Talk:The Corporation (film)

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Serious POV issues[edit]

I just read through this wiki and cannot believe the level of advocacy. This is not neutral. The endless belaboring of the Economist vs. Chomsky must be cut. I am going to report this as a non-NPOV article. Kasyapa

Done. See reasons above. The summary of the film is so detailed it almost approaches transcript level - which raises copyright issues. The writer's apparent intent is to get as much of the film's anti-corporate message on wiki as possible. Kasyapa

As is, this article is simply ridiculous. It starts off as a discussion of the movie and trails off into a dissertation on socio-economics. I've moved the entire text of the disputed section here so that people may work on it without a lot of reverting and conflicting edits on the main page. I've also essentially chopped each subsection down a paragraph or so to make the article more readable. Unless a paragraph had a direct mention to the film, I removed it. I also removed the bit about "relevant history" at the very end since it seemed to refer to the article author rather than the film. Kerowyn Leave a note 07:27, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
This article is horribly off-topic and definitely not NPOV. The entire section on criticism needs to be removed. The summary needs to be cut down SIGNIFICANTLY. The former especially is very unencyclopedic, with obvious spin for whichever side the last editor came from. I would recommend that the article be written, possibly making it one or two pages long, but I neither have the time nor the inclination.128.54.152.174 07:55, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. This article is horrendous. Definitely one of the worst I've seen on Wikipedia. I'm a fan of the film, and I don't see how reading anything on this page would convince a casual movie viewer that the film is worth watching. Not that it should be convincing people to watch the film, but this article would have the complete opposite effect. Why does 90% of this article focus on one single review by The Economist??? Who is the brainiac who included all of that? This thing needs to be rewritten from start to finish. VietGrant 02:48, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
There are still POV issues, very obvious ones. Refer to the comment Upset at the bottom of the page for reference. Flying Hamster (talk) 09:53, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Transcluded text[edit]

Criticism[edit]

Marxist criticism

The Maoist Internationalist Movement, in their review criticizes the film for depicting the communist party in an unfavorable 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 celebrated 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."[1]

The Trotskyst International Committee of the Fourth International, in their review criticizes The Corporation as a reformist film. In their view, Bakan and Ackbar do not analyze the corporations as necessary products of history in the development of capitalism. They even attack their political motivations:

The role of the working class as the revolutionary “midwife” of a new and more humane society does not even arise for these people. The poor and oppressed in the film are meant to be pitied, perhaps assisted, by their enlightened middle-class friends, but never to be considered as the active and conscious makers of history. The Corporation emerges from an international petty-bourgeois left-liberal milieu. Bakan, for example, made a prominent appearance at the 2001 “Future of Social Democracy in Canada” conference in Montreal, convened by former New Democratic Party (the Canadian social democrats) leader Ed Broadbent. For all their denunciations of corporate wrongdoing, the talking heads in the film, such as Chomsky, filmmaker Michael Moore and others, have rallied behind the campaign of John Kerry, the multimillionaire representative of the Democratic Party and ardent defender of big business and imperialist war.[2]

The Economist criticism and libertarian socialist counter criticism

The Economist review points out that the idea for an organisation as a psychopathic entity originated with Max Weber[3], in regards to statist government bureaucracy. The review does say that "...“The Corporation” is a surprisingly rational and coherent attack on capitalism's most important institution." Also, the review points out 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 government in the name of public ownership, such as those of the Communist party in the former USSR, the Imperial Government in Japan, and the National Socialist party in Germany." The review fails to make the point that the film favours democratic control rather than totalitarian control and conflates the two different structures, assuming a false dichotomy: It's either state control, or capitalist control; without realizing that anarcho-syndicalists and libertarian socialists like The Corporation's director Mark Achbar favor democratic worker's control of the means of production without a state.

The Corporation, in its last section, underscores the fact that democratic control of industry should not be classified as state "socialism" or "marxism", as detractors of economic democracy do. There are a variety of ideologies that are in favor of democratic control of industry, such as anarchism, council communism, libertarian socialism and anarcho-syndicalism. Applying the label "marxist" to anyone critical of colonialism, imperialism or advocating democratic control of the means of production is to disregard the wide variety of anti-hierarchical anti-capitalist ideologies in an attempt to smear democratic control of industry with the doublethink equation:

Democratic control of industry = Totalitarianism

Totalitarian control of industry = Democracy

The fact that The Economist is a capitalist magazine, leads it to ignore an important point that was made in the film: that German fascism, i.e. "National Socialism" was based on a corporatism that was very much supported by American and western capitalists, and had nothing to do with worker's control of the means of production (traditional socialism). American anarchist Noam Chomsky, who appears in the film, says that since declarations of benign intent on the part of leaders are universal and predictable (therefore carrying no information), dismissing worker's control on the grounds that leaders like Stalin or Lenin used lofty rhetoric about socialism's worker's control, is like dismissing democracy on the grounds that Iraq is called a democracy by George W. Bush or that countries like the USSR were called "people's democracies" by their leaders and intellectuals. Chomsky asks several questions: Why wasn't the Soviet Union declared a "failure of democracy" instead of a "failure of socialism"? After all, the Soviet Union called itself both "socialist" and "democratic". Why, when talking about the USSR do we fail to acknowledge the magnitude of evils committed in the name of democracy? Chomsky's answer: Both American and Soviet propaganda insisted on applying the label "socialist" to the Soviet Union. American elites did it to defame socialism, and the Russian elite to exploit "the aura of socialist ideals and the respect that is rightly accorded them" [1] [2].

Chomsky, who deems government to be an illegitimate autocratic institution, and in today's world largely a tool of capitalists, claims that government is nevertheless potentially more democratic that capitalist corporations, which, in his words, are "internally totalitarian and tyrannical". The democratic potential of government is therefore feared by corporations and magazines like The Economist: "[Government] can somehow stand up against private power to some extent... It's not that governments don't do bad things, but that's not what [corporations] worr[y] about. The defect of governments is that they can be influenced by the public. They're potentially democratic, and that's unacceptable. So, you have to demonize government and shift power more and more into the hands of private tyrannies, which are totally unaccountable... "[3].

The Economist review assumes capitalism to be human nature, suggesting that capitalism's coercion is the lesser of two evils. The review compares it with what it deems much worse coercion and totalitarianism stemming from the complete statism that inevitably results from any attempt at having democratic control of the means of production. This ignores the success of the Spanish anarchist revolution (which involved millions of people and didn't rely on state coercion to control the means of production) as well as the fact that the film explains how in the past, many forms of illegitimate authority (monarchy, slavery, Bolshevism etc) were wrongly considered to be "human nature"--implying that any alternative would be disastrous. The film conveys an "economic freedom" that is based on non-hierarchical structures, describing how under capitalist or statist hierarchy, the "freedom" of a minority (capitalists, managers, bureaucrats, advertisers etc) interferes with the freedom of others, and is no more legitimate than the freedom to steal or take someone's life. That is why terms such as "free market" are considered to be propagandistic.

The capitalist "consumer freedom" so often hailed in The Economist is seen not as a democratic mechanism, but as a "one dollar one vote" system, where people are not informed, but deceived by advertising into buying things they would otherwise not want--creating uninformed consumers who make irrational choices due to the billions of dollars spent on selling products with shiny colors, catchy slogans, sexy models, sport stars, rainbows and puppies, cars flying into the moon etc which are an attempt to get a consumer to buy a product on the basis of things that have nothing to do with the product. This violates the very same free market principles corporations claim to adhere to. Participatory economics, which is Mark Achbar's libertarian socialist preference for a future society [4], states that a person's freedom ends where the next person's begins, and in order for people not to interfere with the freedom of others "they should have a say over decisions in proportion to how much they are affected by those decisions."[5]. This implies the elimination of hierarchical institutions like the state and corporations. In the libertarian socialist paradigm, economic institutions are considered to exert tremendous influence on the governments of the capitalist democracies, which are criticized on the grounds that they exclude democratic control of the economy. That's why anarchists agree with Marx's dictum that government is mainly "a committe to manage the affairs of the bourgeoise" [6] though they extend this criticism to communist governments, since they perceive that any government is a means by which a minority controls a majority i.e. a hierarchical institution which implies an inequality of power.

More deeply, capitalist wage labor is criticized on the grounds that the freedom to choose between "work or starve" or "work for this of that boss" doesn't mean it is not an authoritarian and unjust system. This is something The Economist ignores. A slave who can choose his master is still a slave. A person being hit with a hammer who is offered to be hit with a wooden stick or whip will choose the latter voluntarily, but the "freedom to choose" is limited to a coerced set of choices. Capitalist propaganda and the freedoms won thanks to economic surplus and working class struggles in the western world have hidden the fact that at one point wage labor was considered to be worse than slavery, because it was in the interest of a slave owner to take care of his property, while a wage slave is just a "use and throw" tool that can be replaced--a slave to his/her own need. [7] [8] In an economy based on slavery, the slave is sold once and then belongs to that master until the master decides to sell him/her. This differs from capitalism in that the slave is sold once and for all whereas in capitalism the worker must sell him/herself repeatedly by the day or hour or some other unit of time. If the wage contract were made to last indefinitely, instead of for a fixed period of time, it would in fact constitute full-fledged slavery. Thus capitalism constitutes a kind of transient slavery repeated over and over, which is why capitalism is also called wage-slavery.

