We’ve all seen a chart like it: logos of corporations connected by thin lines to other logos, linking dozens of subsidiaries to spin-offs of even larger companies.
But such diagrams — whether they attempt to illustrate the concentration of media ownership or linking music record companies to arms manufacturers — rarely involve Canada or the fossil fuel companies that dominate lobbying and other political efforts.
The Corporate Mapping Project, co-directed by Shannon Daub of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and William Carroll of the University of Victoria, aims to remedy that.
“We need to have a conversation about how these forms of concentrated power can be problematic for democratic processes in terms of decision-making and the citizenry collectively determining its future,” says Carroll, sociology professor at the University of Victoria.
“To the extent that you have very strong concentrations of corporate power in key sectors of the economy, it limits the boundaries of permissible discourse: what can be said, what can be discussed openly.”