AR-News: The lunatic you work for
wolfcrest at hotmail.com
Tue May 11 17:52:08 EDT 2004
This is interesting, in several letters on animal exploiters (hunters,
trappers, hog farmers) I have pointed out that their lack of empathy, etc.
fits the psychopathy profile and have even argued that as a species,
espescially in relation to the other species on the planet, the human race
is a collective psychopath. If ravens are known as tricksters to us, the
human species would be known as the psychopaths of the animal world to the
friendly aliens watching us. Now, this documentary film compares the
corporation to a psychopath. Does it go far enough?
At one point, he and his wife greet protesters camped on the front lawn of
their English cottage with offers of a cup of tea and apologies for the lack
of soya milk for the vegans among them.
The lunatic you work for
May 6th 2004
>From The Economist print edition
If the corporation were a person, would that person be a psychopath?
TO THE anti-globalisers, the corporation is a devilish instrument of
environmental destruction, class oppression and imperial conquest. But is it
also pathologically insane? That is the provocative conclusion of an
award-winning documentary film, called The Corporation, coming soon to a
cinema near you. People on both sides of the globalisation debate should pay
attention. Unlike much of the soggy thinking peddled by too many
anti-globalisers, The Corporation is a surprisingly rational and coherent
attack on capitalism's most important institution.
It begins with a potted history of the company's legal form in America,
noting the key 19th-century legal innovation that led to treating companies
as persons under law. By bestowing on them the rights and protections that
people enjoy, this legal innovation gave the company the freedom to
flourish. So if the corporation is a person, ask the film's three Canadian
co-creators, Mark Achbar, Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott, what sort of
person is it?
The answer, elicited over two-and-a-half hours of interviews with left-wing
intellectuals, right-wing captains of industry, economists, psychologists
and philosophers, is that the corporation is a psychopath. Like all
psychopaths, the firm is singularly self-interested: its purpose is to
create wealth for its shareholders. And, like all psychopaths, the firm is
irresponsible, because it puts others at risk to satisfy its
profit-maximising goal, harming employees and customers, and damaging the
environment. The corporation manipulates everything. It is grandiose, always
insisting that it is the best, or number one. It has no empathy, refuses to
accept responsibility for its actions and feels no remorse. It relates to
others only superficially, via make-believe versions of itself manufactured
by public-relations consultants and marketing men. In short, if the metaphor
of the firm as person is a valid one, then the corporation is clinically
There is a tendency among anti-globalisers to demonise captains of industry.
But according to The Corporation, the problem with companies does not lie
with the people who run them. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, a former boss of Shell,
comes across in the film as a sympathetic and human character. At one point,
he and his wife greet protesters camped on the front lawn of their English
cottage with offers of a cup of tea and apologies for the lack of soya milk
for the vegans among them.
"Just remember it's the birds that's supposed to suffer, not the hunter."
George W. Bush, advising quail hunter and New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici,
Roswell, N.M., Jan. 22, 2004
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