaiel replied the topic: Cyberpunk futures...
And we are getting there more quickly than many people realise.
Companies that are more powerful than governments? Very close to check (some argue it already is checked)
Cyberspace? Check. Many times over. Of course cyberspace as a parallel reality we are not quite there yet, but with the rapid advances in VR and AR of the last half decade, we are getting near that too.
Datajack? Close to being a check. People are already experimenting with it, and now Neuralink aims to make it a reality within the next decade. Initially for helping people recover from nerve damage, but things like remote operation and internet linking are also stated medium term goals. Long term goal is full human computer integration to stave off a machine rebellion.
Companies running their private overt and covert armies? That's still a fantasy, and it will only become reality if at least two things happen: the largest corporations surpass nation states in power and resources (close to that) and resources become so constrained that corporations become existential threats to each other. Corporations using covert ops to remove unwelcome political powers, that arguably has been checked many decades ago (and ever since) but they simply bought a couple of politicians and CIA directors for this purpose (cheaper than maintaining their private covert ops armies). I guess this also points at a third requirement: governments must lose enough power that they no longer can physically threaten corporations and can not function as a corporate military department.

It will not be the cyberpunk dystopia we all like to read and watch, but corporate power growing(*) in parallel to the old structure of nation states seems plenty obvious now.
If it will be like the rise of the citizens to supplant the nobility then we are in for an interesting time, and not in a good way. That period saw the common people brutally suppressed by two powerful structures battling it out for dominance instead of being abused by 'merely' one.

(* similar to how in the renaisance the the civilian was growing in power and indepence in parallel to the feudal nobility)

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3 days 19 hours ago #69719 by Sir Lee
Sir Lee replied the topic: Cyberpunk futures...
On the "corporations being more powerful than governments..." well, it has happened in the past (check the East Indies Company, for instance) and it's happening again. Thing is, there's a difference between being more powerful than "a" government and being more powerful than "any" governments. It's easy to be more powerful than, say, Nauru; much harder being more powerful than, say, Russia.

One issue is money. There was much written about Apple (and then a couple others) breaking the trillion dollar mark in market valuation. Now, go look at *yearly budgets* of governments... I just read in the news that the U.S. Congress wanted to allocate TWO trillion for wage relief due to the coronavirus, but the Executive didn't want to spend so much, so they were willing to go down to a single trillion.

Keep that in perspective. The U.S. government was talking about spending *two Apples* in a single year, and that's just *one* item in its budget. There's lots of governments (and even subnational entities, such as states, provinces and major cities) that have yearly budgets in the trillion-dollar range. That's a huge difference in scale. Government is BIG. That' why so many people want to control it.

Don't call me "Shirley." You will surely make me surly.

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3 days 19 hours ago #69720 by Bek D Corbin
Bek D Corbin replied the topic: Cyberpunk futures...
Regarding Corporations having private armies, there are Mercenary companies that primarily act as deniable assets for the US, UK, France, possibly Germany, but will do the dirty for dang near anybody. I have little doubt that they've done jobs for Standard Oil or Chiquita Banana.

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3 days 15 hours ago - 3 days 15 hours ago #69722 by lighttech
lighttech replied the topic: Cyberpunk futures...

Bek D Corbin wrote: Regarding Corporations having private armies, there are Mercenary companies that primarily act as deniable assets for the US, UK, France, possibly Germany, but will do the dirty for dang near anybody. I have little doubt that they've done jobs for Standard Oil or Chiquita Banana.


