Perhaps the most glaring example of this destructive potential in the last decade of the 20th century is the unregulated free-market economic system, which today has acquired a global reach. The massive transnational corporations that dominate this economic order, driven by the quest for commercial profit, have turned into the institutional embodiments of greed.
Despite their impressive public relations propaganda, their fundamental purpose is not to meet genuine human needs but to generate maximum profit at minimum cost. Profit is the fuel of corporate growth, and every profit target met generates only a still higher target; the ideal is never a state of stable equilibrium, but the achievement of limitless profit at zero cost.
For the commanders of the corporate culture nothing else ultimately matters but economic success. Carefully documented studies have shown that in the pursuit of greater financial gain the corporations are quite prepared to jeopardize the welfare of the workforce, the health of the customers, the stabillity of the society, traditional norms and values, the harmony of the community and the sustainability of the natural environment. In their view, if the net result is a larger profit margin, all these can be sacrificed with barely a shrug of the shoulders.