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VIDEO OF THE MONTH

THE CORPORATION

Based on the book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan, here is the film that won 26 international awards. Below we present 8 video clips in a Shareware version. The Corporation is witty, stylish insightful and compelling. It explores the nature and rise to transnational power of the business corporation. Taking the corporation's status as a legal "person" to the logical conclusion, the film puts it on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?" 

In the mid-1800s the corporation became a legal "person" in American jurisprudence.  Imbued with a "personality" of pure self-interest, the next 100 years saw its meteoric rise to dominance. It created unprecedented wealth... but at what cost? A remorseless rationale of externalities - unintended consequences of a business transaction on third parties - has produced countless cases of illness, death, lies, poverty, exploitation, pollution... and finally the global climate crisis.

To assess the "personality" of the corporate "person", a checklist is employed, using diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and the standard diagnostic tool of psychiatrists and psychologists. The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social "personality": it is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. Case studies of corporate activity demonstrate harm to workers, human health, animals and the biosphere. A disturbing diagnosis is inevitable: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets diagnostic criteria for a "psychopath."

Things like disasters, the purity of childhood, food, water or air are assumed to be sacrosanct. But corporations have no built-in limits on what, who, or how much they can exploit for profit. Today, every resource on planet Earth is up for grabs. Fossil fuel corporations, the most profitable of all, are responsible not only for creating global warming. but actively block all meaningful attempts to address it. Today, governments are often supine enablers of corporate agendas that threaten the survival of a habitable planet and the human species itself. We have no choice but to inform ourselves about this dominant institution of our time. Fortunately we have resources like this remarkable movie.

 

 

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