If business corporations are the most dominant institutions on Earth today, then what is their nature? This question animates The Corporation, now playing in four Canadian theatres
The Corporation Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, Canada
If business corporations are the most dominant institutions on Earth today, then what is their nature? This question animates The Corporation, now playing in four Canadian theatres. And the answer that emerges -- from interviews with ceos, shots of sweatshops, news conferences, corporate ad campaigns and training films of the 1940s and 1950s -- is a hard-hitting one: a corporation is a clinical psychopath.
In law, today's corporations are treated like a person. They can buy and sell property, have the right to free expression and most other rights that individuals have. This is due to the consistent use of the Fourteenth Amendment to the us Constitution -- designed to protect black people after the 19th century Civil War in the us -- by us companies to proclaim that corporations should be treated as "persons".
The documentary shows four examples of corporations at work -- including garment sweatshops in Honduras and Indonesia. It so demonstrates that this "legal person" is inherently amoral, callous and deceitful. The corporation, it is shown, ignores any social and legal standards to get its way, and does not suffer from guilt even as it mimics qualities such as empathy, caring and altruism. Based on diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization, the documentary suggests, a person with these character traits would have to be categorised as a psychopath.
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