Prof. David Robledo
October 13, 2014
Analysis of the Documentary Film “The Corporation”
The Corporation by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and
Purpose of the documentary: exposition of the corporation’s work, history, controversial impacts and possible future. Exploring and exposing the power and influence of the corporation providing a reflective message suggesting ways that people can control of their lives from this institution.
Thesis of the documentary: “this documentary examines the nature, evolution, impacts, and possible futures of the modern business corporation.”
I. THE CORPORATION
The bad apple
The sport team
A legal Person: The film stresses that corporations have not always existed. They can be dated back prior to the seventeenth century in Europe as not-for-profit entities created to build institutions such as universities and hospitals for the public good. However, in the seventeenth century making money became a key focus. Their wealth was used to finance European colonial expansion—a good example is the East India Company, which was set up in 1600, and at the height of its power influenced over a fifth of the world’s population.
Definition & Process (it’s a definition and process because it start explaining ‘what is a corporation’. In which is define as “a legal person”
What kind of a person is the corporation? It is defined by law the corporation can only consider the interest of their shareholders, and that it is “legally bound to put its bottom line before everything else, even the public good”
What is an externality? Milton Friedman “effect of a transaction between two individuals on a third party who is not involved intro the transaction.” Friedman means that they let someone else deal with the problems of the corporation creates.
Case Histories: In this key section The Corporation addresses its major argument and associates the corporation with an anti-social personality. If the corporation can be viewed legally as ‘a person’ then why not socially? Actual internationally recognized diagnostic criteria are used to judge the behavior of corporations and the picture that emerges is one of the corporation as self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. Four case studies, drawn from a universe of corporate activity, are used to demonstrate harm to workers, human health, animals and the biosphere
Narration and Example
Histories to diagnose the kind of personality that makes the corporation an externality
Harm employees throught the use of sweatshops
Harm the human health by petrochemical industry that is link with cancer, birth defects, and toxic effects (i.e. Prosilac)
Harm to the biosphere which has cause environmental cost resulting from the way corporations operate, and cost that will be passed off to future generations (i.e. EXXON, IBM, Pfizer, SEARS, etc.)
Monstrous Obligations: An important element of The Corporation’s argument is presented in this section. The fi lm suggests that even if the individuals who run corporations are saints, the qualities inherent to the corporation override their personal qualities and enforces its own values of profit above all else
II. MINDSET 47:48
Mindset: hat is the ethical mindset of corporate players? Should the institution or the individuals within it be held responsible for the corporations actions?
Analogy (its analogy because it explains the idea of profit between evil and good, comparing these tree interviews.) The profit motive drives the actions of the corporation that may create good or evil, and creates mindset of competition and anything goes.
[Evil] Marc Barry: describes his tactics for gathering intelligence from competing corporations.
[Good] Ray Anderson: President of the Interface realized he was a