->''"The hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain."''
-->-- '''UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte'''

In this setting, ''all'' businessmen are some variation of the CorruptCorporateExecutive: not merely greedy and amoral, but actively ''evil''. For them the swindling of customers, abuse of employees, and use of violence to eliminate problems simply comes with the job - or are nice fringe benefits. In this setting the HonestCorporateExecutive is merely a VillainWithGoodPublicity.

To a certain extent this is TruthInTelevision as greed and amorality are InherentInTheSystem: the purpose of companies is to generate profits, and the purpose of management is to maximise them. ''However'', this does not ''always'' translate into sadism, violence, and crime. This is because when a company is not:

* The sole company operating in that field (i.e. it does not possesses a 'monopoly')
* Able to forge effective working relationships with the other companies operating in its field (to form 'cartels' which possess an 'oligopoly')
* Able to influence or blackmail the government, press, or organised crime

...it can sometimes be ''bad'' for a company to engage in criminal activity - or even too much ''law-abiding'' chicanery and ruthlessness. Indeed, on several occasions perfectly legal exploitation and brutality has resulted in government intervention (as in [[TheGildedAge the USA's 'Gilded Age']] to stave off [[RedScare 'The Red Hydra']]).

For puppy-kicking baby-eating sociopaths who openly flout the law in an otherwise perfectly nice and functional society, this trope can overlap with ArtisticLicenseEconomics.

Wealthy entrepreneurs are the only type of 'executive' who do not always fall into this trope. These people are often depicted as independently wealthy [[SelfMadeMan Self Made Men]] who have wits and spirit enough to carve out their empires, and if not, they at least are in charge and take responsibility of them, tied to them in a way a king may be to his realm. Corporate executives, on the other hand, climb in an already established hierarchy, the leadership (thus also responsibility for any wrongdoing) of which is decentralised into some shadowy group, like "the board of directors"; going back to our feudal analogy, they would have more in common with [[EvilChancellor court intriguers]].

This trope is practically ubiquitous in {{Cyberpunk}} works.

Compare CapitalismIsBad.

[[AC: ComicBooks]]
* In Franchise/TheDCU, everyone except [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Bruce Wayne]], and his CEO Lucius Fox, is villainous, from Lex Luthor to Morgan Edge, especially now that Ted Kord is dead.
** Before the ComicBook/{{Crisis|on Infinite Earths}}, Morgan Edge was [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold arrogant and obnoxious, but certainly not evil]], and he could even show a surprisingly decent side from time to time (refusing to cross a union's picket line, for instance). An [[EvilTwin evil clone]] once tried to frame him as being a minion of {{ComicBook/Darkseid}}, but Edge was proven innocent. ComicBook/PostCrisis, the affiliation with Darkseid was declared ''real,'' and he is now really and truly evil.
** [[ComicBook/GreenArrow Oliver Queen]] was also a subversion, but has gotten out of the game.
** Maxwell Lord, the CEO and founder of ''Comicbook/JusticeLeagueInternational'', used to be a decent guy, albeit arrogant, but he's been retconned into a villain for no apparent reason.
** Steve Dayton (aka [[Comicbook/DoomPatrol Mento]]) is also a subversion. He's a genius with enough wealth to make Bruce Wayne look middle class. His periods as a bad guy have nothing to do with his money and everything to do with the fact that he has some nasty mental illness issues.
* This is completely averted by [[WesternAnimation/DuckTales Scrooge McDuck]], of course. Is he a stern, demanding taskmaster? Sure. Is he a hard bargainer who doesn't suffer fools easily? You bet. Is he always ready to exploit whatever openings an opponent might leave him? Absolutely. Is he dishonest, corrupt, or evil like his EvilCounterpart Flintheart Glomgold? Not a chance.
* Over at Creator/{{Marvel|Comics}}, ComicBook/NormanOsborn, aka [[SuperpoweredEvilSide the Green Goblin]], is the poster child for this trope, along with many of ComicBook/IronMan's enemies, like Justin Hammer and Obadiah Stane.

