[Marxism] Corporations by their very nature are psychopathic
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 26 08:02:29 MDT 2004
Move Over, Michael Moore!
by Sheelah Kolhatkar
In the soon-to-be-released documentary The Corporation, a commodities
trader named Carlton Brown stares into the camera and describes his
first reaction upon hearing that two airplanes had crashed into the
World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
"How much is gold up?" he wondered. "My God, gold must be exploding!" He
explains that he and his clients went on to mint money as gold futures
shot up and the buildings came down.
Craven attempts to capitalize on tragedy aside, corporations and those
who operate them are destined to behave amorally because, well, that’s
what they do, according to The Corporation, a film that won the World
Cinema Documentary Audience award at Sundance and opens in New York on
June 30. The filmmakers’ reasoning is simple: Corporations by their very
nature are psychopathic.
"Both my parents are psychologists and I did my first degree in
psychology, and in Psych 101 you learn that a psychopath is a person who
is pathologically unable to care about another person," said Joel Bakan,
a 44-year-old law professor at the University of British Columbia and
one of the film’s co-creators. "In law school, the first thing you learn
about the corporation is that it always has to act in its own
self-interest. So if that person was a human, it would be a psychopath."
Mr. Bakan wrote a book about it, exploring the corporation’s 150-year
history and its legal status as a person with a mandate to pursue only
its own economic self-interest. The film was made concurrently,
co-directed by 48-year-old Mark Achbar, who in 1992 made
cult-documentary Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, and
39-year-old Jennifer Abbott. After premiering at the Toronto Film
Festival last year, the film was scooped up by Zeitgeist Films for U.S.
distribution. But the process leading up to that triumphant moment took
nearly seven years. In the course of the production, the filmmakers
interviewed economists and academics, philosophers and C.E.O.’s,
investigating what a modern corporation is and what it means, and
whether any of it is a good thing.
"We wanted to alienate people from the normalcy of corporate culture and
to try to encourage a kind of critical distance, so that people can see
the corporate waters we’re all swimming in," said Mr. Achbar, without
flinching. "Because we’re lost in it. And there are aspects of that
world that are highly problematic, and we take them for granted and
accept them. And we shouldn’t. We should question them."
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