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Corporate Conspiracy

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Some, if not most corporations in fiction are Obviously Evil. Others might seem benevolent but are actually engaged in unethical business practices. However, some corporations go the extra mile. Not content with mere corruption, they engage in a wide-reaching, secret Evil Plan to achieve their goals — usually, but not always simple greed. This is the Corporate Conspiracy.

What exactly this plot entails varies. The conspiracy may be selling armaments to incite War for Fun and Profit, they may be manipulating property value to gentrify the neighborhood and Kill the Poor, they may be deliberately spreading diseases while selling the cure/solution to the masses, or be Playing with Syringes to make Super Soldiers and Take Over the World... what counts is that they're evil (again, with exceptions) and they're secret.

A subtrope of The Conspiracy and Capitalism Is Bad. May be connected to a Government Conspiracy if the writer wants to invoke the "Military-Industrial Complex". For the blue-collar version, see Milkman Conspiracy. See also Corrupt Corporate Executive, Evil, Inc.. Overlaps with Incompetence, Inc. if the conspiracy backfires in an Epic Fail or Hoist by Their Own Petard.

Examples of works/series featuring conspiracies of more than one type:

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    Alternate Reality Games 
  • Omega Mart: Dramcorp, whose lust for profits and business puts very real souls and reality at risk. They, of course, hide these from their In-Universe customers. They also have ambitions of world dominance. In particular, they aim to form a cult that worships the corporation and buys everything they produce. Considering the fact they are an extremely branched Mega-Corp (they manufacture from engines to dairy an everything in-between), they don't seem that far away from their goal.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • The Stargate-verse/Star Trek crossover “Destiny and Voyager: Crossroads” features Voyager discovering a wormhole that leads into the galaxy where Destiny is currently travelling through, beginning a complex plan that allows both crews to get back to their respective Earths. When Destiny takes both crews back to the Star Trek Earth, Doctor Nicholas Rush investigates the location of the Ancient outpost found in Antarctica in his universe of origin and finds an equivalent outpost in the Trek universe, but this version has been stripped of most of its technology. Since the general population of this Earth has no knowledge of the Ancients, Rush concludes that at some point in the past of this Earth the outpost was discovered by an unknown corporation that sold the technology and disguised it as a human creation, others specifically citing humanity’s creation of the transporter as an example of Ancient technology being passed as human.
  • AbraxasVerse: Apex Cybernetics, similarly to in Godzilla vs. Kong. They're collaborating with Monarch to build a Titan mech, with the alleged aim of giving Godzilla and the other Protector Titans an extra ally on humanity's behalf in defence of the Earth. What Apex aren't telling anyone is that they're secretly building their own bigger, improved mech (Mechagodzilla) this entire time, and they're implicitly planning to take control of both mechs and use them to make war against the Titans both good and bad.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman Returns: Max Shreck is a powerful and respected businessman, owns multiple enterprises including department stores and construction companies, and wants to use his electric company to build a power plant in Gotham. The thing is, the power plant is actually meant to steal energy from the citizens of Gotham, leading to the rest of the movie's conflict as Shreck attempts to murder Selina Kyle for knowing too much (turning her into Catwoman) and tries to make The Penguin mayor so that Penguin can use his position to approve Shreck's plan.
  • Chinatown: Noah Cross, already the richest man in Los Angeles, renders vast farmlands arid by illegally dumping their irrigation water into the ocean, thus causing their prices to plummet to next to nothing. After forcing the farmers to sell their land to his cabal of corrupt business partners, Cross intends to develop his newly acquired land by irrigating it with the water supply diverted from the city itself, through a new aqueduct and reservoir built from $8 million of taxpayer money. His only gain from this elaborate swindle is "The future!"
  • Cube 2: Hypercube: The Izon organization, which is in cahoots with the government and constructs mazes with Alien Geometries for its own unexplained reasons.
  • Escape 2000: The General Construction Corporation has a Robocop-esque plan to turn a crime-ridden Bronx into a new planned community... which would be good, except they hire a Psycho for Hire and a bunch of silver-suited stormtroopers to forcibly evacuate the Bronx, killing anyone who tries to resist and/or investigate their crimes. And as it turns out, there's an additional conspiracy within the corporation by the vice-president to usurp the company from his boss.
