The Corporation is a well directed documentary against the growing influence of corporations and it goes on to show how the companies decisions affect the various facets of the society. It is directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott based on the novel “The corporation- the pathological pursuit of profit and power” by Joel Balkan. The movie incorporates the views of various experts including Noam Chomsky, Milton Friedman, Michel Moore, Dr Vandana Shiva spanning wide range of fields.
The theme of the story becomes evident when the movie starts with the comparison of corporations with monsters and Frankenstein. It mainly deals with the greed among corporations, which the author calls as a critical flaw in the structure of capitalism, and its adverse effects on various domains. The movie runs for period three hours and it is made into three parts.
The first part tells us how the corporations became as powerful as any government on this planet. The movie starts by giving a brief history about the birth of corporations, how they became legal persons and idea of how it functions. It asks an interesting question “If corporations are persons, what kind of persons are they?” It goes on analyzing the various characteristics of corporate and comes up with a declaration that it perfectly fills the definition of psychopath given by the World Health Organization. Then it talks about the kind of individuals behind the functioning of organizations and the effect of the mindset of these people on the business decisions.
Second part of the movie deals with the enormous influence the corporations have in the life of people. It starts by accusing the corporations for looking for profit in times of human miseries and natural disaster. The moral values in privatising literally every good in earth regardless of whether it is natural or manmade are questioned. The manipulation of the people by the corporations considering them just as a source of income raises doubts of moral values. In the final stages it talks about the role of media and the extent of corporate power in the media sector as well
Third part gives lot of examples of retaliation of the local people against the corporations. The writer gives a lot of suggestion in terms of having checks for the corporations and democratic process for controlling them. It goes on asking questions regarding the nature of Corporate Social Responsibility and ethics in privatising everything. The movie ends with an inspirational speech from many reformists encouraging the viewers to take power into their hands and make world a better place to live in.
The author starts off by attacking the corporations showing his prejudice and from there on he builds on the platform by demonstrating corporations as evil and profit making machines. Though he later tries to show a corporation and its functioning in good light, his introduction to the documentary shows his preconception and what to expect in the rest of the documentary. The director clearly shows that one of the main advantages of corporations is that it is a separate legal entity. The men running the organization have no liabilities if they fail. This insulates them from the risk and also isolates them from the customers thereby making them not to have any moral obligation.
Director conveys his views by giving live examples that took place. He puts forward views of different people from different organizations and increasing the credibility of the source by giving the facts. He uses video tapes of various events effectively. He made sure he had his audio descriptions and the data associated with the visuals go in the background along with the movie. This increased the effectiveness of conveying his message.
Let us analyse how the media was used as an effective weapon by both parties and the effect it had on the minds of general public. With the help of the media corporations do underground marketing by advertising in movies, sponsoring people to wear their logoed garments. They have understood that branding is production not advertising. One of the major expenditures for any company is advertising because they have realised that is the one of the easiest way of reaching people and more importantly efficient way of attracting people.
When the media people decided to take the case of Montano and the effect of its drug on cows, the corps realised the extent of the problem. Taking to the media means taking to the people. It realised the same weapon they used to persuade customers is going to be used against them. They extended their power into the media industry to shut the people from whistle blowing. Though the events were explained properly the final judgement part of it was not given the importance it deserved. If we look at the current scenario it is legal for a television channels to make their reporters lie.
Another example is the issue of manipulating the kids for selling their products. The quickest and the fanciest way of reaching children are used and the exploitation is being done. As the movie says “Initiative is huge. In US we put some 12 billion dollars in media. We put it on TV, we put it outdoor , we put it on radio” “our initiative is to move products and if we know new products with creative execution and put it on media vehicle our job is done ”
Nothing much has change from the day the documentary was made, we still see thousands of children waiting in queue to get a copy of Harry potter book the day it gets released. The marketing has made it a compulsion for the children to have it. It is tough to get out of the craze artificially created and it became a symbol of fashion for the children to possess it.
Though the very purpose of advertising is to get customers know about products, with time advertisements have started manipulating the truth regarding the product and tries to make completely mindless consumers in the words of Noam Chomsky.
The director clearly shows how the corporations put lobbying into effective use. He excellently used the example of corporations patenting the very human genome showcasing the extent to which they go after profits. The documentary has an excellent example of how corporate are accommodated by the government. As explained in the case of UNOCAL though the government had the right to call the stature, it dint because of the heavy political lobbying by the oil company. Also the governments have lost most of their power over the corporations since they have become a global entity.
One of the main issues the movie focuses on is the ethical issue. It starts when the corporations misused the law meant for black people to obtain right to property. The movie is more of a shot gun which talks about the ethical issues in every facet but the impact of sniper or a targeted attack is missing. When the director targets the corporations for not being responsible he makes an assumption that it is entitled to do it since it gets its living from the public. Whenever there is a mistake people tend to focus on it. The case Montano seem to produce so much controversy but the director dint say anything about the good products or the things done by Montano. It could not have become such a big organization without innovations and public oriented research.
As the philosopher explains in the movie even when the people are from paradise they need a small motivation for profit to function effectively. But that quest for profit should not be at the expense of others destruction. The concept of externality clearly explains the mentality of the companies in this regard for making profits. The mentality of companies says that it is okay to break the law if it requires less loss than by complying with the law. If we look at the movie the author talks about the list of top 100 criminal companies.