[[AC: FanFic]]
* Subverted to a great extent in the [[FanFic/UltimateSleepwalker Earth]]-[[FanFic/UltimateSpiderWoman 2706]] verse. In both the ''Ultimate Sleepwalker'' and ''Ultimate Spider-Woman'' series, {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s have expressed their hatred of their honest competitors. According to corrupt executives like Norman Osborn, the Honest Corporate Executives (people like [[IronMan Tony Stark]], [[ComicBook/CaptainBritain Brian Braddock]], [[ComicBook/XMen Warren Worthington]] and [[Comicbook/MoonKnight Marc Spector]]) are cowards who are holding the rest of them back. Guys like Stark and Worthington obviously enjoy the wealth and power that comes with their work, but at the end of the day they're really only interested in running their businesses. People like Osborn and Justin Hammer, on the other hand, actively believe that their wealth and power give them the right to lord over the lower classes and do whatever they want to them.

[[AC: {{Film}}]]
* J.K. Robertson in the movie ''Film/TimeChasers'' was not at all deterred from proceeding on the Time Transport project, even after its inventor returned from a second visit to the future to reveal that the future had changed to one of anarchy as a result of the Time Transport being used as a weapon. In fact, he has the inventor and his love interest arrested, and later pursues them into the past, killing the love interest and murdering his own reluctant companion.
* Without exception, every single person on the corporate side of UBS in ''Film/{{Network}}'' is an amoral, money-grubbing monster. The film ends with [[spoiler:the main character being shot by a hitman hired by UBS, the voiceover stating that he was killed [[ScrewedByTheNetwork due to his show's failing ratings]]]].
* ''Film/TronLegacy'' had an infamous scene with the Encom boardroom, where they're boasting about their latest and greatest operating system. Alan Bradley, the only [[SubvertedTrope subversion]] in the room, points out that they're charging schools and non-profits a fortune - what are the customers getting in return? The idiot CEO shrugs and says "it has a 12 on the box..." This is meant to demonstrate that the company has fallen from its innovative times under Walter Gibbs and Flynn Sr. while cementing sympathy for Sam's [[PlayfulHacker annual]] [[LikeFatherLikeSon practical joke]].
* Pretty much every executive at Clamp Enterprises in ''Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch'' is a complete amoral a-hole except, ironically, the C.E.O. Daniel Clamp who's aloof but otherwise a nice guy. He does do one really douchy thing near the end, but it's to Forster [[KickTheSonOfABitch who's a jerk anyways.]]

