This year I’ve noticed a change in the villains in science fiction films—from machines to multi-national corporations. Both the “Terminator” and “Matrix” series were built around the concept that computers had become intelligent and after a period of evolution of machine intelligence, the machines decided that they would be better off without frail flawed human beings. The films revolved around the wars between the machines and humanity.
However, two new films, both up for Best Picture this year—“Avatar” and “District 9”—are very different. Their villains are corporations.
In “Avatar” an alien planet is being mined by a corporation, and when the native Na’vi people resist being moved so the corporation can get at the rare mineral lying under their home tree, the company’s private military is called in to drive the people off.
“District 9” has a twist—aliens have landed on Earth but something is wrong with them. They are sickly and weak, and the government isolates them in a camp. After a time they need to be moved and “Multinational United,” evidently a group of multi-national corporations, is called in to do the job of relocation. Once again a private military organization does the job.
Personally I find this a much more likely future than war with intelligent machines. Already there are multinational corporations with more power and wealth than many nations, and the whole point of a multi-national as far as I can determine is to avoid being controlled by laws and regulations of any particular nation.
Benito Mussolini said, "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power," and that is what I foresee as humanity's near-term future.