Increasingly powerful and wealthy corporations are challenging the might of the state, though in most cases, states facilitate their rise to those powerful positions. In many cases, corporations also behave as a force multiplier for states. But what happens when a giant multinational corporation like Cairn Energy plans to take over the assets of a country- its airlines, shipping vessels and more? What causes a government to be forced into paying billions of dollars in a penalty to a gigantic telecom corporation like Vodafone? What methods did Union Carbide Corporation use, to try and escape the devastating consequences of its negligence in the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster?
Prof. Rahul Varman from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur whose various research interests include the political economy of corporations, globalisation and the working classes and small firm clusters explains how the power of corporations is still largely under the radar and why this is a problem. Prof. Varman uses recent examples to illustrate the various ways in which corporations dodge taxes and escape responsibility. He tells us about the problematic framing of the public versus private sector debate and how politicians, the judiciary, Parliament and media have created an environment where corporate accountability is completely thrown out of the window.