Synopsis: Using the World Health Organisation's diagnostic check list for personality disorders, The Corporation film examines the 'personality' of the dominant economic form of our times: the transnational corporation. Established in law as an individual person, freed from regulation and enjoying many of the 'rights' we ascribe to real human individuals, the corporation, as “the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism”, pursues its singular purpose of achieving ever greater profits with ruthless efficiency. Impacts on the 'third parties' - communities, the environment, its own workers - of a corporation's activities are relegated to the status of 'externalities'. In doing so the corporation exhibits the personality traits of a “psychopath”: 'callous disregard for the feelings of other people; the incapacity to maintain human relationships; reckless disregard for the safety of others; deceitfulness (continual lying to deceive for profit); the incapacity to experience guilt; and the failure to conform to social norms and respect for the law'. The Corporation was directed, produced and edited by Mark Achbar, Jannifer Abbott and Bart Simpson, and written by Joel Bakan.
The full film can be viewed in sections on Youtube.
Written at the end of the 1990s, this piece surveys the infrastructure utilised by transnational corporations to attain a position of growing global dominance, and how this position plays out in multiple damaging consequences. Whilst some of the statistics are now out of date, the trends and impacts identified remain all too relevant to today. Clarke goes on to proscribe some potential strategies for fighting corporate rule which were directed at the social movements of his day. This article was originally published in 'The Case Against the Global Economy and For a Turn Towards the Local' by Edward Goldsmith and Jerry Mander.
The first Commercial Corporation was created by direct unlawful action by the members of the company. From that date onwards our democratic right to control what Corporations do has been eroded and diminished until virtually no control remained at all. Corporations and Governments have defined this erosion of control as being the liberation of Corporations from the shackles of the past. Corporations have achieved this "liberation" by breaking the law on mass until the Courts and the Government gave up trying to control them.
Jonathon Porritt and Claire Fauset debate the best means to tackle or temper corporate power.
Jonathon Porritt has pioneered a strategy of working with leading corporations to help them become more socially and environmentally responsible. He was chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission between 1997 and 2009, acting as a principal adviser to the British Government. He sets out his vision for change in a recent book: Capitalism as if the World Matters.
Claire Fauset is part of a growing movement of people taking direct action to resist the corporations they see as standing in the way of a transition towards a fair, low-carbon future. She published ‘What’s Wrong with Corporate Social Responsibility?’ with Corporate Watch.
For almost as long as corporations have existed, people have lobbied, agitated and legislated to constrain their power and prevent the social and environmental harm caused by the single-minded quest for profit-maximization. Jess Worth investigates.
Can big business be part of a sustainable future? Or is the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) a contradiction in terms? Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the hot corporate strategies of our era, but should we trust companies to live up to their newly professed 'values'?
This briefing, produced by Corporate Watch in 2004, exposes a little of what makes corporations tick legally: the advantages they gain and the parameters within which they operate. How did this situation come about? How does it affect us? What changes could mitigate or reverse the negative effects of current corporate legal structures? What can non-specialists do about it?
Books, articles, reports and films about corporate rule, plus links to publications and websites where you can find information on related issues as well as groups and campaigns writing and taking action against corporate dominance.