* ''Literature/JenniferGovernment'' has two types of executives: bastards and John Nike, whose idea of viral marketing is murdering customers wearing Nike shoes, so that they can work an 'edgy' angle.
* ''Market Forces'' by Creator/RichardMorgan: {{Mega Corp}}s effectively rule the world, [[WarForFunAndProfit funding wars, rebellions, and dictators for profit]]. There isn't even a mention of a middle class in the book, and the protagonist who starts off derisive of the whole "cowboy culture" of the CorruptCorporateExecutive becomes more corrupt and violent as the book goes on.
* Creator/PeterFHamilton deliberately set out to invert this trope with Julia Evans, the young idealistic CEO of Event Horizon in his trilogy about psychic detective Greg Mandel. She keeps most of her industry in Britain to provide work and a strong economy (of course, this also increases Event Horizon's power and influence within Britain) and quashes [[TheWorldIsNotReady potentially harmful technologies]] rather than make a profit from them.
* ''Literature/TheDogsOfWar'' by Creator/FrederickForsyth is pretty anvilistic about the role business interests played in various bloody African wars. The bitterness the mercenary protagonist feels over this is a major reason behind his FaceHeelTurn at the end. It's also at least partly TruthInTelevision, as the plot is an allusion to the role that European mining interests played in the Katanga Rebellion in the Congo.
* In ''Literature/TheGoneAwayWorld'', just about every single executive of the two major corporations in the story - the All Asian Investment & Progressive Banking Group and the Jorgmund Corporation - is a [[JerkAss vile]], [[LackOfEmpathy heartless]] [[ObstructiveBureaucrat bureaucratic]] scumbucket. In the case of the former, they're willing to force a loan on a country that never asked for it and then invade said country when it can't repay; in the case of the latter, they're willing [[spoiler: to kidnap and lobotomize thousands of people just to fuel the machines that feed the Jorgmund pipeline.]] The main character even provides a system for categorizing these "Pencilnecks," analyzing just how well they've been able to dismantle their own humanity and individuality in pursuit of success. For good measure, a large number of the Jorgmund executives are actually [[spoiler:members of an ancient cult of order-worshiping ninjas]].
* "It is difficult to get a man to understand something," said Upton Sinclair, "when his salary depends upon his ''not'' understanding it."
* Averted, but not Inverted, in ''Literature/AtlasShrugged''; there are plenty of CorruptCorporateExecutive types (usually [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections sucking up to their best buddy in government]]), but the protagonists are generally of the SelfMadeMan variety of entrepreneur, and there are plenty of non-businessperson protagonists (Richard Halley being a musician, Hugh Akston being a professor of philosophy, etc.).
* ThePhantomOfTheOpera: In the original book by Gaston Leroux, this is the reason Erik (the eponymous phantom) could maintain his reign of terror: In Parisian society, [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections itís not what you do, itís who you know]]. Therefore the executives at the Opera and the police are not only corrupt, but {{Stupid Boss}}es who donít care about how to do their job better but only how to practice politics and be discreet about all their problems, making them the perfect victims of BlackMail.
* Everybody, without exception, in a Creator/JasperFforde novel. Occasionally he'll drop in a Seemingly Very Nice Corporate Executive, but you only have to read two or three of his books before you no longer fall for it. ''Every'' corporate executive is evil, and worse, so is every corporate ''employee''.

[[AC: LiveActionTV]]
* ''Series/BloodOverWater'' featured Clyde Spendelworth as a CorruptCorporateExecutive. In the novel remake, it's revealed that he was only intending to use the company he inherited the CEO position over as a front for his illegal activities. However, it is revealed that his predecessor was unable to make a very large profit. So the company had to choose between a corrupt CEO or an inept CEO.
* Creator/JossWhedon has no great love of corporations, either:
** The most benevolent big business seen in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' was Doublemeat Palace, and they were concealing something (albeit something relatively innocuous) from their customers. The demise of the reptile demon Mokita led to bankruptcies and suicides among a few corporate executives as his magic failed them.
** ''Series/{{Angel}}'', of course, revolved around Wolfram and Hart's villainy (though they were lawyers instead of industrialists) and regularly implied awful things about the firm's various corporate clients. (He even described season 5 as going from a small business to the morally gray environment of the corporate world.)
** And then there's ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' and the Blue Sun Corporation... Interesting in that, due to the notoriously short run of ''Firefly'', we were given minimal info on Blue Sun, other than a small tidbit on the Commentary, and the fact that River didn't like them. But everyone ''knows'' [[ForegoneConclusion they weren't going to be nice people...]]
** And then there's the ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'' with Rossum Corp. who provide daily MindRape services for the rich and powerful, and that's the ''least'' corrupt thing they do.
* The show ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' pretty much runs on this trope. Half the episodes are about some evil executive(s) or entire corporations abusing their power. What's sad is that the show's staff has pointed out that many of their 'ridiculous' plots about corporate evil were in fact drawn from real life, only ''toned down''.

[[AC: NewspaperComics]]
* ''Comicstrip/{{Dilbert}}'', of course, although its viewpoint might be better described [[HumansAreBastards There Are No Good People]]. One of the strip reprint books was titled ''I'm Not Anti-Business, I'm Anti-Idiot''.
* In the world of ''ComicStrip/{{Retail}}'', nearly everybody at the level of store manager or higher is portrayed as [[PointyHairedBoss hopelessly incompetent]], [[BecomingTheMask completely delusional]], [[JerkAss a total jerk]], or all three.