  • The Fugitive: Dr. Richard Kimble discovers that the pharmaceutical company Devlin-MacGregor is producing a heart treatment drug, Provasic, which causes liver damage and that Kimble's friend Dr. Charles Nichols not only deliberately switched medical samples to suppress this truth, but also arranged the attack against him and his wife Helen.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: The corporate human antagonists, Apex Cybernetics, have been all but deliberately provoking Godzilla's recent string of attacks on population centers with Apex bases (including Pensacola, Florida and lastly Hong Kong), all part of an Engineered Heroics gambit to make Godzilla look bad before they set Mechagodzilla — a cybernetic Titan they've been building in secret within their Hong Kong base — on Godzilla. They also have an evidently-secret underground, trans-Pacific maglev tunnel network for transporting resources between their bases around the world.
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch: Conal Cochran, who runs the Silver Shamrock Novelties company, plans to send out a signal on Halloween night via television that will kill every child wearing a Silver Shamrock mask as a Human Sacrifice for the Celtic Gods. And he succeeds.
  • I, Frankenstein: The Wessex Institute presents itself as a medical research company that studies life-extending therapies, but its CEO is secretly a powerful Demon Prince from Hell, who's using the company as a front to develop a means of resurrecting the recently dead so he can bring an army of demons to earth by having them possess reanimated human corpses.
  • The International: The IIBC is at the center of one of these, funding wars in the third world as a means of profiting of the debt. They even have Professional Killers on their payroll. Sadly based on a real institution, the BBCI — see the Real Life folder below.
  • A running staple of the villains in the James Bond films. Most of them are very rich but sociopathic Corrupt Corporate Executives willing to cut corners and seek profits at the expense of others.
    • SPECTRE's head and 007's Arch-Enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld runs a large criminal empire whose resources rival those of the superpowers, and is behind many of the evil conspiracies in the Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Daniel Craig eras. Some of the front organizations SPECTRE has operated from include International Brotherhood for the Assistance of Stateless Persons, Osato Chemicals, Greene Planet, Joint Intelligence Service, among others. SPECTRE even lends its mercenary services to both sides of the Cold War as part of its long-term strategy to weaken NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
      • Dr. No: The titular villain sabotages American nuclear tests on behalf of an unnamed country who has paid SPECTRE. He even offered his services to both NATO and the Warsaw Pact, but was rebuffed by both sides and decided to join SPECTRE in revenge.
      • Thunderball: During the SPECTRE board meeting, one member reports on the French paying 3 million francs for killing a defector to Russia, while another reports on SPECTRE smuggling in Red Chinese drugs into the United States.
      • You Only Live Twice: SPECTRE has been paid by an unnamed country to instigate World War III. Mr. Osato, president of Osato Chemicals, is secretly allied with SPECTRE and allows them to use his company as a front for their Evil Plan.
      • Diamonds Are Forever: Blofeld kidnaps and impersonates the reclusive billionaire Willard Whyte, using his business empire and space research facility to build and launch a Kill Sat to destroy nuclear weapons in China, the Soviet Union and the United States, then propose "an international auction, with nuclear supremacy going to the highest bidder."
      • Casino Royale (2006): Le Chiffre is a terrorist banker affiliated with Quantum and a mysterious man named Mr. White. Quantum has financed criminal groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Lord's Resistance Army, and has profited from the activities it sponsors, such as when they shorted airline stocks after the 9/11 attacks. Other known Quantum members included a high-ranking advisor to the British Prime Minister, an ex-KGB spy turned mining executive, a former Mossad agent turned telecom tycoon, a Bolivian army general, and a CIA section chief for South America.
      • Quantum of Solace: Dominic Greene, the president of Greene Planet, has known links to Quantum and is plotting to seize control of Bolivia's water supply and create an artificial drought by having its government overthrown.
      • The titular criminal organization is up to its shenanigans again in Spectre, as they're the ones who have bankrolled a joint intelligence-sharing program between the world's leading spy agencies. With the backdoor access they'll have, it would enable them to permanently stay ahead of anyone who is trying to investigate them. Quantum is also revealed to be a sub-unit of SPECTRE, as they were the ones who financed Raoul Silva's cyber-criminal activities in Skyfall. By this time, SPECTRE has morphed into an Illuminati-esque organization whose tentacles has penetrated the upper echelons of companies, governments, and even not-for-profits.
