"The Corporation"

Essay by zaneyCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2006

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The motion picture, "The Corporation", explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Illuminating the grip of corporations on our everyday lives using footage from TV, news, advertising and pop culture, the filmmakers accomplished what many fail at - being both informative and entertaining at the same time. Provocatively using the corporation's legal status as a person to classify it as more than a person, but a psychopath based on its 'human' actions and characteristics.

According to American law of the mid 1800's, the corporation became officially recognized as a 'person'. This 'person' was generally imbued with a personality of reckless and obsessive self-interest. Amassing unprecedented amounts of both wealth and costs, corporations today are larger than the economies of some entire countries. One of the largest costs associated with corporations is those deemed 'externalities': the ones that nobody pays. These are generally seen as 'third-party' costs, and are suffered by society but usually caused by the relentless profit-obsessed production of corporations.

Inherently amoral and deceitful, the corporation does not know guilt, breaching social and legal standards for its own short-term gain. The root cause of immeasurable damage to its own workers, human health, animals, the biosphere and the environment as a whole, the corporation, as the institutional embodiment of the invisible hand (or perhaps more fittingly, fist) of capitalism, fully and aptly meets the psychological diagnosis of a true human psychopath.

The filmmakers also raised the notion that perhaps the decision makers behind the corporations (such as managers and shareholders) are truly responsible fro actions taken in the name of the corporation. The fact is that while they individual actors come together to form a corporation, their sole purpose and motive becomes the pursuit of profit. One person being interviewed (some kind of commodities...