I don't pretend to know what's really going on in the world, but all the conspiracy and control stuff seems a little silly. I don't think whatever machinations are underway are being conducted all that cleverly. Our species just isn't that smart, or competent. Some of these conspiracy theorists are giving the conspirators way too much credit.
Regarding conspiracies "running the show": What, exactly, would a conspiracy need to do that isn't already being done anyway? People are completely locked into everything that is happening by the checks and balances of the system itself. Conspiracies seem redundant, and to posit that anyone or any group has such a degree of control over what is inherently a fully chaotic system makes no sense. Whatever conspiracies are in place are just as bound by the system as anyone, and are carrying it out in just the same ways as everyone else.
I would call the machinations from the top echelons of the socioeconomic pyramid to be not so much about control, but about influencing and guiding society in certain behaviors -- usually economic ones -- with the intent to preserve the status quo as much as possible, in order to protect common interests. I think the truth is that no one is really properly in control, and major crises can cause catastrophe for anybody. Also, the mob can be very unpredictable at times, and they certainly cannot stop that.
The world runs on detestable corruption more than it does on devious conspiracy.
I have no doubt that there are some conspiracies in operation, but I tend to believe that our world is more one of corruption than of vile conspiracy. I frankly find it hard to believe that the human species is smart enough to pull off a measured, controlled conspiracy and get it right more than ten percent of the time. Corruption and greed are the real enemies, not dastardly villains.
Certain control mechanisms are becoming more available to those in power due to the nature of certain emerging technologies. It seems unlikely that those in power would not want to take advantage of the opportunity to utilize them.
The quest of Western civilization is the quest for control. In reality of course, control is nothing more than a quaint illusion. Even our very selves are only a biochemical reality. To believe we are actually in control of anything is a mythical fallacy.
I am not one for conspiracy theories. They bore me. However, it is interesting to note that, by the laws of statistics, one has inevitably to conclude that some of the most wild and implausible conspiracy theories -- just a few of them -- must be true.
There is no deliberate conspiracy running the show, but rather a set of common interests which act and appear as a functioning conspiracy -- common interests among the super-rich and powerful to keep things just exactly as they are, with more money and more power funneling upward all the time, which steer the course of society, and which dictate to a large extent what people are exposed to and ultimately what they are thinking and doing as a result of this exposure. These common interests are like a Turing Machine in that their effects so closely resemble a conspiracy while in fact the results we see are due to a confluence of factors which inevitably come out of the drive on the part of those with the most money and therefore the most social leverage to maintain the status quo, or something closely approximating it, at all costs.
What conspiracy theorists can't stomach is the notion that no one is in control. It's much scarier, actually, to posit that no one has a handle on the world. I suppose it must be comforting, in some way, for these nutty conspiracy people to believe that control exists, and can in principle be taken over by someone they like. In truth, the population is susceptible to a legion of potential crises. And no one, or group, really has control of the planet in any meaningful way.
When people see conspiracies everywhere, it is because of a subconsciously perceived lack of control.
The media are not run by a giant conspiracy. They are biased, and can be deceptive, and can promote falsehoods, but there is no shadow organization malevolently pulling the strings concerning what gets on TV. Every media source has its agenda, which is usually the agenda of whoever owns it. The producers, directors, writers and editors play out this agenda, which is often pro-government, on their own. To wit, I watched several of the news shows this past Sunday morning, and they were all decrying Russia. They didn't have to be told to broadcast that; that's the party line. Everyone more or less falls into lockstep, and yes, the media sucks and most of it is garbage, but there is no grand conspiracy. Just common interests and corruption.
There are villains, but no dastardly conspiracies in absolute control. The plain, unexciting fact is that a few hold tremendous power, while most don't have any. History is the story of the succession of fights over this power.