    • The titular Goldfinger, a British jeweler and head of Auric Enterprises who allies with some Dirty Commies to create "economic chaos in the West" by irradiating Fort Knox's gold, thus allowing him to corner the gold market and have the value of his holdings go up even more.
    • The Spy Who Loved Me: Karl Stromberg, head of the Stromberg Shipping Line, hijacks nuclear submarines in a bid to start World War III and restart civilization in an underwater city.
    • Moonraker: Hugo Drax, owner of the aerospace company Drax Industries, is secretly plotting to use Deadly Gas to Kill All Humans so that he can restart civilization with those human beings he regards as "superior".
    • A View to a Kill: Microchip tycoon Max Zorin, owner of Zorin Industries and secretly the only survivor of a Nazi Super Breeding Program, wants to destroy Silicon Valley with a massive man-made earthquake, causing the death of millions just so he can corner the microchip market.
    • Tomorrow Never Dies: Corrupt media mogul Elliot Carver, owner of the Carver Media Group Network, plans to foment war between the US and China to boost his ratings. And because China wouldn't give him broadcasting rights, of course.
    • The World Is Not Enough: Elektra King is willing to nuke Istanbul so that the British pipeline would get more use, thus becoming the sole transporter of Caspian oil to the West.
    • Die Another Day: Gustav Graves, a billionaire diamond magnate who built his fortune illegally laundering blood diamonds in order to fund a huge space project: a solar satellite that he can use to cut a path through the Korean DMZ, allowing North Korea to launch an invasion of South Korea..
  • In the 2004 version of The Manchurian Candidate, the Dirty Commies from the book are replaced with Manchurian Global, who creates a Brainwashed Manchurian Agent to serve as their mole in the White House and another to serve as an assassin to get said mole elected as President.
  • The Parallax View: The titular Parallax Corporation secretly looks for recruits with sociopathic tendencies to supply their real business as a Murder, Inc.. They also may or may not be a government front.
  • The President's Analyst: The primary villain turns out to be T.P.C. (The Phone Company), a corporation set on "improving" humanity by implanting a 'cerebrum communicator' into the brain of every newborn child.
  • RoboCop: Omni Consumer Products is not the most ethical of corporations. The original film has a vice-president willing to make a deal with a crime boss to start a crime spree so that OCP can step in and offer to privatize the police force — and all of this to demolish Detroit and rebuild it as Delta City. By the time of the third movie, they're even hiring a street gang to drive out the locals.
  • Scanners: Biocarbon Amalgamate is a pharmaceutical corporation producing Ephemerol that is actually under the control of Darryl Revok, a psychic Super Supremacist trying to create a race of psychic supermen by prescribing Ephemerol to pregnant women, causing psychic mutations in the fetuses.
  • Sorry to Bother You: Regal View, the Amazon Expy for which the main character works as a telemarketer, is plotting to turn its workers into horses because it increases their productivity. When it's revealed, the general public applaud them.
  • Venom (2018): The Life Corporation, a multibillion-dollar Research, Inc. involved in everything from cancer treatments to space travel, is headed by an Evilutionary Biologist determined to save humanity from the next global crisis — no matter how much Playing with Syringes he has to do.
  • Videodrome: Spectacular Optical, a corporation that makes everything from cheap glasses to missiles. Under the direction of its CEO, Barry Covex, it tries to use the Videodrome signal to make people fear the evolution of media.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Judge Doom, being the sole stockholder of Cloverleaf Industries, murders Marvin Acme, the owner of Toon Town (framing Roger for it in the process) and then tries his hardest to make certain that Acme's will is never discovered so that Cloverleaf can win the bidding war to buy Toon Town, so that he can demolish it and build a freeway. (And as if that weren't enough, his plan involves murdering every toon living there.)
  • X-Men Film Series:
  • Zoolander: The fashion industry is controlled by a conspiracy that grooms male models into becoming Manchurian Agent assassins and has been responsible for most of the political assassinations of the past 200 years, including Abraham Lincoln and JFK — the former because he ended slavery, making it more difficult to manufacture cheap cotton, the latter because his trade embargo on Cuba prevented the import of Cuban manufactured Sansabelt slacks.

