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Majority-Share Dictator

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Owning 51% of a company's stock gives you complete power over that company.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Dragonmouth on May 25th 2012 at 8:57:20 AM
Last Edited By:
TheGreatConversation on Dec 20th 2017 at 10:24:24 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

In Real Life, owning the majority of a company does not give you absolute power over it. If you own 51% of shares, that still leaves 49% to other stockholders who are still partial owners of the company and retain certain rights—such as appointing a board of directors who make decisions for the company, including appointing a C.E.O. who makes decisions, etc. etc.

In fiction, however, owning controlling interest in a company endows you with godlike power over the organization, making your demands unquestionable and decisions final. So if a character wants to take complete control of a corporation—to change its allegiances, to amass personal wealth, to use it to take over the world, or just for the glory of it—all they need to do is acquire a slight majority of its stock. This majority is almost always stated to be 51% of the voting stock, but the trope still applies if the exact percent is unspecified but still grants the same power as having 100%.

This is a common tactic of Predatory Businesses. Often results in Tyrant Takes the Helm. Easily (and sometimes repeatedly) accomplished by members of the Fiction 500 and characters with Arbitrarily Large Bank Accounts. May be a resolution to Corporate Warfare. For the electoral equivalent, see Decided by One Vote.

Subtrope of Artistic License – Economics.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Seto Kaiba is given two percent of the shares to his stepfather's company Kaiba Corp, but has to use them to make 100 times their worth within a year's time. Seto does this by buying 51% of a company and threatening to close it and put everyone out of work unless the original owner buys it back for five times it value, which he agrees to for the sake of the employees. It's implied Seto repeats this with other companies to work up the needed money to please his stepfather. He later takes over Kaiba Corp itself with the same strategy.

    Comic Books 
  • In B.P.R.D.: The Black Flame, Landis Pope calmly walks into the boardroom of Zinco Corperation in a suit of black armour with frog monsters in tow, tells the members that he owns 51% of the company and fires them all with little explanation. He then gets the R&D department to experiment in controlling the frog monsters as part of his plan to gain control of Katha-Hem.
  • In the Simpsons comic, "To Heir is Homer", Homer ends up being bequeathed 51% of the shares in Duff Brewery by the will of the previous owner, Sam Duff, with Montgomery Burns controlling the other 49%. He ends up driving the company into the ground with idiotic decisions and is forced to sell the shares to Burns. Fortunately for Homer, it turns out Sam Duff wasn't actually dead (so that 51% had never been actually his to begin with), and Homer had the chance to enjoy something he didn't own for a while.
  • In Doctor Who (Titan) the Doctor buys 51% of the arc-antagonists ServeYouInc through rich friends and a Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit, but is quickly seduced by their evil.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Dilbert story arc, the company's stock falls to a penny a share, and Dogbert buys 51% of the company—which somehow makes him CEO. He proceeds to milk the company for everything it's worth and resign with a healthy fortune.

    Film 
  • Peter LaFleur in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story buys Globo Gym's controlling stake using the $5 million his team won. He is then able to totally remodel the gym while the original majority shareholder, White Goodman eats himself back to into obesity.
  • Averted in Iron Man. While Tony has the controlling share in Stark Industries, Obadiah points out that the board still has rights and was able to file an injunction against Tony when he shut down the company's weapons program.
  • In George Cukor's Let's Make Love, Welch buys the 51% of the theater company and when Dumas's going to be fired, he says to the director:
    Welch: Your 49 percent wants him out of the show but my 51 wants him in, so he stays in.
  • In Mr. Deeds, Chuck singlehandedly votes to sell off Blake Media, putting thousands of employees out of work.
  • In the Richie Rich movie, Richie gains control of his parents' company after their apparent deaths due to owning 51% of the company's stock.
  • In Scrooge (1951), Scrooge and Marley obtain their wealth by offering to cover the expenses of their owner's embezzlement scandal in return for the right to buy up to 51% of the company's shares. Naturally this gives them absolute power over the day-to-day business of the company.
  • At the start of Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne has regained control of Wayne Enterprises by buying controlling interest in it, which he uses to fire CEO William Earle and rehire Lucius Fox into that position.
    William Earle: What makes you think you can decide who's running Wayne Enterprises? Bruce Wayne: Well, the fact that I'm the owner. Earle: What are you talking about? The company went public a week ago. Wayne: And I bought most of the shares—through various charitable foundations and trusts and so forth. Look, it's all a bit technical, but the important thing is that my company's future is secure. [speaks slightly louder] Right, Mr. Fox? Lucius Fox: Right you are, Mister Wayne. [turns to Earle and takes off his glasses] Didn't you get the memo?
  • Mission: Impossible II has this as the plan of the Big Bad: to extort Corrupt Corporate Executive John C. McCloy into giving him enough money to buy 51% of his pharmaceutical company, whose stock prices will be sent through the roof when the synthetic "Chimera" virus starts killing people on the streets and the company starts production of the only available vaccine.
  • Upon his father's death in Vanilla Sky, David is given 51% control of his father's company, with the remaining 49% split equally between seven board members. A sub-plot in the film revolves around the board's efforts to assume control of David's share and put a stop to the essentially dictatorial control he enjoys over the company despite being an absent-minded Millionaire Playboy.

