Next week sometime...stay tuned...CCHRIST will continue with the first of a film series. We will pick up again with the award-winning documentary, The Corporation, in at least a half-hour segment (considering people have places to go after school).
The film takes an interesting and highly critical look into U.S. imperialism as exercised through the workings of the corporate world.
The meeting will start promptly at 2:30 pm. I will provide snacks so come with somewhat of an appetite. Come to Room 402 or 407 (check both rooms).
Below is some reliable information on the film from http://www.wikipedia.org/
The film was written by Joel Bakan, and co-directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary has been displayed worldwide, on TV and is also available on DVD. Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (ISBN 0-74324-744-2), during the filming of the documentary.
The film charts the development of the corporation as a legal entity from its origins as an institution chartered by governments to carry out specific public functions, to the rise of the vast modern institutions entitled to some of the legal rights of a person. One central theme of the documentary is an attempt to assess the "personality" of the corporate "person" by using diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV; Robert Hare, a University of British Columbia Psychology Professor and FBI consultant, compares the profile of the modern, profit-driven corporation to that of a clinically-diagnosed psychopath. The film focuses mostly on corporations in North America, especially in the United States.
The film is composed of several vignettes examining and critiquing corporate practices, and drawing parallels between examples of corporate malfeasance and the DSM-IV's symptoms of psychopathy, i.e. callous unconcern for the feelings of others, incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, reckless disregard for the safety of others, deceitfulness (repeated lying to and deceiving of others for profit), incapacity to experience guilt, and failure to conform to the social norms with respect to lawful behaviors.
Topics addressed include the Business Plot, where in 1933, the popular General Smedley Butler exposed a corporate plot against then U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt; the tragedy of the commons; Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning people to beware of the rising military-industrial complex; economic externalities; suppression of an investigative news story about Bovine Growth Hormone on a Fox News Channel affiliate television station; the role of IBM in the Nazi holocaust; the Cochabamba protests of 2000 brought on by the privatization of Bolivia's municipal water supply by the Bechtel Corporation; and in general themes of corporate social responsibility, the notion of limited liability, the corporation as a psychopath, and the corporation as a person.
The film also features interviews with prominent corporate critics such as Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore, Vandana Shiva, Charles Kernaghan, and Howard Zinn as well as opinions from company CEOs such as Ray Anderson (from the Interface carpet & fabric company), the capitalist viewpoints of Peter Drucker and Milton Friedman, and think tanks advocating free markets such as the Fraser Institute. Interviews also feature Dr. Samuel Epstein with his involvement in a lawsuit against Monsanto for promoting the use of Posilac, (Monsanto's trade name for recombinant Bovine Somatotropin) to induce more milk production in dairy cattle.
"The corporation is an externalizing machine (moving its operating costs to external organizations and people), in the same way that a shark is a killing machine." - Robert Monks, a corporate governance advisor in the film and former GOP (Republican) candidate for Senate from Maine
Film critics gave the film generally favorable reviews. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 90% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 104 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 73 out of 100, based on 28 reviews.
Variety praised the film's "surprisingly cogent, entertaining, even rabble-rousing indictment of perhaps the most influential institutional model for our era" and its avoidance of "a sense of excessively partisan rhetoric" by deploying a wide range of interviewees and "a bold organizational scheme that lets focus jump around in interconnective, humorous, hit-and-run fashion."
In the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert described the film as "an impassioned polemic, filled with information sure to break up any dinner-table conversation." He felt that "at 145 minutes, it overstays its welcome. The wise documentarian should treat film stock as a non-renewable commodity."
The Economist review suggests that the idea for an organization as a psychopathic entity originated with Max Weber, in regards to government bureaucracy. Also, the reviewer remarks that the film weighs heavily in favor of public ownership as a solution to the evils depicted, while failing to acknowledge the magnitude of evils committed by governments in the name of public ownership, such as those of the Communist Party in the former USSR.
The Maoist Internationalist Movement, in their review criticizes the film for the opposite: for depicting the communist party in an unfavourable light, while adopting an anarchist approach favoring direct democracy and worker's councils without emphasizing the need for a centralized bureaucracy. The film, in their view "offers no realistic alternative to imperialism." and "it shares some of the strengths and downfalls" of Mark Achbar's film Manufacturing Consent, which celebrates the life of anarcho-syndicalist, linguist, and activist Noam Chomsky. In their view, "corporate power for profit [is] not the same as megabureaucracy without profit."
The film was nominated for numerous awards, and won the World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, 2004, along with a Special Jury Award at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival in 2003 and 2004.