  • In Agent G, a group called the Big Twenty use their vast influence to manipulate global politics via Cyborg assassins operated by a Murder, Inc. named the International Refugee Society. The Big Twenty are the world's largest corporations and eventually become the Big Two Hundred when the setting moves from 20 Minutes into the Future to a Cyberpunk dystopia.
  • Alterien: There are at least three of these. There's NGT (New Genesis Technologies), owned by protagonist Oberon Navarro; Spencer Industries, owned by his rival Theseus Spencer; and finally, Sol 3 United, created by Oberon and his girlfriend Helena Velazquez. All three center around the Alterians, a Human Subspecies that Oberon is a member of — Oberon wants to ensure his species' survival by having them replace homo sapiens as the dominant species on Earth.
  • Artemis Fowl: In the book The Arctic Incident, Koboi Labs has contracts to maintain and upgrade weaponry for the Lower Elements Police, but is also secretly arming the Bwa Kell Triad, a goblin-run mafia, with illegal softnose laser weapons that were supposed to be destroyed. Their CEO, Opal Koboi, and her business partner, Dirty Cop Briar Cudgeon, plan to sabotage the LEP's weaponry and incite the goblins into a riot, then manipulate the conflict so that the LEP wins, Opal's rival Foaly is framed for the coup, and they get to make themselves look like heroes.
  • The Circle (2013): The titular tech company, a combination of Facebook and Google, are plotting "full transparency", an attempt to get so many people to "go transparent" (be filmed and observed at all times) that everybody will need to participate.
  • The Dark Tower: Several corporations are involved in unsavory practices, ranging from attempting to use "breakers" to destroy the beams holding up the dark tower to trying to combine technology with magic. Companies mentioned include Trans Corporation, North Central Positronics, and the Sombra Corporation. Tet Corporation is the good counterpart to these corporations, tasked with thwarting the efforts of those corporations, protecting the rose, and protecting Stephen King.
  • The Expanse:
    • A lot of people die in Leviathan Wakes thanks to Protogen's plan to test out the Protomolecule by unleashing it on the entire population of Eros. Just their distraction plan of starting a war between Earth, Mars and the Belt kills thousands, and then there's the population of Eros.
    • It continues in Caliban's War with Mao-Kwikowski (of which Protogen was a subsidiary). In this case they try to weaponize the Protomolecule by creating Super Soldiers, reigniting hostilities between Earth and Mars.
  • Honor Harrington: Manpower, Incorporated, who are The Man Behind the Man for the Mesan Alignment, who themselves instigated the war between the Republic of Haven and the Star Kingdom of Manticore.
  • The Illuminae Files:
    • The series kicks off with Beitech's hostile takeover of WUC's illegal hermium mine on Kerenza IV, including wholesale slaughter of the Kerenza population. It gets worse — during the attack they also released an experimental pathogen that causes even more mass death after the evacuation.
    • In Gemina, they're at it again, taking over the Heimdall jump station to prevent the Kerenza survivors from making it back to civilisation to testify against Beitech. Murdering the station commander is only the beginning.
  • Maximum Ride: The Mega-Corp Itex is secretly running a laboratory of Mad Scientists that specializes in animal-human gene-splicing experiments.
  • Rainbow Six: Horizon Corporation is another example of a Corporate Conspiracy motivated by ideology, as it is secretly an Eco-Terrorist group that plans to mitigate the inevitable fall of human civilization by quickening it through a genetically engineered strain of the Ebola virus to wipe out 99% of humanity.
  • Ready Player One: On the surface, IOI is just like any other competitor for Halliday's Egg, and ownership of the OASIS, albeit with manpower and resources that give them a huge edge in the game. This was apparently not enough for them, though, as they also engaged in stealing user data, attacking Wade Watt's real world home in an attempt to kill him, actually killing another teenaged player by having mercenaries throw him off the balcony of his apartment, buying up people's debts in order to put them in indentured servitude, and grand scale cheating by closing down any area of the OASIS that might contain a clue to Halliday's game. This all ultimately comes to light when the game ends with Wade in control, and it's hinted that the company's lawyers will be scrambling to prevent IOI from losing all access to the OASIS and thus the internet.
  • In Red Room, Pantheon Corp is the world's largest corporation and allied with The Illuminati-esque House. Pantheon Corp's CEO, Cassandra Cassidy, wants to bring down the latter by triggering a Zombie Apocalypse. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • A Scanner Darkly: New Path, the company that runs the only existing rehab centers for Substance D addicts, is actually the one growing the plants the drug is distilled from, and is Manufacturing Victims to give them a convenient source of patients and slave labor.
