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This is an extraordinary film about the creation of the American corporation, its legal organizational model, its global economic dominance and its psychopathic tendencies, and its incredible ambition to influence every aspect of culture in its unrelenting pursuit of profit. The Corporation was spawned from Joel Balkan's in depth book, "The Corporation: A Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power". (Due to be released in March this year) The film and book begins in the 18th century, in the establishment of the 14th Amendment. Initially the 14th Amendment was designed after the Civil War to give ex slaves' legal rights, like any other citizen of the United States, but through a maze of legal precedents, the business corporation organization model was now deemed a "legal person" with all the civil rights accorded to a citizen. This highly absurd precedent has paved the way for corporations to literarily get away with murder, because a "corporation" is not an individual that you can put in jail. In effect, a corporation has no moral or social obligations; their only obligation is the pursuit of profit. This film offers numerous examples of unethical practices resulting in death for many people, and because of their status under the 14th Amendment, and endless legal loopholes, have gotten away with terrible crimes against humanity and the environment with no more than a fine, a mere slap on the wrist. As the law treats corporations as "persons", Balkan thought it appropriate to put the various behaviours of these companies under psychological examination. What this psychological study illustrated is that corporations, as "persons" behave and display the symptoms of the clinical psychopath.
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The interview with Lucy Hughes, Vice President of Initiative Media, is truly disturbing. This woman proudly relates how the advertising industry studies how to encourage children to nag their parents more effectively to buy products. She also brags about manipulating consumers into "wanting" things and capturing children as young as possible so they will be lifelong consumers.
I was reminded in watching this film of something I've written about the measure of value in a society. Since many of us work for corporations, we can test the truths this film tells in our own way. Listen, for example, to how people speak when they're under the influence of the corporate machine. At my office, most of these folks are young, assertive, confident, and rapid in speech and manner. Many of them, to judge by their position, language, and demeanor, are most likely MBA's, or the equivalent. I have heard the word "value" a lot, in terms like "value proposition" and "value exchange." I wondered whether these folks had really thought about value--what it is, or that there may be more to value than goods, services, or profit derived therefrom.
But corporations cannot learn this, for in spite of what the law may say, they are not people (this is one of the principal themes of the film). But the real, individual people who work for the corporations and use their products and services, we can learn it and in turn teach it to the "corporate person". We can show them what a person truly is, and what it is that a person values.
Relate the corporate psyche to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) definition of a psychotic, and you have the beginning of this DVD. Evaluate for yourself how corporatons exhibit these traits: callous disregard for people's feelings, the incapacity to maintain human relationships, reckless disregard for the safety of others, deceitfulness, incapacity to experience guilt, and failure to conform to social norms and respect for the law.
Then watch example after example of these shortcomings. It's not all doom and gloom, though, as there are examples of how some people--in the immortal words of Rage Against the Machine--"Take the Power Back."
It tells the story of the Corporation in America and how they have survived and taken over.
Everyone should see this video at least once.
It is very well written and you will get a real education.