For the left and the right, major multinational companies are held up as the the ultimate expressions of free market competition. Their remarkable success vindicates the old idea that our modern societies are too large, too complex and difficult, to be subjected to a plan. And yet, as Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski argue, late capitalism already operates by central planning. The sheer economic weight of multinational, corporate giants means that the decision making of its owners decides the fate of virtually everyone else downstream of them, shaping the fortunes of much of the world. Not only is planning possible, we already have it. Except all the power is concentrated in the hands of a selfish few.
Against the dictatorship of capital, The People’s Republic of Walmart is a clarion call for a return to collective decision making in all matters economic. With the rise of new computational systems and new capacities for massive, collective enterprises, democratically organising the economic in the interest of human need rather than in the interests of profit is as great as it ever has been.