  • Those That Wake: Intellitech, a company that literally manufactured hopelessness until it grew a mind of its own, becoming Man in Suit.
  • The Trials of Apollo: Triumvirate Holdings, a corporation composed of three Roman emporers — Nero, Commodus and Caligula — that have served as The Man Behind the Man for the previous antagonists and are determined to become part of the Olympian pantheon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • BXJ Technologies is home to a highly secretive corporate cabal controlling Charles Logan who, on Day 5, sponsored the Sentox nerve gas conspiracy with the intent to acquire more oil for America from Central Asia and, during Day 6, was involved in a cover-up to hide the damage done by a sub-contractor, the terrorist collaborator Darren McCarthy.
    • Starkwood from Day 7 is a private military company owned by Jonas Hodges, who gave weapons to African Terrorists in exchange for a biological weapon. The bioweapon to be used to force the United States to give responsibility of the national security of the country to Starkwood and other private military companies, thus (in Hodges' eyes) "saving" America.
    • Alan Wilson is, like Hodges, a private military executive who, on Day 7, used bioweapons in terrorist plots against America — unlike Hodges, however, Wilson is a sociopath involved in the aforementioned Sentox conspiracy who manipulates world politics for profit.
  • Babylon 5: Edgars Industries, "the biggest biochemical conglomerate on Mars", is involved in a scheme to commit genocide on telepaths.
  • The TV series Deep State centers around a conspiracy of multiple massive corporations to consulate their power and make enormous profit (the titular deep state). Their efforts include arming terrorists, attempting to create wars (to recreate the massive profits they made out of the Afghanistan War) and taking control of other countries mineral resources.
  • The Boys (2019): Vought International are initiating a gradual "coup from the inside" by replacing essential US government figures with Vought toadies.
  • The Italian/British series Devils features a clique of corporate investment bankers called the Thirteenth Floor, who manipulate global finances and situations like the real estate collapse of 2008 or Greece's problems in the 2010s for their own gain. For most of them, this is simply a matter of profit, but in the case of the group's most prominent member, NYL Bank CEO Dominic Morgan, it's a means to an end — he views American economic hegemony as the key to world peace and prosperity, and will sacrifice the economies of entire countries to secure it.
    • In Season 2, the Thirteenth Floor start working closely with Chinese bankers, increasing China's influence over the West in the long-term for the sake of their own short-term financial gain. Dominic, angered by this, goes rogue from the group and starts his own conspiracy to undermine the Thirteenth Floor's resources. However, it turns out that his business partners are working on the behalf of Russian oligarchs who are seeking to get ahold of technology that can manipulate voter data in major elections (such as the Brexit referendum and 2016 Presidential election) so they can get the results that profit them.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Extant: Both ISEA (a private futuristic version of NASA) and its parent company Yasumoto Corporation are engaged in one of these.
  • Helix: Illaria Corporation, the parent company of Artic Biosystems, is actually run by an Ancient Conspiracy of immortals dedicated to controlling the human race, either by neutering them or by exterminating them.
  • Homecoming: Geist, the company who run Homecoming in private association with the government. Theoretically a recovery place for soldiers, their attempts to use memory wiping drugs appears to be a Benevolent Conspiracy, until Heidi learns that they're really trying to redeploy these soldiers more "efficiently" by removing them of the need to have psychiatric care. In the mid-2020s, their drugs have even gone mainstream.
  • Spoofed in the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Sweet Dee Has A Heart Attack". Mac and Charlie get a job at a Mega-Corp so they can get health insurance. After several days of working in the mailroom, a stressed-out Charlie believes he's stumbled onto a company conspiracy involving fake employees, a Man In Black-esque figure named Barney, and someone named Pepe Silvia. Turns out Charlie has completely lost his mind (and Barney is a hallucination).
  • Leverage
