Corporate Warfare
Taking "Cola Wars" a bit literally.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-11-27 14:29:00 sponsor: zarpaulus (last reply: 2012-12-03 17:07:29)

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A common feature of Mega Corps, both real and fictional, is the possession of private armies and the ability to wage war.

A staple of Cyberpunk media. Megacorporations typically are depicted as having "Company Security Forces" which are often as powerful as the military of a small nation. Besides the option for open warfare, they also heavily indulge in covert operations against their business rivals, ranging from espionage to sabotage and "wetwork", meaning assassinations of key personell.

In Real Life the East India Trading Companies officially conquered and outright governed large areas of India in the name of their home nations.

Compare Mob War. Contrast to One Nation Under Copyright where the corporations literally are nations. May involve an Army of Lawyers.

Anime and Manga
  • Spice and Wolf: During certain arcs (namely the devalued coins one), there is a trade company that has enough men to do the thug and garrote routine without problem by sheer force of numbers. The other Traders had a nice Intel network of the city maps and then Lawrence has Holo. Considering the setting the idea of using men for pressuring and muting the lone merchant they scammed is logical from their point of view. Karma on the other hand...

Comic Books
  • Parodied in the Cursed Earth storyline in Judge Dredd. Gengineered mascot creatures battle each other for supremacy long after the corporations they represent have vanished. (Last I heard these chapters could not be reprinted due to trademark infringement.)

Film
  • In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the antagonist faction was the corporate army of the Trade Federation, secretly controlled by Darth Sidious. In Episode II-III and The Clone Wars, the Separatist army was also created as an amalgamation of several corporate armies.
  • The English East India Company is featured in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Not only do they have a private fleet and army with a worldwide reach, they also control the Flying Dutchman. The Company wages war on all pirates, intent to wipe them out.
  • The premise of the original Rollerball was that corporations had taken over for governments and waged wars on each other, until they decided wars were too expensive to their bottom line and instead invented the game of Rollerball where the companies could battle it out in the arena.
  • Robocop 3 has Omni Consumer Products (and it's new shareholders the Kanemitsu Corporation) hire a band of mercenaries to force out the inhabitants of Old Detroit. To combat this, the regular folks form a underground resistance. Oh, just to make sure their investment pays off, Kanemitsu sends robot ninjas to aid their hired guns.
  • The film Matewan involved conflict between a coal company which controlled most of a West Virginia town's economy, and local miners endeavoring to form a union in the 1920s. The company had contracted with a Pinkerton-style mercenary force called the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, which sent a platoon of gunmen into the town to suppress the miners' strike. Truth in Television: this film was loosely based on true events that occurred in Matewan, West Virginia at that time. And suppression of unions through such means was common elsewhere in the U.S. in that era, often involving the actual Pinkertons.

Literature
  • In Jennifer Government, the corporate alliances come to the brink of all-out warfare, and step slightly over the line a few times before coming to their senses due to John Nike's influence.
  • In John Van Stry's "Children of Steel" series wars between corporations over mines in distant systems aren't uncommon. Freighter crews (comprised mainly of indentured animen) are trained in combat and ships are easily converted into troop transports.
  • In Eoin Colfer's The Supernaturalist the term "paralegal" has come to mean commandos with law degrees.

Tabletop RPG
  • Classic Traveller supplement The Traveller Adventure. When Imperial MegaCorps decide to get rough they engage in "tradewars". They send out military forces to attack the other corporation's offices, factories, starships and other property. This can involve killing the other company's workers and management.
  • A staple (And the main source of employment of the PCs) in Shadowrun.
  • Cyberpunk2020 is a prime example, featuring a full-scale Corporate War between two of the biggest megacorps as a world-changing event.
  • Mutant Chronicles had several Megacorps duking it out for supremacy in the solar system before and after everything really went to hell.

Video Games
  • Corporations are the equivalent of player guilds in EVE Online, and they're able to go to war with one another.
  • Dark Orbit's Excuse Plot is that three mining corporations don't get along and your job is to kill everyone not working for your corp.
  • The Mega Corps of Tachyon: The Fringe each maintain a private Space Navy, theoretically to protect their supply chains from piracy. They're not above using them in inter-company squabbles, however, and the central conflict of the game is between one corporation, GalSpan, and the Bora settlers.
  • The whole plot of Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere revolves around a war between two megacorporations, General Resource Ltd. and Neucom Inc.; although there are two more sides in it (peace-enforcing UN and the terrorist conspiracy Ouroboros), they are much smaller in scale and influence.
  • The background of Team Fortress 2 is that the playable characters are mercenaries hired by one of the two corporations that secretly run the world to fight over gravel pits because the CEOs are idiots with an epic case of Sibling Rivalry.
  • Syndicate has corps warring over control of the planet, mostly via small teams of highly skilled agents.
  • Civilization series: Certain Greed events that go under "Our corporation wants X resource under rival civilization's border, go and get it for massive cash. The other variant is that "our generals want X resource in enemy land, go get it old chap".
  • Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri: Morgan Industries, like all the other factions, could just build a army and conquer everyone else. Then again, Morgan could easily win through economic means as well.
    • According to the background information, Nwabudike Morgan (leader of Morgan Industries) managed to get his start by hiring mercenaries to take over some diamond mines. Morgan's Earthly businesses also included funding "mercenary forces, U.N. escorts... and creating Morgan SafeHaven Hotel Fortress chain 'for the discriminating executive'."

Web Comics
  • The protagonists of My Life At War were hired by Mega-Fun Foods Inc to defend some newly acquired farmland from some nobles who think they still own it.
  • The Maytec Consortium in S.S.D.D has its own army but when the Anarchists jumped their mineral claims on Mars they manipulated the CORE into fighting the war for them.
  • Background to one arc of Exterminatus Now is a conflict between cola companies.
  • Parodied in one arc of Newshounds where AOL attempted a military takeover of Starbucks, which failed as their troops were no match for stressed out baristas.
  • The R&D wars of Sluggy Freelance in the "4U City" Alternate Universe between a number of weapons manufacturers with strong ties to organized crime. In the prime universe Torg has been trying to take them down, but all his efforts have done is consolidate them into Hereti-Corp against everyone else.

Real Life
  • The Dutch and English East India Trading Companies both fielded private armies for fending off piracy and putting down native resistance to their colonial monopolies.
  • Part of the initial Opium War between England, United States and China, for more information look for the Opium Wars (in the other wiki click here) trade benefits and all. For more if I don't recall wrong it is around the 1839-1842 period. Needless to say when Us got to sign their treaty in 1844 it made the Brits condition for their Mega corp seem saint in comparison. Given it was a Gunboat Diplomacy (not to mention the Curb-Stomp Battle that it was) at some points but the list included (the side of the Brits not the US one):
    • Indemnification for burnt opium.
    • Give Hong Kong to the Brits.
    • Give 5 Chinese harbors.
    • Excepting the Brit citizens to submit to Chinese laws.
    • Tax exemption just up to 5% of customs to foreign merchandise.
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