This article uses critical discourse analysis to analyze material shifts in the political economy of communications. It examines texts of major corporations to describe four key changes in political economy: (1) the separation of ownership from control; (2) the separation of business from industry; (3) the separation of accountability from responsibility; and (4) the subjugation of “going concerns” by overriding concerns. The authors argue that this amounts to a political economic shift from traditional concepts of “capitalism” to a new “corporatism” in which the relationships between public and private, state and individual interests have become redefined and obscured through new discourse strategies. They conclude that the present financial and regulatory “crisis” cannot be adequately resolved without a new analytic framework for examining the relationships between corporation, discourse, and political economy.

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