This article will argue that conspiracy theory can be conducted in the manner of a much more rigorous and advanced field by viewing it through the lens of clique theory and corporate domination theory.
In the sociological literature there is strong evidence supporting Clique Theory and Corporate Domination Theory as accurate theories of how the political economy actually functions. Let’s briefly define those theories:
- Clique Theory – Polish society under communism, for example, was marked by the strong presence of informal social circles, or cliques, which are trusted groups of friends. Trust sometimes derived from familial ties, shared experiences, shared goals or shared identity. Some of the most powerful of these cliques existed at the intersection of public and private domains. More recently, the term “flex nets” was coined to generalize observations concerning Polish cliques. Blackmail resulting from mutual complicity in illegal or nearly-illegal dealings is another these relationships are reinforced. The activity of clique members may be less well described by the phrase “conflict of interests” and better described as a “coincidence of interest”, or overlapping roles which mutually facilitate each other.
- Corporate Domination Theory (CDT) – Corporate domination theorists see the potential for business domination over the state as stemming from the control of resources derived from the ownership of means of production.
Interestingly, Clique Theory and CDT are each only a step removed from a scholarly approach to the study of conspiracies. After all, a conspiracy is merely a group of people with ill-intent. Clique Theory and CDT are great ways of studying groups of people, in particular those groups at the intersection of public and private power. The only thing remaining is a systematic method of sorting out ill-intent from accident or inability.