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The Corporation defines this endlessly mutating life-form in exhaustive detail, measuring the many ways it has not only come to dominate but to deform our reality. The movie performs a running psychoanalysis of this entity with the characteristics of a prototypical psychopath: a callous unconcern for the feelings and safety of others, an incapacity to experience guilt, an ingrained habit of lying for profit, etc. We are swept away on a demented odyssey through an altered cosmos, in which artificial chemicals are created for profit and incidentally contribute to a cancer epidemic; in which the folks who brought us Agent Orange devise a milk-increasing drug for a world in which there is already a glut of milk; in which an American computer company leased its systems to the Nazis--and serviced them on a monthly basis--so that the Holocaust could go forward as an orderly process.
The movie goes on too long, circles too many points obsessively and redundantly, and risks preaching-to-the-choir reductiveness by calling on the usual talking-head suspects--Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Moore. And except for an endlessly receding tracking shot in an infinite patents archive, there's scarcely an image worth recalling. Still, it maps the new reality. This is our world--welcome to it. --Richard T. Jameson
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
In his book he notes that the modern corporation is "singularly self-interested and unable to feel genuine concern for others in any context." (p. 56) He adds that the corporation's sole reason for being is to enhance the profits and power of the corporation. He shows by citing court cases that it is the duty of management to make money and that any compromise with that duty is dereliction of duty.
Directors Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott bring these points and a slew of others to cinematic life through interviews, archival footage, and a fine narrative written by Achbar and Harold Crooks. The interviews cover a wide spectrum of opinion, from Michael Moore and Norm Chomsky on the left, to Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman on the right. Friedman is heard to agree with Bakan that the corporation's duty is to its stockholders and that anything that deviates from that duty is irresponsible.
What emerges is a view of the corporation as an entity working both for and against human welfare. Designed to turn labor and raw materials efficiently into goods and services and to thereby raise our standard of living, it has been a very effective tool for humans to use. On the other hand, because it is blind to anything but its own welfare, the corporation uses humans and the resources of the planet in ways that can be and often are detrimental to people and the environment. Corporations, to put it bluntly, foul the environment with their wastes and will not clean up unless forced to.Read more ›
The corporation is compared to a sociopath. The sociopathic personality is irresponsible, manipulating, grandiose, lacking in empathy, has antisocial tendencies, refuses to accept responsibility for its actions, and cannot feel remorse....Many of the attitudes people adopt and the actions they execute when acting as corporate operatives can be characterized as sociopathic.
Moreover, by the legal way a corporation is set up, its only motive is profit. Every action taken, no matter how altruistic it looks, has to ultimately be a search for profits. Otherwise, the corporation is subject to litigation by the shareholders. The corporation is deliberately programmed and legally compelled to externalize (dump) costs (pollution, for example) without regard for the harm it may cause. Every cost it can unload onto the general public is a benefit to stockholders - a direct route to profit.
Many major corporations habitually engage in criminal behavior with records worse than even the most prolific human criminals. GE collected 42 heavy fines over 11 years - akin to a hardened repeat criminal receiving occasional hand slaps while on perpetual parole. Corporations don't mind chalking these fines up as a cost of doing business - then delegating a committee to figure out how to cover their tracks better in the future. Sounds a lot like a sociopath.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent history of the many problems caused by corporate greed and lack of conscience - depressing but educationalPublished 1 month ago by Commenter 137
One of the best movies I have watched in a while. Highly recommend it to anyone who cares about the corruption at the corporate level.Published 3 months ago by P. W. Larson
An inside look on the origin and hidden agendas of the corporations. Very informative.Published 4 months ago by Ramon A. Bennett
It's extremely informative and provides excellent information!Published 5 months ago by Kathryn Lucien
...the ____ man is the _____. Now if a person doesn't have a job in order to pay for amazon, can they even...look, the movie will explain cause and effect.Published 5 months ago by Hamlet R Bent
What can I say that hasn't been said in 324 reviews?
This movie is a riveting documentation of how many corporations produce goods knowing that they are harmful to... Read more
Very compelling and it reveals how our lives have been controlled by corporationsPublished 7 months ago by Michael P