Corporations define our lives. They dictate global policies, represent popular culture, and control our beliefs. Today thousands of business school students are striving for employment in powerful corporations—deemed an obvious pathway to success. Joel Bakan, in The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, argues that the corporation’s “ideal conception of human nature” has constituted our culture (134). Cleverly engineered by the very organizations that business students admire, the notion—wealth and affluence define success—is imprinted on the global culture. Corporations have been patiently infiltrating young minds and systemically guiding their employees into life-long careers of moral delusion, transforming their “obedient constituents” into corporate characters who are, ironically, turning against their creators (Bakan 134).
Corporation forces our exposure to corporate culture. The beginning of a life-time manipulation, marketing to children is a powerful tool to infiltrate young—susceptible—minds (Bakan 122); it generates a positive feeling subconsciously for corporate brands. Corporations further exert their control over children with generous investment in education. For instance, Pfizer sponsors a school and several educational projects for youth in its neighborhood. These sponsorships introduce Pfizer’s brand name to children of the area, whom Pfizer considers to be its future employees. Pfizer’s school in turn becomes a corporate training camp that “is linked directly to ‘the success of [the] enterprise’” (Bakan 47). Corporate sponsorship for college students Luke and Chris achieves a similar effect. A small monetary contribution allows First USA to exercise full control over two valuable human assets during their useful lives. The credit card company bribes its devoted employees with financial benefits; it then manipulates them into promoting corporate takeover of society to delude even more members of the community (Bakan 135).
Corporate interest deceives public minds. Regardless of geographical boundaries, corporate culture influences society to view money as a primary need and affluence as a desirable want. As a result, people become supportive of a capitalistic—corporate controlled—society, often by devoting themselves to corporations in the form of employment. Corporations continue to control their employees by “mandatory silencing” them with communication policies (Sussman 332). These binding policies are designed to solely protect corporate interest; however, “we are social animals capable of self-reflection and rationalization” (Sussman 333). For instance, Chris Hooper, a corporate television marketing director, expresses his moral discomfort from producing “irresponsible and narcissistic” advertisements with the saying, “I’m sucking Satan’s pecker” (Bakan 126-5). Corporation’s “institutional character,” on the other hand, lacks empathy and social tendencies (Bakan 57). The conflicting moral stand between a corporate character and a human being forces ambitious employees to abandon their integrity and transform into self-driven corporate machines. Many successful corporate employees have taken an “absence [from] moral concerns” (Bakan 54). A competitive intelligence expert, Marc Barry “lies, deceives, exploits, and cheats” in order to satisfy the interests of the corporations he serves (Bakan 55). Barry, along with other corporate characters, is suffering from schizophrenia: “compelled by the corporation’s culture to disassociate [himself] from [his] own values” (Bakan 55). Corporations thereby produce an unhealthy social phenomenon seeking to “remake real people in its image” (Bakan 135) –psychopaths who resemble corporate characters when pursuing their self interests.
Initially corporate culture encourages employees to put corporate interest as their first priority; however, this relationship has changed as the society becomes more