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Business-Managed Democracy

“Business-managed democracies are those in which the political and cultural arrangements are managed in the interests of business”

Sharon Beder

Business-Managed Government

The Revolving Door

The enlistment of regulators, bureaucrats and politicians in their cause has been a key achievement of those lobbying for various agreements within the GATT and the WTO. This is made easier by the phenomenon of the revolving door. Large financial corporations are able to offer lucrative positions, including directorships, to those who are supportive of their aims. Some government officials have also gone on to play key roles in business coalitions.


For example, Leon Brittan, former UK Minister and EU Trade Commissioner (now Lord Brittan of Spennithorne), went on to be vice-chair of UBS-Warburg, a key lobbyist for liberalization of financial services, and chair of the High Level LOTIS Group. Christopher Roberts was Director-General of Trade Policy at UK’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) till 1997 and the UK’s chief trade negotiator during the Uruguay Round before becoming chair of the LOTIS committee and vice-chair of its High Level Group. Some don’t even wait till they leave their government jobs. For example Alistair Abercrombie, one of the DTI’s ‘lead services negotiators’, took a ‘two-year secondment’ to British Invisibles where he was Director of Trade Policy and secretary to its LOTIS committee.

The table below lists some of the key government officials involved the trade policy arena.

People Govt. Positions Free Trade Coalitions Think Tanks and other Coalitions Corporate Positions
Leon Brittan Minister – UK Parliament ‘79-86
EU trade commissioner
VP European Commission ‘89-93, ‘95-2000
House of Lords
Initiator, ESF
Chair, High Level LOTIS Group
Fellow – Policy Studies Institute (1988)
Trilateral Commission
Chair, Conservative Group for Europe
Advisory director, Unilever
Vice-Chair, UBS Warburg
William E. Brock US Congress ‘63-70
US Senator ‘71-6
US Trade Rep. ‘81-85
US Secretary of Labor ‘85-87
Chair, MTN Coalition
Founder, Eminent Persons Group
Trustee - Center for Strategic and International Studies
Board - Committee for Economic Development
Co-chair, U.S.-Canada Partnership for Growth
Chair, The Brock Group (TBG) 1988-95
Robert S. Strauss US Trade Representative ‘77-79
Ambassador to Soviet Union ‘91-92
Chair, MTN Coalition Trustee - Center for Strategic and International Studies
Chair, US Russia Business Council
Member, Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations
Partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P
Peter Sutherland EC Commissioner
Director-General GATT
Eminent Persons Group on World Trade Vice-chair of European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT)
Chair of the Trilateral Commission
Steering Committee, Bilderberg Group
Chair, Allied Irish Bank
Chair, Goldman Sachs, BP
Bob Vastine Deputy Asst Sec, Treasury
Legislative Director in Senate
Staff Director of Senate Republican Conference
President, CSI President, Congressional Economic Leadership Institute
Founder, Alliance for American Innovation
Source: Sharon Beder, Suiting Themselves: How Corporations Drive the Global Agenda, Earthscan, London, 2006, p. 212.