The simple logic by which large businesses are in control of our government rather than voters like you and me is as follows:
1) Many (most) politicians are influenced by votes and money.
Votes keep them in their job; money is often part of the reason they have the job.
2) Big companies strongly influence the press, buying the advertisements.
Gone are the days when subscribers paid for the news bulletins. Subscribers pay for the paper, but advertising pays everything else.
3) The press passes "information" to voters (you and me) about what is "important".
Both the information itself, and the selection of information we receive is heavily influenced by what the paymasters' (actual or perceived) wishes are.
4) Based on this information we vote for or against a government or an individual politician.
So indirectly the big companies pick and run the government.
In addition to this, the large corporations also directly advise the government. This is getting worse (see also "Trade Agreements - TTIP"). The reason this happens is logical: big companies have a face and represent a business. However, there is a tremendous risk in having advisers who have vested interest in certain outcomes. The "self-regulation" of certain industries is a case in point: it has been proven not to work but is still considered by business to be the best way to go. Poacher employed as gamekeeper.
This of course works as long as the voters don't see through this, and keep on believing that the economy, GDP and growth are the most important issues in our lives. When we decide to choose for our health, our happiness, the environment we live in, and the environment our children will grow up and perhaps old in we can change all this.
On press misinformation check out medialens. On general misinformation check out Private Eye. Or just search for "press bias" and take your pick, but read carefully: it is the press you're reading after all.
Lobbying undermines Democracy. How this works is explained in this Guardian article about Shell's successful lobbying efforts to change the EU climate and energy policy. "Shell lobbied to undermine EU renewables targets, documents reveal"
General suggestions on reading articles on "contentious" subjects like Climate Change (newspapers, websites, TV, ..)
- If only a single issue is highlighted, there is often an alternate agenda. Few problems are that simple.
- If someone makes money from an issue, they're probably biased.
- Always check a site's source and funding. If this is not clearly stated they're often industry driven. If it is funded by another "foundation" similarly.
- If you don't know who the source is, be careful: maybe they don't want you to know for a reason.
- If something sounds like a stupid thing to do, such as pumping plastic beads into the sea, it is a stupid thing to do. (see 5gyres.org)
- Environmental charities may be mistaken, but they rarely have dark motives. They are driven my morals (or anger). Corporations or sponsored lobbying groups do have monetary drivers: they are required by law to pursue money, not truth (and that goes for some of the press too, alas).