Large systems--whether economic, biological, social, or political--have always influenced one another to some degree. Regulators affect financial behaviors; societies organize around resources and markets; outsiders indirectly control policymaker decisions. This phenomenon is certainly becoming more intentional and directive, and the tools are being built to enable it. Look, for example, at the emerging field of behavior economics, which seeks to combine the murky theories of economics with the science of psychology.
Here is the question: have closer relationships between large systems enhanced or diminished the global conditions of freedom, security, prosperity, or health? Do conspiring systems make better decisions?
The merger of education and business is certainly worth looking at for possible answers. Big companies can't recruit the workers they want, so they are making them. I found this at a Fortune magazine forum:
"Companies like IBM, Credit Suisse and BMW are now designing and funding curricula changes at major universities, partly in response to the perception that today's graduates lack certain fundamental skills for a global economy. This means more than just donating free computers or books for a class - it means developing the curriculum from scratch, awarding financial incentives to universities to change the way they teach certain courses, and sometimes even providing the "professor" to teach the course -- all in the name of producing graduates that are better prepared to work for their companies in the future.
"The basic question, of course, is whether the extensive role played by [these companies]... in creating and promoting the new curriculum represents a breach of academic integrity."