    • "The Inside Job": Dr. Anne Hannity, vice-president of the Wakefield Agricultural Corporation's R&D division, cost her company 60 million dollars losses studying a rare blight called UG99 with the potential to destroy all known strains of wheat — except for a GMO variant she created. She plans to release the blight, causing a global famine while Wakefield profits from its monopoly on UG99-resistant wheat.
    • "The Double Blind Job": Darren Hoffman is CEO of Pallagen Laboratories, which has just recently bought out the drug company J.R.P. Pharmaceuticals. J.R.P. had previously tested a drug called HT1 that caused lethal liver damage in whoever took it — Hoffman erased all records of HT1 and tried to launch it under the name Vioplex, knowing that in the time it takes for thousands of patients to die, the company will make billions of dollars selling the drug, minus a 15% fine from the FDA.
  • Played with in Lodge 49, where Conspiracy Theorist Champ keeps insisting that Long Beach's financial woes are all the fault of a mysterious organization called Parabola, which is ingrained within local company Orbis. Champ turns out to be partially right; there was in fact a Parabola group within Orbis back in the sixties, and they did play a role in Long Beach's financial woes, but Parabola is long dead, and their role in Long Beach's problems was accidental — they were conducting an experiment in theoretical currency called the Orbit and the Orbits ended up in the hands of employees, who began converting much of their savings into Orbits. When the Orbit turned out to be unsustainable, lots of families in Long Beach lost all their savings, leaving Long Beach as a Dying Town.
  • Mutant X: The titular Mutants were created through covert genetic engineering experiments that the company Genomex did on hundreds of unsuspecting people for the government — when a group of Mutants escape, Genomex sends out some Private Military Contractors called the Genetic Security Agency to recapture them.
  • In the NBC series Odyssey, a soldier uncovers that a Military-Industrial Complex Mega-Corp has been funding jihadists and goes on the run from Private Military Contractors across the desert, while back stateside, a corporate lawyer and a political activist stumble upon more threads of the conspiracy.
  • One of the main antagonists in Orphan Black is the Dyad Institute, a Research, Inc. focused on researching advancements in biotechnology and promoting the use of genetic and physical alterations on human beings. It's gradually revealed that the Dyad conducted many extremely unethical experiments, the most important being a human cloning conspiracy that created the protagonists, as part of a complex eugenicist plot to alter the path of human evolution as they see fit.
  • Person of Interest: Decima Technologies is a private technology firm that is stealing data to program an AI to create a new world order via constant surveillance.
  • Revenge (2011): The Americon Initiative serves as one in the series. Initially thought to be an independent terrorist cell, they are eventually revealed to just be a cadre of savvy businesspersons who profit off of society's fear. They carry out acts of terrorism and then profit off the reconstruction that follows afterward by investing in the right companies beforehand. They then proceed to pin the blame on various patsies.
  • Riverdale: Hiram Lodge, after getting out of jail for White-Collar Crime, orchestrates one of these to rebuild his reputation in Riverdale and ensure his family's wealth for years to come. His SoDale project consists of greatly devaluing the already impoverished Southside to acquire the land cheap, so that he can build a Private Profit Prison within Riverdale. And that's only the tip of the iceberg for his ambitions...
  • Lumon, the company where the protagonists of Severance (2022) work, is a creepy cult-like corporation with offices in its own Company Town, and whatever it's up to is so bad / controversial / ominous that employees aren't allowed to remember what they do during work hours. The plot of the show involves the protagonists slowly untangling Lumon's web of lies.
  • Succession takes the unusual step of having the people perpetuating the conspiracy (the board of Waystar Royco) as the main characters. They've sent their cruise ships out under a non-American flag to save money and avoid legal trouble, which has fostered a culture of institutionalized rape and sexual harassment going on, and their attempts to thwart investigations into it are a huge part of the conflict.
  • The Commission from The Umbrella Academy (2019) is certainly run like one, with a Board of Directors, management positions, bureaucratic penny-pinching, boring desk jobs which involve deciding who needs to be assassinated to preserve the timeline...
  • Utopia: Corvadt and Pergus Holdings, massive multinationals spanning dozens of different industries and part of the Network, are working on a Sterility Plague that is formed of two parts, genetically modified corn starch and a flu vaccine, that only activate when combined in a human.

