Thursday, December 10

“The corporation’s legally defined mandate is to pursue, relentlessly and without exception, its own self-interest, regardless of the often harmful consequences it causes to others.” Joel Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

I was watching the movie, The Corporation, again and pulled this quote from the introduction of the book that inspired the documentary.

If you haven’t seen the movie, check out the link to the right. I highly recommend it.

The premise of the book, and the primary conceit of the movie, involves the fact that, under international and federal laws, a ‘corporation’ is viewed as a person in the eyes of the law, given rights just like a person, and by the vagaries of law this classification as a person eliminates the liability of the shareholders that own the corporation. The book and movie then observe the behaviors of the corporate ‘person’ as it exists in our society and diagnoses it according to the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Mr. Bakan and the film both make a convincing argument in support of a diagnosis of archetypal psycopathy.

In other words corporations are, as the argument goes, by legal mandate sociopathic.

This might not be news to you. It wasn’t a huge shock to me when I first watched it, but seeing the argument spread out the way it is in the book and movie was a revelation just the same.  This is the defining organization of our time, the single most monolithic institution type in existence. It is what we will be remembered for by future societies (assuming we evolve past this one).

I could go on, but it would just become a sermon, and unless you see it, hear it, and recognize it for truth, anything I have to say about it is moot. Conversely, once you do see, you won’t need me or anyone else to say anything – that’s the beauty of truth; it is self-supporting. So download the movie or go rent it at Blockbuster, or go find it at Better World Books (a sustainable business model).

You may not ultimately agree, and that’s your choice, but at least you’ll be able to say you made an informed decision.