    Literature 
  • In Terry Pratchett's Making Money, Topsy Lavish owned 50% of the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork and managed to become Chairman because her dog, Mr. Fusspot, owned the crucial 1%. When she died she left all her shares to her dog and appointed Moist von Lipwig the dog's guardian, effectively making him chairman. The other members of the board want the dog dead; the Guild of Assassins have signalled to Moist von Lipwig that should the dog die, he is next . . .
  • A benign version of this takes place over the course of Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Searched. About a third of the way in, Hypatia Cade, a quadraplegic who has been turned into a brainship, is seen telling her stockbroker to invest some of her earnings into a cybernetics company that is apparently not very profitable. Way later, now owning a majority stake, she introduces herself as their new owner. She didn't want to do anything untoward, she just wanted them to build her a robot body so she could have a physical relationship with her human partner Alex.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Le comte de Monte Cristo, a French miniseries adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo, the count buys fifty one percent of a bank's shares so he can issue himself infinite letters of credit. Granted, he is good for it.
  • Leverage: In "The Snow Job", the team tricks the mark's Idle Rich son to sign over 51% of their company and then proceed to give back the homes that they had tricked people out of. The mark insists they will be able to get the company back, but the team tipped the police off to his violation of the RICO act earlier in the episode and he is arrested before he can do anything to stop the team dismantling the business.
  • This comes up in an episode of Dragon's Den where an potential entrepreneur has to choose between an investor who offers her 49% percent ownership of her product and another who offers 50%. She ends up choosing the latter.
  • In The Newsroom, Leona's niece and nephew make a bid for 51% of the company's stock, which is narrowly averted. Downplayed in that no one acts like the twins will have ultimate control in the organization—they're just Jerkasses who nobody wants in charge.
  • Iron Fist (2017): Upon returning to New York, Danny Rand reclaims 51% of his company and uses his new position to overrule any questionable decision made by the board.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun supplement Corporate Shadowfiles. This is specifically stated to be the case in the future Earth of the game. By standard corporate rules anyone who has more than 50% of the total voting shares can elect anyone they want to the board of directors. The board can then remove and replace corporate leaders, thus granting control of the company.

    Video Games 
  • Gex's mother buys 51 percent ownership in NASA using the money inherited from Gex's great-uncle, fires everyone, sells the rockets to third world countries, and turns Mission Control into "Space Monkeys", a Suck E. Cheese's featuring robotic dancing chimps wearing spacesuits.
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life the videogame: You have to find stock shares of the Very Big Corporation Of America totalling 51%; then you can take the building (a clip from "Crimson Permanant Assurance" plays).
  • The "Fruity Business" mission in Tropico 4 has you working to oust the CEO of Fruitas LTD, a company based on United Fruit Company, the one who gave us the term Banana Republic. To achieve this, El Presidente has to own 51% of the shares and he does this by flooding the market with fruit to lower the price of the shares enough to buy. To get the last 1%, Presidente even has to hire some discount Chinese ninjas to retrieve them from a heavily-guarded fortress in Tibet.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama
    • In the episode "Future Stock", That Guy manages to get controlling interest in Planet Express from Zoidberg. For a sandwich.
    • The plot of videogame starts when the Professor sells Planet Express to Mom, as it had been losing money for years due to mismanagement. The buyout gives Mom ownership of more than fifty percent of Earth, allowing her to become the supreme ruler of Earth. She then enslaves humanity and starts converting Earth into a giant warship.
  • Hey Arnold! The Movie: Big Bob Pataki initially goes along with Mr. Scheck's plan to bulldoze Arnold's neighborhood and replace it with a mall because he was promised that one of the stores contained therein would be his largest-ever beeper emporium. Later on, however, he reads the fine print of the contract and discovers that in exchange for said beeper emporium, Scheck gets 51% of the shares in his company. Cue one Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Pinky and the Brain episode "Snowball" has Bill Grates (actually the titular hamster in disguise) being the majority shareholder of the world, thus taking it over before Brain can, owning a 51% share.

    Real Life 
  • When NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. couldn't invoke this trope with his late great father's company (the now defunct Dale Earnhardt, Inc.) back in 2007, he ended up jumping ship to one of DEI's archrivals, Hendrick Motorsports.
  • In the Bitcoin community, there was a brouhaha when mining group Ghash.io managed to acquire 51% of the total mining power (after they had promised not to,) which could allow them to abuse the system in various ways such as piling on extra transaction fees. They were subject to repeated lynch-mob style DDOS attacks simply due to fears of the hypothetical possibility of abuse.


Feedback: 92 replies

May 25th 2012 at 9:15:24 AM

  • In Yu Gi Oh, as a child, Seto Kaiba was given ten million dollars on his birthday by his adopted father. He could spend that money how he pleased but had to repay ten times that amount within a year. Seto repays all the money within a day by buying 51% shares of a small company that cares for its employees and forcing the president to buy it back under threat of the company being shutdown and the employees jobless.

May 25th 2012 at 10:57:11 AM

This comes up in a few episodes of Futurama, particularly "Future Stock", in which Mom arranges a hostile takeover of the delivery company by means of this trope.

May 25th 2012 at 11:09:26 AM

  • In the 1951 adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge and Marley obtain their wealth by offering to cover the expenses of their owner's embezzlement scandal in return for the right to buy up to 51% of the company's shares. Naturally this gives them absolute power over the day-to-day business of the company.

May 25th 2012 at 11:33:20 AM

Good catch. Can't believe we don't have this yet.

May 25th 2012 at 2:33:33 PM

This comes up in an episode of Shark Tank where an potential entrepreneur had to choose between an investor who offered her 49% percent ownership of her product and another who offered 50%. She ended up choosing the latter.

May 25th 2012 at 2:38:25 PM

Absurdly Powerful Controlling Interest?

  • One mission in Tropico 4 has you working to take control of an enemy's company by buying 51% of the shares.

May 25th 2012 at 3:11:52 PM

In George Cukor's Let's Make Love, Welch buys the 51% of the theater company and when Dumas's going to be fired, he says to the director: "Your 49 percent wants him out of the show but my 51 wants him in, so he stays in."

May 25th 2012 at 5:26:56 PM

I'd prefer a title that is not a snowclone of a current events catch phrase. It just begs to date the trope title.

May 25th 2012 at 6:18:38 PM

Correction and expansion on the Yugioh example.

  • In Yu Gi Oh, Seto Kaiba is given two percent of the shares to his stepfather's company Kaiba Corp, but has to use them to make 100 times their worth within a year's time. Seto does this by buying 51% of a company and threatening to close it and put everyone out of work unless the original owner buys it back for five times it value, which he agrees to for the sake of the employees. It's implied Seto repeats this with other companies to work up the needed money to please his stepfather. He later takes over Kaiba Corp itself with the same strategy.

May 25th 2012 at 9:18:31 PM

Monty Pythons The Meaning Of Life the videogame: You have to find stock shares of the Very Big Corporation Of America totalling 51%; then you can take the building (a clip from "Crimson Permanant Assurance" plays).

May 25th 2012 at 10:10:35 PM

^^ the number 51 is critical for the trope.

May 25th 2012 at 10:50:21 PM

I don't know if the percentage is specifically stated, but at the end of Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne has acquired enough stock to take back control of his company and fire the CEO.

May 26th 2012 at 3:11:53 AM

Could this also apply to a political party's control of a governing body?

May 26th 2012 at 3:27:23 AM

Deleted - incorrect example.

May 26th 2012 at 9:41:25 PM

  • In the Futurama episode "Future Stock", That Guy manages to get controlling interest in Planet Express from Zoidberg. For a sandwich.
    Leela: Zoidberg owned 51% of the company?
    Hermes: The shares were worthless and he kept asking for toilet paper!

Jun 6th 2012 at 10:11:22 AM

Jun 6th 2012 at 1:39:16 PM

  • The French miniseries adaptation of The Count Of Monte Cristo has the count buying fifty one percent of a bank's shares so he could issue himself infinite letters of credit. Granted, he was good for it.

Jun 7th 2012 at 5:00:17 AM

In Terry Pratchett's Making Money - the combination of Royal Bank chairman Moist von Lipwig (50%) and the little doggie inherited from the previous Chairwoman (Mr Fusspot, who owns the strategically vital 1% and is therefore the most important dog in Ankh-Morpork) The other members of the board want the dog dead; the Guild of Assassins have signalled to Moist von Lipwig that should the dog die, he is next...

Jun 7th 2012 at 5:54:01 AM

I swear we have this somewhere. Maybe under an artistic liscense trope. I'll look.

May 22nd 2014 at 5:05:30 AM

  • Futurama
    • The plot of videogame starts when the Professor sells Planet Express to Mom, as it had been losing money for years due to mismanagement. The buyout gives Mom ownership of more than fifty percent of Earth, allowing her to become the supreme ruler of Earth. She then enslaves humanity and starts converting earth into a giant warship.

May 22nd 2014 at 6:40:08 AM

Regarding the Batman Begins mention earlier, Bruce Wayne doesn't mention the 51% but he does say he's bought controlling interest. He uses it to fire CEO William Earle and rehire Lucius Fox into that position.

William Earle: What makes you think you can decide who's running Wayne Enterprises?
Bruce Wayne: Well, the fact that I'm the owner.
Earle: What are you talking about? The company went public a week ago.
Wayne: And I bought most of the shares - through various charitable foundations, and trusts, and so forth. Look, it's all a bit technical, but the important thing is that my company's future is secure. [speaks slightly louder] Right, Mr. Fox?
Lucius Fox: Right you are, Mister Wayne. [turns to Earle and takes off his glasses] Didn't you get the memo?

May 22nd 2014 at 8:15:08 AM

  • In the The Simpsons comic, "To Heir is Homer", Homer ends up being bequeathed 51% of the shares in Duff Brewery by the will of the previous owner, Sam Duff, with Montgomery Burns controlling the other 49%. He ends up driving the company into the ground with idiotic decisions and is forced to sell the shares to Burns.

May 22nd 2014 at 9:25:41 PM

I'd be willing to launch this trope as soon if it hits 5 hats and help with the examples

In fact if the name needs a change I'd suggest Business Majority Rule (can be plural)

May 22nd 2014 at 11:02:56 PM

I thought we had this trope but a brief search didn't turn up anything.

Though is it vital for it to be 51%? If so, then the Dodgeball example needs to be removed or at least edited since the example doesn't state a percentage ownership.

May 22nd 2014 at 11:34:36 PM

51% is common, but if the idea is "majority = dominance" then the majority doesn't *have* to be 51%

May 22nd 2014 at 11:37:11 PM

But do think it's important that "owner who can do almost anything" someone derives from some sort of "I have the most stock" or something - so I would say that Inception doesn't apply when Saito buys the airline. In this case he or his company probably literally merges-takes over the other and now he's the owner and CEO of his new acquisition.

May 23rd 2014 at 4:01:06 AM

Deleted my Citizen Of The Galaxy example. I re-read the book and discovered that Thorby only controlled 45% of the company...the other 6% was owned by people who voted for him at a shareholders' meeting.

May 23rd 2014 at 5:39:07 AM

^^^ So are you going to put in the description that the exact 51% is not vital?

May 23rd 2014 at 8:28:54 AM

I don't recall the exact figure, but in The Ship Who Searched Tia (more accurately, her human agent — a brainship wouldn't fit in the meeting room) treats a controlling interest in a company as total control.

Jul 8th 2014 at 4:30:34 PM

I added it - guess Dragonmouth isn't here any more?

Jul 9th 2014 at 4:07:57 AM

Technically the owner doesn't control the company: they just get to choose who does. Which can be themselves.

Jul 9th 2014 at 6:58:58 AM

Jul 9th 2014 at 8:54:27 AM

^ Actually, that was Snowball wearing a Bill Gates suit.

Real Life:

  • When NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. couldn't invoke this trope with his late great father's company (the now defunct Dale Earnhardt, Inc.) back in 2007, he ended up jumping ship to one of DEI's archrivals: Hendrick Motorsports.

Jul 9th 2014 at 12:56:03 PM

Another Real Life:

  • In the Bitcoin community, there was a brouhaha when mining group Ghash.io managed to acquire 51% of the total mining power (after they had promised not to,) which could allow them to abuse the system in various ways such as piling on extra transaction fees. They were subject to repeated lynch-mob style DDOS attacks simply due to fears of the hypothetical possibility of abuse.

Jul 9th 2014 at 1:05:53 PM

  • In Civilization V, If you have more than half the delegates to the World Congress, you can effectively force any proposal you want. As host, you get to make a proposal every iteration, and the host gets additional votes. You can use this controlling power to make your religion the world religion and ideology the world ideology, for even more votes.

Aug 11th 2014 at 2:17:17 PM

Is the Up For Grabs, or is the OP still around?

Aug 11th 2014 at 3:06:05 PM

Can this be extended to 50,0000...1%?

Nov 28th 2014 at 1:12:59 AM

Tabletop Games

  • Shadowrun supplement Corporate Shadowfiles. This is specifically stated to be the case in the future Earth of the game. By standard corporate rules anyone who has more than 50% of the total voting shares can elect anyone they want to the board of directors. The board can then remove and replace corporate leaders, thus granting control of the company.

Apr 23rd 2015 at 12:46:50 PM

1) we need to publish this YKTTW.

2) Example-Live Action Film:

The second "Mission: Impossible'" film has this as the plan of the Big Bad: to extortionate Corrupt Corporate Executive John C. McCloy into giving him enough money to buy 51% of his pharmaceutical company, which will have its stock price going through the roof once the "Chimera" synthetic virus starts killing people on the streets, and the company starts production of the only available vaccine. McCloy immediately points out that 51% stock-holding would give the Big Bad control of his company, and is angry about it... but being face-to-face with a Trigger Happy maniac and his goons, he cannot do much more than that.

Apr 23rd 2015 at 1:11:40 PM

^ Yes.

That example needs some proofreading, though.

Also... who exactly is the CEO "pointing out" the 51% thing to? The way you've written it, it sounds like he's pointing it out to the Big Bad... which is kind of nonsensical, if the Big Bad is the one extorting him.

Here's my attempt:

Film:

I'd just cut the last part, since it's not necessary for the trope.

Apr 23rd 2015 at 1:30:52 PM

  • The Pinky And The Brain episode "Snowball" has Bill Grates (actually the titular hamster in disguise) being the majority shareholder of the world, thus taking it over before Brain can, owning a 51% share.

Apr 23rd 2015 at 2:34:41 PM

  • Upon his father's death in Vanilla Sky, David is given 51% control of his father's company, with the remaining 49% split equally between seven board members. A sub-plot in the film revolves around the board's efforts to assume control of David's share.

Apr 23rd 2015 at 2:56:17 PM

^ Does the film make it clear that his 51% gives him leave to do whatever he wants? Because just having a 51% share isn't the trope. The trope is that having 51% control means you control the company. And honestly, if one guy had a 51% share and seven other Corrupt Corporate Executives controlled the other 49%, it makes perfect sense to me that they would be scheming to get control of his share.

Apr 23rd 2015 at 6:50:14 PM

Who's in control of this ykttw?

Apr 24th 2015 at 9:51:21 AM

Last edit by Statzkeen... almost a year ago. It's Up For Grabs.

Apr 24th 2015 at 10:50:04 AM

^

Re: Solip Schism: Scene is kind of like this:

Big Bad: I want payment in stock options. Options for your company-the money you wanted to give me before? Should be about enough to buy 51% of Biocyte, at the current market prices. And the stock price... oh, well, it's going to rise real quick soon, because I unleashed a Typhoid Mary full of Chimera and the market for Bellerophon is going to be in high demand eventually...

Corrupt Corporate Executive: (growls out, rises as if to leave) There is no way in HELL I'm going to just up and hand you control over MY COMPAN...!

Big Bad: (Click Hello) Sit. Down.

Apr 24th 2015 at 11:02:05 AM

^ A'ight. Yeah, I think my write-up does it justice, but that's just based on what you've said since I haven't seen the film. It's pretty clear from the bad guy's dialogue that everyone in the room knows exactly what he's up to, so saying the CCE "points it out" is a little redundant.

Apr 24th 2015 at 11:55:58 AM

R.E. SolipSchism - if I remember correctly, the board in Vanilla Sky are eager to seize David's share of the company because they think he's incompetent, and he's presented as having essentially dictatorial control over the company despite being an absent-minded Millionaire Playboy.

Apr 24th 2015 at 12:49:59 PM

^ That last part needs to be included in the example then. The bit about him "having essentially dictatorial control over the company despite being an absent-minded Millionaire Playboy."

Apr 24th 2015 at 12:59:29 PM

^ Guess the guy is pointing it out to the audience, if nobody else.

Editing still works. Just felt like mentioning why I added the extra stuff.

May 14th 2015 at 10:10:32 PM

OK... this needs be published.

May 15th 2015 at 9:45:38 AM

The Making Money example isn't really correct. That's how Topsy Lavish controlled the bank, she left all her shares to the dog and appointed Moist as guardian of the little mutt. It's why "Mr. Fusspot" officially holds the title of Chairdog while Moist did all the actual work.

May 15th 2015 at 2:46:57 PM

Half The Shares All The Power doesn't works well because the funny detail of the trope is that whoever is boasting they have control of the company has more than half of the stock shares (and as many of these trope examples show, writers just believe that one percent over fifty is enough to be the "king of the world").

This is a severe example of Artistic License Economics / Hollywood Economics.

May 16th 2015 at 6:38:14 AM

I think the exception deserves a little explanation, as most of us don't know what the limitations are.

What can someone who owns 51% not do that someone who owns 100% can, and how does the minority fight back in real life?

Jun 1st 2015 at 8:24:48 AM

^^ Splitting hairs.

Jul 30th 2015 at 11:02:24 PM

About Half The Shares All The Power, well, it's technically inaccurate (it's half the shares + 1) — but that doesn't sound as cool.

At any rate, much of it would be Artistic License Economics anyway, because not only is total control not guaranteed above 50%, one specifically has to control enough of the voting shares to be able to influence decision-making at the board meetings.

Jul 30th 2015 at 11:52:35 PM

On that end, there's also some examples that need to be added.

Jul 31st 2015 at 2:17:58 AM

In Doctor Who Titan the Doctor buys 51% of the arc-antagonists ServeYouInc through rich friends and Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit, but promptly gets seduced by their evil.

Dec 29th 2015 at 9:58:35 AM

Think we need to publish this.

Dec 29th 2015 at 11:51:38 AM

What if it's 50.1%, 50.01% or 50.99%?

Dec 29th 2015 at 2:14:15 PM

^ Clear, Concise, Witty.

51% is much more clear and concise than 50.00000001% or whatever.

Dec 29th 2015 at 6:44:21 PM

^ I mean, do cases like those count here?

Dec 30th 2015 at 6:41:26 AM

^ As long as someone holds a very small majority over the rest of the shareholders and the plot treats it (even if for a moment) as if it gave him carte blanche to lord it over everybody else in the company, I think that is would count, yeah.

Dec 30th 2015 at 10:58:07 AM

It is sometimes referred to as "50% plus 1." Like, in some nonpartisan elections with multiple candidates whoever gets 50% of the vote plus 1 additional vote has won, but if no one candidate gets 50% plus 1 then there's a runoff election (also known as Two Round System) between the top two votegetters. This happened in the Chicago mayoral election of 2015 where incumbent Rahm Emanuel didn't get the requisite 50% plus 1 so there was a runoff election between him and the next highest votegetter, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, which was seen as an embarrassment to Emanuel and to President Obama who had campaigned for him..

Feb 22nd 2016 at 9:42:29 PM

So we launch this, or needs some kind of re-write?

May 19th 2016 at 10:04:00 AM

In fairness, there are still some examples that need to be added, but it's mostly ready.

May 19th 2016 at 1:58:01 PM

Film:

  • At the climax of Mission Impossible II the villain, a rogue IMF operative, reveals to Biocyte's CEO that his plan isn't to extort money in exchange for returning a stolen super-virus and its antidote as he had previously indicated, but rather to extort enough stock options from them to gain 51% of the shares and execute a hostile takeover.

Literature:

  • A benign version of this takes place over the course of Anne Mc Caffrey's The Ship Who Searched. About a third of the way in, Hypatia Cade, a quadraplegic who has been turned into a brainship, is seen telling her stockbroker to invest some of her earnings into a cybernetics company that is apparently not very profitable. Way later, now owning a majority stake, she introduces herself as their new owner. She didn't want to do anything untoward, she just wanted them to build her a robot body so she could have a physical relationship with her human partner Alex.

May 19th 2016 at 6:38:25 PM

Fifty Percent Plus One

Jul 11th 2017 at 7:13:33 PM

I thought we had this already, but I'm not sure where, if we actually do...

Aug 27th 2017 at 8:34:26 PM

^ No one's mentioned it

Aug 27th 2017 at 11:16:33 PM

Iron Fist 2017: Upon returning to New York, Danny Rand reclaims 51% of his company, and uses his new position to overrule any questionable decision made by the board.

Oct 27th 2017 at 7:43:20 AM

  • Under the 1987 Philippine constitution, if a foreigner wants to own property in the country, they must marry or have a partnership with a Filipino citizen, and even then, 60% will be owned by said Filipino citizen.

Oct 27th 2017 at 8:02:27 AM

In an episode of Wonder Woman, a time traveler demands 51% of a radium mine's shares in return for the secret of mining an extremely powerful energy source from it.

Oct 27th 2017 at 8:11:22 AM

^ That doesn't sound like an example of this trope.

Oct 27th 2017 at 12:28:07 PM

The name is, imo, way too general to work for this. It conveys nothing about the idea of company ownership.

Some suggestions for a new name include Stock Dictator, Business Ruler, or Ridiculous Corporate Ownership.

Nov 1st 2017 at 5:51:42 AM

I'd say, why not call it 51% Ownership Is Absolute Power? But then, the comment upthread about how the trope could equally apply to elections is valid and makes this alternative too prescriptive – indeed, the first assumption I made when I saw the title was that it was talking about vote results.

Dec 5th 2017 at 8:42:58 PM

The summary needs more meat.

Dec 20th 2017 at 6:47:55 PM

Just tried to launch. The working title "51% Is Absolute Power" is ineligible because it starts with a number and contains a special character—it would have to be "Fifty-One Percent Is Absolute Power," which is unwieldy.

Some concerns regarding name I've seen are:

  • It should reference the number 51, since that figure shows up so often.
  • It should be clear that the trope is stock-related, not electoral (assuming we don't want to incorporate that aspect).

My suggestion: Majority-Share Dictator. "Dictator" makes more sense than "Dictatorship" because the latter sounds more governmental, and the trope is usually about a specific person who seizes dictatorial power anyway. It's all right to use a term for a position of political power because that evokes the kind of ridiculous control the person is granted—and using "Share" specifies the financial context. I broke my own rule by not including 51, but given that we can't use a %, there's just no way to mention it specifically without making it unwieldy.

Anyway, I''l be launching in a day or two with that title, unless someone has a good reason not to. Gonna go ahead and incorporate the dangling examples.

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