    Multiple Media 

    Tabletop Games 
  • This was ComStar's role in the early years of Battletech. Supposedly just the company that ran the Subspace Ansible, they were also a religious order who believed that there would be a coming catatrophy that would reduce the Inner Sphere to ruin, and that they would be the ones to pick up the pieces. Because of that, they played the different Successor States against each other (easy to do when you've got a monopoly on interplanetary communications). They were eventually found out after the Clan invasion (notably because Comstar's leader at the time tried to double-cross the Inner Sphere and the Clans at the same time) and after some internal cleaning promised they wouldn't do things like that anymore. Nobody really believes them. On a smaller scale, Mega Corps like Defiance Industries, Starcorp, and Irain Battlemechs regularly perform acts of espionage and sabotage against each other, trying to learn or steal new research in order to get a leg up on the competition.
  • Call of Cthulhu: New World Incorporated (NWI) from the supplemental The Fungi From Yuggoth is a Mega-Corp secretly controlled by the Old Ones, and plots to bring about the Day of the Beast and devastate the Earth for their masters.
  • CthulhuTech: The Chrysalis Corporation, which deals in everything from household supplies to military hardware, is actually controlled by Nyarlatothep disguised as a mortal man, and secretly strives to Take Over the World.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: Pike Industries can fit this bill, especially considering Graham Pike is an Expy for The Kingpin and Lex Luthor. If there's any dirty deal going on in Rook City, chances are fantastic they're involved. Especially notable is the backstory of the hero Benchmark, who was created by them to be The Mole in the superhero community, winning public trust, and eventually turn Sixth Ranger Traitor by killing them all, thus allowing Pike to control both sides of the struggle between good and evil. Fortunately the coming of Oblivaeon forced them to debut Benchmark before they could install all the needed software, but card art does indicate the plan can still move forward.
    • A less seen example is Revo Corp, which was created by Baron Blade both for scientific research and financial support for his evil schemes. It has since struck out on its own, but the Baron made its new CEO An Offer You Can't Refuse and thus still receives a hefty amount of support from the company.
  • Shadowrun: It's probably easier to say which companies aren't involved in some vast conspiracy (i.e. none). The worst are Aztechnology (who use Blood Magic, and tend to be Card-Carrying Villain sorts to deniable assets like 'runners) and Saeder-Krupp (literally owned by a scheming dragon, who's rumored to eat employees and shadowrunners who fail him). Even unethical shadowrunners avoid them, simply because of their tendency to invoke You Have Outlived Your Usefulness when it comes to being paid. It's practically a Running Gag that they have to pretend to be another corporation just to hire deniable assets.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: The Pentex Coporation, and all of its subsidiaries, are agents of the Wyrm, and thus are dedicated to spreading its corruption through their products and hastening the end of the world.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Bionic Heart: The Mega-Corp Nanotech, under the orders of their CEO Richard, uses nanotechnology to illegally manufacture androids, placing the brains of people in the android bodies to do Richard's bidding.
  • Ever17: The accident in the LeMU park is caused by Leiblich Pharmeceuticals attempting to cover up the fact that a very deadly virus they manufactured, Tief Blau, had been released within the park. In the epilogue You has given the go ahead sign for a long planned whistle blower operation, resulting in massive public scrutiny on Leiblich, which is forced to close down.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: Cradle Pharmaceuticals CEO Ace/Hongou recreated the Nonary Game to research morphogenetic fields and telepathy, this time using children as the participants.


