Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Corporate Psychos

If you missed The Corporation in the movie houses, its now out in DVD. The film is based on the book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan.

Here is the blurb:

THE CORPORATION explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Footage from pop culture, advertising, TV news, and corporate propaganda, illuminates the corporation's grip on our lives. Taking its legal status as a "person" to its logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?" Provoking, witty, sweepingly informative, The Corporation includes forty interviews with corporate insiders and critics - including Milton Friedman, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change.

And here is the trailer in quicktime.

And here is a decent review:

"There are teeming hordes of psychopaths ready to prey on us, according to The Corporation.

But they're not safely behind bars and outfitted with muzzles, because these psychos are corporations, says this powerful documentary.

Coming from an activist and leftist slant, this well-researched Canadian movie has as its target the body corporate, and gives as evidence the wrongs committed by the same.

It starts by telling us that a historical US Supreme Court decision meant corporates were accorded the same legal rights, but not the same liabilities, as people.

That, and their focus on the bottom line above all else, puts corporates as people firmly in the psychopath camp. "

Often, I am asked at the end of my presentations and lectures, some kind of question that basically sounds like the following,

"What most needs to be done in order for our society to move towards a sustainable and truly equitable economy?

Always my short answer is, make corporations accountable.

And there is no reason to get all high and mighty about it, because I imagine that if we as individuals could act with impunity, we probably would behave pretty badly. We still act pretty bad knowing we might go to prison or wherever.

Making corporations accountable means taking their charter away and selling their assets if they have behaved recklessly. It means holding directors criminally accountable if the case and misdeeds merit such punishment.

If we have the death penalty for real people, we should definitely have it for legal creations too. In fact, I would say we have it exactly backward right now. Go rob a bank in Texas, and shoot and kill the teller and see what you get. Poison the air with your chemicals from your products, and thus kill untold thousands, and you get a fine.

A while back, I was leading a discussion group on sustainability on a TV show. I must admit, I did have this pretty well planned. The last question was, "how do we get to where we need to go?". I had the director start with a three button shot and move in as I gave my clear and understandable argument for Corporate Capital Punishment. At the end, I was closing my argument with a full face closeup looking right into the camera like a Pentecostal Preacher giving an altar call.

It must have worked pretty well, because a few weeks later, the co- producer of the show told me that they actually received hate mail because of my comments. I guess there were a few out there in TV land who felt rather strongly that anyone who would suggest putting a rogue corporation to death is clearly a commie or an anarchist or something red. (aren't reds republicans now?)

But holding the corporation responsible for its actions is really just a beginning. We really need to examine this idea that corporations and capitalism are one.

Because they are not.

Corporations are inherently non-democratic and Imperial.

Power flows from the top.

Stockholders may vote, but it's a Stalinesque ballot.

Corporations are responsible to these stockholders,

but only in a financial sense.

Corporations are soulless, plutocratic, fascist creations

that already view humans as soulless consumers,

that must be manipulated and managed for the maximization of profit.

Psychopaths are just not good playmates.

They eat you.

Capitalism needs another vehicle to survive.

And that vehicle is the Cooperation.

Coops can save Capitalism.

Capitalism just doesn't know it needs saving yet.

But it will.

And they can.

And the earthfamily will prosper from it.

Earthfamilyalpha Contents


Anonymous Anonymous said...

bravo, well spoken. Someday, someday.

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corporations rule the world. Who would be able to take their charter away? The multinationals are beyond governance.

However, it would be interesting to watch them hop around. Exxon could be based in Liberia, just as their vessels are licenced there.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In spite of the seriousness of the subject of corporations and their abuse, this posting made me smile and then laugh out loud with "They can eat you". It grabbed me like a good spy novel. It is so clear. Clear and down to the point. It has a wonderful mix of truth and humor.

10:08 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

True, corporations might move from the geographic states that insisted that they comport themselves properly, but then they would be fugitives, and like any other fugitive on the run, they would only be welcome in lawless states. Treaties would then come into play much like our extradition treaties today.

Thank you all for your comments.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

corporate capital punishment! what a great idea. thanks.

9:56 AM  

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