Monday, July 14, 2008

The Corporation

I finally got around to watching "The Corporation", a documentary recommended to me by a coworker a few years ago. I expected it to be a diatribe against corporations and capitalism, simply that it was evil and we should do away with it. What I found instead was a serious look at the history behind corporations, and the "legal person" theory (you have the 14th Amendment, granting rights to slaves, to thank for that - along with hordes of corporate lawyers).

One of the more interesting characters in the film was a man called Ray Anderson, founder of a carpet company. In the mid-90s, he had an epiphany, after customers started asking about his company's environmental considerations. For people who would take the corporatist position on this, his story is important to note, especially considering he's managed to balance profits with social responsibility. In my opinion, the ethical decline the world has suffered is not due to atheism and lack of religion, but a blind adherence to the almighty dollar. This should give those genuflecting businessmen something to chew on.

The main thrust of the film is that corporations have one inherent evil, a drive for profits that gives them an incentive to ignore long-term benefits in place of short-term profits. The idea isn't that capitalism is bad, but that the way it's currently done - in the case of a corporation responsible to no one - is.

It also gives a good reason to stay away from milk in America. Unless you like bacteria-filled pus, that is. Ick. Glad Japan has the sense to limit rBGH.

No comments: