Feb 182006
 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379225/

It’s a "Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance." At least, on the surface it does.

In actuality, it quickly (and I mean, under two minutes) covers the history of the corporation. Then it goes on talk about how corporations as legal persons and also like real people, in that they could be legally psychotic. That’d be amusing case if it was brought to court.

The brunt of this documentary is about how corporations are wronging the people of this world. Therefore, I believe, it is a bit misleading to state that it examines the concept of the corporation. A corporation is a legal entity. Star Industries Incorporated is not engaged in child labour. 58394230 Inc. is not engaged in human rights abuses. This documentary paints all corporations with the brush of evil, while a corporation is simply a legal entity. The people who run a corporation are the issue here, that is, those that make the decision.

Someone, somewhere had to make the decision to use child labour to produce nike’s shoes. Everyone else simply ignored that and kept their eyes firmly on the bottom line. The majority of owners of a typical evil corporation are average Joe’s and Jane’s who either don’t know the company they own is committing such acts, or ignore it. Canadian companies, on the other hand, are near hippies when it comes to corporate rule or images. In a recent poll, Canadian corporations felt that it was their obligation to protect the privacy of their customers, while American corporations largely felt they did it to comply with the law. Unfortunately, a corporation being a collection of people, blame can be sent around very quickly. No ONE person is accountable.

At one point, the issue of ownership came up and the documentarian’s very…"hippie" (for lack of a less accurate word) leanings came to bear. An interviewee stated that while life in medieval times was tough, resources of the land were communally owned.

Business and commerce (and not specifically corporations) have been responsible for the greater amount of increases in quality of living. Certain corporations do things that I do not agree with. Child labour, improperly disposing of waste, exploitation of resources in an improper fashion are all things I disagree with, very strongly. But to say that all are of one cloth is ridiculous. To say that the corporation is the institution of dominance in this century is also an unsupportable claim because it is not backed with enough evidence. It just seemed like a statement they dropped in there.

All in all, I would say that the technical execution of the documentary was impeccable (who was that gal doin the narration, couldn’t have picked a better voice). But I felt it was a little all over the place, and was too generalising. It seems to make the case that corporations are bad, but does not actually seem to have a purpose. It does have a purpose–to raise awareness but I don’t think it does that credibly when it says that is examining the "concept of a corporation throughout history"; it is actually examining the human rights abuses and ethically unsound acts done by a small number of corporations. That is not to say that I agree with any of that. Believe me, I hate some corporations, but I believe the viewer should be informed about the one-sided nature of this documentary. I would say it is more of a "propagantry", like Michael Moore’s work.

I agree with them that the abuses that certain corporations commit around the world should not be allowed, and I agree that certain corporations are acting in ways which amount to crimes against humanity or harrassment, but not all do.

There you, there’s my lame ass review of this movie, with more emotion invested than logic. More doing nothing (except maybe raising awareness) rather than doing something.

I intend to spend my reading week mostly in quiet reflection and meditation. I will be trying to get some of my projects off the ground and get some work done I have been putting off. I wish I could go up to a cottage or someplace and just be alone for a week. But I can’t, so I’ll just have to get some work done here.

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