[Marxism] Corporations by their very nature are psychopathic

Louis Proyect 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."

full: http://www.nyobserver.com/pages/frontpage6.asp


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