Dominance by powerful vested interests has also become characteristic of what is called democracy. Rule by the people (demos) has become corrupted by rule (kratos) by the powerful (oligarchy or plutocracy). It’s worse than that; Capitalism is now run by what can be technically called corruption. Corporations and oligarchs (authoritarians) use their power and influence to buy policy and manipulate or minimise regulation. It is this form of ‘government’ that is blatant in most parts of the world but more powerful if not more subtle in the so-called advanced countries of the Western World.

We could call this form of political-economy Corruptalism (Cohen 1993) or what I prefer to call ‘Corrumpalism’ (from the Latin corrumpere ‘to destroy’). I define Corrumpalism as the ability to corrupt and destroy the integrity of a social system and its biophysical foundation by perverting all forms of development via the use of mis-information, falsehoods, money and/or violence to achieve self-interested outcomes that are the opposite of cultural and ecological interests. We are seeing Corrumpalism played out in a public way with the recent VW scandal, the FIFA scandal, Olympics scandal, the Exxon climate change scandal, the ISIS oil scandal and many more worldwide from intensely local to global scales.

A case study par-excellence in corrumpalism can be found with the village of Bulga Vs Rio Tinto in NSW, Australia. Here, after winning twice in the courts of NSW to protect their village and its heritage from an expanded open-cut coal mine, government and multi-national corporate power conspired to change the law so that the community of Bulga will be destroyed. The process of ignoring past deeds of protection and changing the law to ensure that government and corporate interests prevail, corrumpalism achieves the destruction of the natural and built environment at Bulga.