    Web Original 
  • Red vs. Blue: Charon Industries, headed by Malcolm Hargrove, is perfectly willing to start a war on Chorus in order to wipe out the entire population and seize the planet for themselves.
  • there's a Netflix sharing bubble has a company CEO, Todd, learn from his Board of Directors on the eve of the titular streaming service changing its log-in sharing policy that grandfathers all existing screens (not users) of an account onto its bill. He doesn't see that as much of a problem as he's only shared it with one other member of the board. Everyone else in the room confesses that she shared it with them and that they've done the same with other people they know. They've calculated that there are over a million active log-ins of his account, and if he's charged with all of them, it'll eviscerate the company. By itself, this is embarrassing but easily remedied since all he needs to do is change his password to terminate all these connections. The CEO sighs, shares an anecdote about his family's history with Neflix, calls his secretary to contact a company intern from two years ago, and to the dawning horror of those around him, they realize that the account isn't even his.
  • Whateley Universe: Goodkind International claims to be looking out for "the little people", but is secretly backing anti-mutant organizations "Humanity Now!" and the Knights of Purity for its own ends.

    Western Animation 
  • Big Hero 6: The Series has Sycorax, a company meant to be helping people who were becoming mutants. In reality, Sycorax was the one creating the mutants, in order to find a cure for Liv Amara, Sycorax's founder.
  • Futurama: Mom Inc., headed by Evil Matriarch Mom, already controls 50% of the Earth. She's just trying to get that percentage up to 100.
  • G.I. Joe:
    • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: Extensive Enterprises, run by Tomax and Xamot, were Cobra's business arm, and presumably how they acquired money when they weren't able to extort, kidnap, steal, blackmail, or run telethons.
    • G.I. Joe: Renegades: Cobra is re-imagined as this, hiding their plans for world domination under a facade of benevolence and philanthropy while they create technology and medicine to better the world. Only the titular Joe Team has seen through this and know the dangers Cobra represents.

    Real Life 
  • Military-industrial complex describes the informal alliance between the military and the defense industry pushing them to influence public policies, for example pushing for war in order to make their factories more profitable.
  • Nugan Hand Bank, an Australian bank catering to US service members, offered a 16 percent interest rate on deposits. Their secret? Funding heroin runs across Asia. The video game A Hand With Many Fingers allows players to explore the real people and events involved via fictional documents.
  • The Business Plot, an conspiracy allegedly formulated by a group of quasi-fascist businessmen in 1934 to attempt a coup against Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose presidency and New Deal program would have harmed their business interests. The conspiracy was reported by Smedley Butler, a retired U.S. Marines Major General turned anti-war activist, who testified before the US Congress that he believed that the conspirators had attempted to tap him to participate in the coup due to his popularity amongst veteran organisations. Historians are divided on whether the allegations were true, though there is some degree of concensus that some sort of "wild scheme" was indeed contemplated and discussed, and the final report of the congressional committee on the subject concluded that "there is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient" — in any case, no one was prosecuted.
  • The BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International), which inspired The International above; when it was shut down in 1991 by an international law enforcement effort, other banks began to become involved in the same sort of business, most notably HSBC which was "Too Big to Prosecute."


Video Example(s):


Elliot Carver

Elliot Carver is willing to start World War III just to boost his TV network's ratings and gain broadcasting rights in China.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheSociopath

Media sources: