The Corporation

The Corporation

2004, Society  -   18 Comments
Ratings: 8.59/10 from 79 users.

The CorporationIf Academy Awards were given for films most likely to start arguments at dinner tables, this hot-button polemic would have won the 2005 Oscar hands down.

It begins with the revelation that, according to a Supreme Court ruling, a corporation must be considered a person rather than an entity.

Under this definition, reasons profiler Robert Hare, corporations can be categorized as psychopathic because they exhibit a personality disorder: that of single-mindedly pursuing their objectives without regard for the people in and around them.

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7 years ago

Creatio-whaa!? you should have watched the rest of the documentary and you would have realized that the movie was not portraying this topic in black and white.

7 years ago

its really marvelous documentary watch must

Derek Seymour
9 years ago

superb doco. timely rewatch needed with events in HK. Best part when they check off mental disorders in the dsm for corporate behaviour. Watch to see the diagnosis

12 years ago

your all a bunch fox news haters!

12 years ago

by the way as far as corporations go, there is a very good doc that just came out at the sun dance film festival called Hot Coffee, exposing the true story about the infamous Hot Coffee lawsuit that McDonald's and the corporate media twisted, leaving out many crucial facts.

even if in the end you still have your same beliefs on the lawsuit, or the verdict, at the very least this will enlighten you to the other perspective, and balance out what the corporate media has fed us, and what they deliberately held from us

everyone should watch HOT COFFEE, we will learn to withold judgements until we get both sides of the story

12 years ago

"...explain to me exactly why people line up in the thousands to work in these places? Is it maybe because the alternative (that is, life without the corporation in their town) is even worse? Do you honestly expect Nike to move all the way across the planet to a country with no infrastructure, an unstable government, and an illiterate population with virtually no marketable skills and pay them U.S. minimum wage? *facepalm"

Beyond being insensitive, this statement, as well as you whole premise, is simply flawed.

You mention alternatives, well the problem is just that. Our economic system, which is ironically said to be based on the premise of freedom and choice, has done a great job at limiting our choices and forcing itself upon every inhabitant of the earth.

Everytime our earth is polluted, and a different ecosystem is destroyed for the sake of gains (usually, if not always short-term gains, that benefit a minority) we are forcing indigenous, and everday rural people, into the urban environment.

People sometimes use China as the poster-child, because about 200 to 300 million people are said to have benefitted from growth due directly to "open" markets and "free" trade (and I use those words very loosely) - but how about the 700 million plus still living in poverty, mainly rural people who have for centuries depended on their environment to live, and now find that their land is being polluted if not taken from them for the sake of the minority.

Or, the remaining tribes living in the Amazon, whose land is being stolen and teared apart, stripped dry of its resources. They too will soon have to either "urbanize" - meaning turning themselves into cheap labor and relocating near or in the slums of a city - or die.

It's very hard for people in the West, who live in an unrealistic short-sighted expanding bubble waiting to burst, to keep in mind the fact the majority of the world does not live the way westerners live and may not want to live this way either, and if we continue to allow western creations like the corporation to exploit any and every resource in the non-western world so that we can all have cheap ipods, we are creating a politcally unstable and economically inequal world that is not a "win-win" situation.

12 years ago

I watched about 30-45 minutes and I couldn't take it. I'm so tired of this topic being presented in black and white. Corporations are not inherently evil, and everything they do is not uniformly bad. Take for example Deng Xiaoping's market reforms... his policy changes to OPEN THE MARKET AND ALLOW CAPITALISM AND ...OH NO... CORPORATIONS INTO CHINA have raised more people out of crushing poverty within a generation than ALL of the charities, "socially-minded" NGOs, and religions of the world have done in centuries. Are there problems with the overarching political-economic system we have? Sure. But to blame everything on the evil corporations and capitalism is just silly and ignorant.

Corporations also allow global economies of scale that make otherwise impossibly complex and expensive goods and services available to millions of households. If the world were nothing but mom-and-pop sole proprietorships, do you honestly think that things like iPhones, personal computers, cars, the internet or vancomycin would be available in such quantities at such a low cost that virtually every household in the developed world can afford them? Give me a break.

And before you try to shift the focus off of the benefits they bring to the average Joe in the developed world and rant about the vile exploitation they cause in the developing world, explain to me exactly why people line up in the thousands to work in these places? Is it maybe because the alternative (that is, life without the corporation in their town) is even worse? Do you honestly expect Nike to move all the way across the planet to a country with no infrastructure, an unstable government, and an illiterate population with virtually no marketable skills and pay them U.S. minimum wage? *facepalm*

I was hoping this film would present a fresh and insightful perspective into this topic, where real problems do exist, but alas they deliver nothing but neo-hippie party line nonsense.

Corporations DO have too much influence in politics and our daily life. An actual, balanced investigation into the subject is sorely needed, but this is just more of the same rhetoric. I hate being forced to stand up for the corporate side of the argument because I genuinely do believe there are problems, namely the relationship between government and business.

But people like this invariably present the government as a white knight riding in to save the day with more "regulation." If you listen closely to some of the more zealous anti-capitalists, their rhetoric actually resembles Marxist/communist/socialist ideas; capitalist bashing and an enlightened government of Party oligarchs rectifying the situation for the benefit of all. Have you not read anything on 20th century history? Haven't we been over these failed ideas before? Command-and-control economics do not work. Communist "peoples" revolutions are invariably controlled by oligarchies and more often than not buy into their own rhetoric so strongly that they believe that genocide is necessary for various "purification" reasons. The fact that these traits is so common across so many Marxist revolutions indicates that the very ideas are inherently flawed. I for one am not willing to waste my time giving them a second shot.

The fact is that government is just as culpable as the corporations are. The solution is to build a wall between government and business, otherwise business will always manipulate politicians for special privileges, and government will always be willing to hand out legally-granted oligopolies to favored businesses for political reasons.

Atte Mede
12 years ago

The message of the video, so far, appears to be that corporations are legal entity's created for the purpose of protecting the owners from libel. I learn, also, a corporation has no conscience as biologically, it has no capacity to form a conscience, consequently freeing its owners (or masters) from moral and/or ethical culpability for its actions. I predict the video will go on to expose the obvious fact that the owners are compelled by stock holders to instruct the corporation to make as much money as legally possible-taking advantage of, if need be, the laws and labour forces within foreign nations that can provide a product at a cost that will produce the kind of profit desired.

There's nothing presented here so far that I didn't already know. It's capitalism at work, as usual for the past 200 years and it's the legal way that that one group of people become rich by the sweat and toil of others. It's unethical and unfair but legal.

It would appear that US lawyers got the ball rolling in the 19th century by twisting the arm of the courts to judge what a corporation was in light of the 14th(?) amendment created after the US civil war for the intended purpose of guaranteeing the rights of recently freed US slaves.

I'm involved in all of this because I have funds set aside and invested in mutual funds which go on to provide funds for corporations to make profits and cut me in on the action in return for using money that I'm not using at the moment.

The answer to this messed up economic system is to abandon it. It could be abandoned by having legislators impose huge tax increases for corporations and individuals existing in the "West" and evenly dolling out the funds to individuals living in the 3rd and developing worlds.

That won't likely happen because Western nations are something like corporations themselves.

This system was threatened in the 20 th century by two opposing economic systems: Communism and National Socialism. The West destroyed both of them (it can be argued that Red China has abandoned, perhaps temporarily, the pursuit of Communism and is not a threat--a capitalist threat, perhaps, but not a threatening economic ideology).

That's it. I'm writing this like a book report.

12 years ago

Wow very good documentary. I already knew much of the information, but I like the way it was all summed up.

13 years ago

So Galt, above, is saying that we are voting for our demise by buying the products of these corporations. I think Galt should re-examine his arguments. First of all the Federal Government purchases huge amounts of stuff that most people don't agree we need. Most of these items prop up the infamous Military Industrial Complex that saddles us with tons of stuff we don't need.

Second these corporations, since they are legally people, buy tons of stuff too. The things they buy, due to economy of scale, way out pace any particular human person's ability to vote with their pocketbook. Thus corporations themselves, due to their money and their ability to buy things, have unequal voting power. This is not democracy. This is plutocracy and corporatism. Which is one remembers, the original definition of corporatism was in fact fascism. These terms were used interchangeably in their early 20th century heyday.

Finally it's too simplistic to suggest that the only reason to control government is because it's too big. There are hundreds of governments around the world and somebody wants to control most all of them. You cannot say they are ALL too big. Instead you have to get sensible and realize that governments to greater and lesser degrees control the distribution of goods and freedoms. There are always people who are interested in these items and how much they receive. If government is unable or unwilling to give them their share, then people want to control it so it works to their advantage. The thing about US democracy is that democrats decided that the freedoms should be liberally free and most of the goods should be distributed according to each person's ability to attain them in that atmosphere of liberal free democracy. Corporations are obviously not people and do not deserve these freedoms. Therefore, Galt, I ask you: How can we keep disproportionately wealthy super-citizens who cannot suffer by going to jail, who have no conscience, who exist only by a fallacious legal construct, how can we control this type of person? You say spend them out of existence, well I think we've tried that. I say outlaw them or put a human back into legal responsibility for them.

13 years ago

This documentary doesn't seem to understand the difference between corporatism and capitalism ... which is probably important when making a 3 hour documentary considering that the solutions they advocate are the opposite of what is needed.

One touted accomplishment was air quality legislation. This joke of a law didn't ask the polluters to repair any damage. Instead they became the only ones allowed to pollute, thus granting oligopoies and all but eliminating the chance of competition and innovation in an industry that badly needs it.

Moore isn't the rope that corporations will hang themselves with, he is the "do-gooder" that enables corporations to get big, for through his actions, big government can be "sold" to the people, and then bought by 14000 lobbyists and $3 billion in lobbying funds who know that it doesn't take much to corrupt DC.

Corporatism is government run by corporations. The only reason one would care to run a government is if the government is overly powerful. The only way to avoid this system is if the GOVERNMENT is highly restricted.

As for keeping the corporations in check, the people already have the fastest, most direct and most effective means of control ever devised ... purchasing power. Yes, some people might have more than others, but I assure you it is not the upper class that's propping up big corporations. If you want to find the culprits here, we need only look in the mirror.

The only award that this documentary, produced by Big Picture Media Corporation, is maybe a Darwin for promoting our demise.

Claudia J
14 years ago

The Supreme Court is considering the First Amendment Right with regard to 'corporations' & campaign contributions.
They are arguing their 'right' to be able to PUMP more money during the last weeks of campaigns!
Consider the other countries NOW part of some corporations, The Emirates, The Saudis...
They will gain MORE POWER to BUY Our Politicians!
I wish The Supreme Court would be required to watch this before they decide.
Until 'money' is taken out of elections, politicians won't have Our best interests as their goal, but rather their aim to be re-elected by Corporate money.

14 years ago

Creepy but extremely insightful. Everyone will have related to this film, in at least one way, by the end of viewing it.