[[AC: TabletopGames]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' lives and breathes this trope, since the player characters are the tools the corrupt and supremely powerful {{Mega Corp}}s use against each other.
** Deconstructed with Horizon, a media and [=PR=] MegaCorp based out of Los Angeles. Ever since bursting onto the scene in the wake of Crash 2.0, Horizon has made its name as "the personable company". Employees are actively encouraged to be involved in community events, sports teams, and other personal projects. They are given handsome benefits and free time. The company's business practices are downright respectable compared to the strip mining and law shredding of other major {{MegaCorp}}s. The online shadow community (which provides running commentary throughout the sourcebooks) has worked themselves into apoplectic fits trying to find ''some'' dirt on Horizon and coming up empty. ''Any'' dirt. There is absolutely nothing anywhere to suggest that Horizon is anything other than a personable, respectable company, but that fact is driving Shadowland to distraction, since there ''has'' to be something underhanded about them, and the fact that they can't find it is downright creepy. After a Shadowland hacker quit his job there and reported on his observations, Horizon's CEO emailed him to thank him for his service, offer him his job back anytime he'd like it, provide up-front answers on various questions the hacker had been looking into, and show his willingness to help him and "his friends" out however he can in the future. Creepy.
** The Horizon tie-in fiction in the 20th Anniversary Version of the 4th edition core rules does show that Gary Cline, Horizon's CEO, is very likely a sociopath. Seeing as how when a former executive from a rival megacorporation burst into his office intending to kill Cline for ruining his career by getting the better of him in a business deal and took Cline's executive assistant hostage, Gary Cline's response was... to tell his assistant that Gary had been upset with the way his assistant had fumbled a recent project anyway, that he had [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness outlived his usefulness]], and Cline then killed his secretary himself. He then congratulated the gunman on his assertiveness and planning skills, and offered him a job with Horizon. The story vignette ends with the guy asking Cline if Horizon has a good vacation plan. And the professional-salesman's smile never left Gary's face the entire time.
** And then there is the Columbian Subterfuge chapter, where after you get many prisoners out of an Aztlan POW Camp, it turns out Agent 211983 had executed the prisoners and make an [[MoralEventHorizon extremely]] [[StrawmanNewsMedia sensationalist version]] of the event. While the atrocities without tampering will be sufficient to incriminate Aztlan, this would had given Shadowland (now Jackpoint) some fuel to discredit Horizon with. And then there was the friendly fire incident... But given how WarIsHell...
** ''Storm Front'' has made it explicitly plain that Horizon actually is no Deconstruction at all -- they were merely AffablyEvil VillainsWithGoodPublicity all along. At least the other Mega Corps in the setting acknowledge their amorality to disillusion their reputation among runners and the general public...

[[AC: VideoGames]]
* ''VideoGame/HarryTheHandsomeExecutive'' is a heroic exception.
* ''{{VideoGame/Syndicate}}''. There ''may'' have been aversions during the corporations' initial rise to power over the governments, but after [[TheSyndicate the syndicates]] took over the corporations using such ''[[SarcasmMode upstanding]]'' methods as bribery and murder.
* Zigzagged all over ''Franchise/StreetFighter'', ''specially'' ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'':
** Seth plays the trope completely straight as the CEO of S.I.N, the (former) weapons division of Shadaloo. He "indulges" in cloning, blackmailing, experimenting on himself, and the highly lethal BLECE project, which relies on ki to create {{SuperSoldier}}s.
** Averted with Ken Masters and Hakan, who apart of being powerful fighters are CEO's of their own companies and are firmly on the side of good.
* The Letheian Mining Corporation from ''VideoGame/{{Starbound}}''. They are making a killing on erchius, a top-line spaceship fuel, despite knowing fully that reckless mining of the stuff may awaken eldritch abominations that kill everyone and/or mutate them into horrible pink blobs. When this happens at a facility, they initiate "Procedure Alpha1a: Awakening", which is to lock down the place, declare every employee involved dead, write the place off as a loss, and just move on with business.

[[AC: WebComics]]
* In ''Webcomic/ArthurKingOfTimeAndSpace'', Morguase justifies being a CorruptCorporateExecutive because that's simply how business works these days. While Arthur [[http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com/0997.htm disagrees with her logic]], he doesn't disagree with her premise.