Sunday, January 01, 2006
The film uses a framework of examining the actions and basic philosophy of corporations as if the corporation was a real single person. Since corporations are, in the eyes of the law, a person, this seems a pretty good structure to me. It could be argued that corporations shouldn't be held to the same standards as an individual but that's the point. Corporations are able to get away with actions that would put a normal person on trial for crimes against humanity. They are able to do these actions with little or no punitive reaction from government or courts.
First the filmmakers set up a list of characteristics typical of large corporations and compare them to symptoms from the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) which is used to diagnose psychiatric diseases. Again, I think some critics see this as setting up a straw argument but I see it as holding these entities to ethics compatible and beneficial to society as a whole rather than just the stockholders.
Are there examples of "good" corporations in the world? Undoubtedly there are some but when the prime motivating force is maximizing profit and minimizing expense, other "human" considerations fall by the wayside.
I'd recommend seeing The Corporation if you have a chance. Oh, and I think the doc is based on a book which I haven't had the opportunity to read so I don't know whether it's any good.