June 15th, 2004

hat

Corporations are psychopathic personalities?

Saw The Corporation last night... the premise of this documentary is that corporations are analogous to psychopathic personalities. It's a level-headed and reasonable assessment, one with which even the Economist concurs. It's only in the last 150 years or so that corporations acquired the legal status of a person (and hence the ability to buy/sell properties and other businesses, the ability to sue and be sued, etc.) And a person with no soul, no moral conscience, and only a desire to maximize shareholder value, is a person to be feared. Over the course of the movie, they enumerate the countless harms inflicted on society by multinationals, building a frightening picture of insanity run amok.


"The Corporation" isn't all po-faced; they used a lot of entertaining found footage from kitschy instructional videos, and their interviews are entertaining. I especially liked the former chairman of Shell, who comes across as a pretty nice guy even as they explain how Shell was directly responsible for the murder of environmental activists in Nigeria. As Chomsky puts it, monstrous institutions make even the nicest people behave like monsters.


Wouldn't hurt to join Global Exchange.