Social Myth and the Transnational Élite Class

Graz – Review of WEF

This article has inspired me to look more into the work of George Sorel. The following quote from his work is absolutely fascinating:

“According to Sorel, much as primitive Christianity held to the myth of the second coming as the driving force of its struggle against the Roman empire, the general [workers’] strike can be viewed as a social myth fostering class consciousness among workers and reinforcing their revolutionary fervour.” (325)

Sorel would essentially spin Marxism on its head, as well as the ideological struggles of the 20th century. Revolutionary struggles rely heavily on social myths!

Graz argues that there are limits on the global power of transnational corporations, which are often loosely networked and diffuse – so unlike the caricature painted by global civil society that corporations have undue influence in the global system. At the same time that corporations want to expand globally through economic forums like at Davos, they must keep their forums closeted, secured and limited so as not to attract undue attention from global civil society actors. Such forums lack an institutional basis which is the necessary engine to the global power of other organizations like the UN or NATO. The club cannot be exclusive if its actors wish to engage with governments and IOs and therein lies the limits to its power.

Graz goes further to say that international political economy may not be the be-all-and-end-all in the investigation of global systemic changes, but that his findings may point to the necessity of adopting critical investigation of the historical structures of these forums. Foucault would probably call it “the archaeology of global hegemonic structures”. Who wields the true power and influence at successful economic forums?

Forums can divorce transnational business from global societal power and influence. However, there is little distinction between private and public authority, especially where these forums create the delegation of public tasks to private experts and corporate leaders who are not accountable to domestic constituencies.