The quest to control the actions of others has probably existed for as long as humanity itself. Its manifest form though is often not as simple as might be imagined. True the primary controller is also the primary beneficiary, but often those directly controlled can also be classed as winners – they get something in exchange for allowing, and not contesting that control. Unfortunately these two groups can extend the range of control to other third parties who, more often than not, are clear losers. Thus a king may subjugate his subjects and demand tribute or service but also provide them security. Together they often usurp and pillage their neighbours.
Through history the actors who exert control and underlying mechanisms used have changed. Beside Kings there have been Priests using the promise of salvation, and threat of damnation, to ensure devotion and the delivery of tythes. And woe betide the followers of other religions! More recently Western Industrialists have realized enormous profits for themselves by organising production and promoting consumption – forcing a strict rhythm of life on their workers but offering them the joys of shopping in return! But the rest of the world be damned – the price paid for their inputs has to be kept low to maintain our lifestyle.
Now another change appears to be taking place, with Bureaucrats in Western Governments and NGOs using regulation and interdiction to lay down formal and informal rules regarding what can, and can not, be done, said or thought. In exchange for the standardization and homogenisation being sought citizens are offered equality. Whether this will be seen as a an attractive trade remains to be seen .. as do the effects for non-citizens.