Friday, December 17, 2004

the corporation

I went to The Showroom to see a film I've been meaning to see for a while now. Gordon Lynch mentioned The Corporation, in his talk at FEED.

Corporations are legally defined as people, so this film sets out to discover what sort of person corporations are. Apparently there are six particular characteristics which define someone as being psychopathic.

callous unconcern for the feelings of others
incapacity to maintain enduring relationships
reckless disregard for the safety of others
deceitfulness: repeated lying and conning others for profit
incapacity to experience guilt
failure to confom to social norms with respect to lawful behaviours

This film gives examples of how Corporations demonstrate all six characteristics.

Now this may not be the greatest film ever made, but as Michael Moore points out towards the end of the film, corporations will do anything as long as there is money to be made. They'll even put out a film that is slagging them off.

There were a couple of other points in the film that have lodged themselves in my mind. First, there was a brief discussion about the monstrous nature of 'the system', where capitalism was compared to slavery. This is something that I'm kind of thinking about in one of my essays for university at the moment. How was slavery overcome? How might capitalism be overcome? This also reminded me of some stuff Walter Wink talks about in his Powers books.

The second thing that stuck in my mind, was the story of
, in Bolivia. I'd first read about this place in One No, Many Yeses. Its a fascinating story of how water was privatised in the city of Cochabamba. It got to the point where it was illegal to collect rainwater! But the people, together, rebelled, and told the particular corporation, and the authorities who had allowed this to happen, where they could stick it. Fantastic.

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