If you want to know about corporations hiring private armies ON repeat ON USA soil

google Pinkerton and anti union

you should get hits back, on coal mining companies using WW1 belt feed machine guns ON the striking workers, and chasing them up into the hills and gunning whole hillsides for days trying to kill them!
the trees still have bullets in the and the ground covered in brass just under a layer of dirt to this day

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Last Edit: 3 days 15 hours ago by lighttech.
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3 days 15 hours ago #69723 by Erianaiel
Erianaiel replied the topic: Cyberpunk futures...
There is a lot of room between the world's largest economy and one of the smallest.
Also, pure spending power is not the only thing. Or even the important thing in this respect.
The ability of companies to bend government to its will is, however.
The USA has become corrupt enough that this is a real concern, and many have started arguing that this has become a fact, no longer a concern.
Many small and poor countries are at the mercy of the multinationals who can withdraw and crash their economy at any time, and demand they change their policies to benefit them.
The TPP and its translatlantic counterpart would have cemented corporations as being above the law of the participating countries (by having a handful of corporate appointed lawyers decide how many billions a country should pay out if their laws interfered with corporate profit making).
Philip Morris repeatedly forced countries to change its laws and anti-smoking campaigns in african countries.
The IOC and FIFA have forced countries to suspend the normal legal system and hand over the power to prosecute to them (where they decided which acts were illegal) around and for theduration of the events they sell the right to organise.
Greece was driven into bankruptcy and then forced to do a fire sale of its national assets. This was not the first time that banks, or more specficially the IMF (which IS a private organisation same as the USA Fed, not a global non-profit supranational). There is real concern that a concortium of the predatory banks can do the same to Italy (thereby tearing the EC apart and likely throwing the world in a depression that makes the current one feel like a slight slowdown, because in the process they will destroy most of Europes banks, including several national ones).
Even individual States in the USA are not exempt from this kind of corporate control and blackmail.

I'd conclude that while corporations are not on par with nations yet, they are not that far from the point where the biggest can, with banks backing them, tell all but the largest nations to shove off. Accidentally, cyberpunk typically assumes that both the USA and the EC must fall apart before this can happen. This is a reasonable requirement for such a future to happen.
Of course corruption in the USA has already led to an outsized corporate control over politics and politicians, beginning to approach the levels not seen since the robber barons. And the USA also is closer to tearing itself apart than it has been in centuries thanks to certain recklessly machiavellian powerplays since the early 1980s. Granted, the democratic institutions are still strong but the sad fact is that we now can conceive of a president who refuses to step down and call on civil and military supporters to keep him in office. Even if we know that this is unlikely in the extreme to succeed, and probably the one bridge even his private cult party will consider as the one river they cannot allow to be crossed.

I cannot say if private companies /currently/ have their own mercenary armies. It is certain that in the gilded age they had (and employed them with much violence). Private companies however /do/ get to use local and state police as their militarised enforcers with enthusiastic support from the government. The way that wallstreet got to use the NYPD to break up the peaceful Occupy Wallstreet protests comes to mind, as does the senseless violence inflicted on the Water Protectors by a variety of police forces. And yes, in that case there also were heavily armed hired guards involved who seemed even more intent on causing terror than in anything else (not that the police forces was not eager to use excessive force).

But ... I think that all this supports my impression that we are closer to a form of dystopian cyberpunk future than we like to believe.
Which would make it a uniquely different setting for Whately gen 3 should that ever come to pass :)
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3 days 14 hours ago #69725 by Bek D Corbin
Bek D Corbin replied the topic: Cyberpunk futures...

lighttech wrote:

Bek D Corbin wrote: Regarding Corporations having private armies, there are Mercenary companies that primarily act as deniable assets for the US, UK, France, possibly Germany, but will do the dirty for dang near anybody. I have little doubt that they've done jobs for Standard Oil or Chiquita Banana.


If you want to know about corporations hiring private armies ON repeat ON USA soil

google Pinkerton and anti union

you should get hits back, on coal mining companies using WW1 belt feed machine guns ON the striking workers, and chasing them up into the hills and gunning whole hillsides for days trying to kill them!
the trees still have bullets in the and the ground covered in brass just under a layer of dirt to this day


It's nice to know that someone remembers Ludlowe. WHY hasn't anyone made a movie about this?
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3 days 14 hours ago #69727 by Astrodragon
Astrodragon replied the topic: Cyberpunk futures...
Not woke enough :P

I love watching their innocent little faces smiling happily as they trip gaily down the garden path, before finding the pit with the rusty spikes.

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