That is why libertarian socialists advocate worker's control of industry and elimination of autocratic institutions-- to create a society where power (and the responsibility that comes with it) is more decentralized. By relinquishing their role as subservient, unthinking and insentient cogs in a machine, people would feel more responsible and more aware of their actions; they wouldn't be indoctrinated by centers of power, and would become appalled by behavior that now is condoned within the hierarchical institutional structures. Decentralization would encourage the kind of checks and balances and self-examination that are now lacking--bringing the more positive values of human nature to the fore.

Most people don't go around punching and killing people, and the average person wouldn't steal food from a child just because there are no police around and he happened to be hungry. If he did we'd find such behavior pathological, not normal (as you'd expect if we were really so greedy). Yet states have killed millions through war, and corporations will literally take away water from children for profit (e.g. Bechtel in Cochabamba) and kill millions of workers through horrible working conditions and negligence. The institutional magnification of negative human tendencies is seen as the root of the problem. Libertarian socialists believe that in a world economy dominated by corporations with a legal obligation to maximize profit for their stockholders, people starve or die from disease because is it is not profitable to help them. Corporations follow the 80/20 rule and cater to the needs of the affluent-- e.g. producing anti-wrinkle creams for wealthy westerners rather than relatively cheap medicine that would save millions of lives in places like Africa.

The Economist's double standard in distinguishing between capitalist and statist coercion is seen in the ideology of right-Libertarianism, which is often featured in its pages, and is one of the few political theories that justifies slavery. For example, Robert Nozick asks whether "a free system would allow [the individual] to sell himself into slavery" and he answers "I believe that it would." [9] Naturally, "voluntary" slavery in capitalism is based on the desperation, propaganda and inequality of power created by capitalist hierarchy. Another right-libertarian Murray Rothbard thundered against the evil of the state, stressing that it "arrogates to itself a monopoly of force, of ultimate decision-making power, over a given territorial area." Then, in the chapter's endnote, he quietly admitted that "[o]bviously, in a free society, Smith has the ultimate decision-making power over his own just property, Jones over his, etc." [10]

Other workers, not capitalists, produced the means of production. The capitalist obtains them with the money from previous profits. Those profits in turn came from previous profits and so on back to the origins of capitalism. Those original accumulations of money used to start this whole process of capitalist accumulation came from fortunes made as a result of conquest and direct expropriation (such as colonialism) as well as fortunes achieved under pre-capitalist class societies such as feudalism or slavery. Thus from a historical perspective capitalism cannot be considered just. ‘Providing the means of production’ simply means 'allowing it to be used.' Granting permission itself is not a productive activity, it does not produce anything. If producers cease to produce, production will stop in any society, regardless of the economic system. But if owners stop granting permission, production is impacted only if their authority over the means of production is obeyed. Their authority derives from the violent and coercive mechanisms of the state, which ensures that capitalists have this ability to allow or deny access to the means of production by workers. Not only is "providing the means of production" not a productive activity, it depends on a system of organized, systemic coercion to maintain the capitalist's monopoly (or near-monopoly) of the means of production. In the United States the richest 1% of the population (the wealthy capitalist class) owns more wealth then the bottom 95% of the population combined. It is physically impossible for that one percent to work harder then the other ninety-five percent. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. The average American worker works around 50 hours a week; for the capitalists to work ninety-five times more than the average worker he would have to work 4,250 hours a week! There are only 168 hours in a week; it’s not possible for this wealth disparity to be the result of capitalists working harder. [11] In other words, if a libertarian socialist parecon style economy run democratically by the workers paid John $2,500/month for activity X and in a corporate-controlled economy only $1000, the $1500 deduction is due to capitalist exploitation (assuming, of course, a similar real value of money in both economies)

Libertarian socialists don't think "the creation of jobs" or "social mobility" (e.g. a poor person becoming rich) justifies a system. Slave owners also "created jobs" and that didn't justify slavery-- furthermore, if workers democratically run the factories, they create their own jobs and don't need the capitalists. In Colonial Brazil, there were slaves who managed to become free and even become slave owners themselves. It was as rare as workers becoming capitalists in contemporary capitalism, but it did happen and was theoretically possible for many slaves. Just as the theoretical possibility of a slave becoming a slave owner does not justify slavery, the theoretical ability of a wage-slave to become a capitalist does not justify capitalism. If one could go from being homeless to millionaire fascist dictator, that wouldn't justify fascism. In many Leninist states there were individuals who went from being a worker to being part of the ruling class, in some cases even joining the Politburo, yet that does not make Marxist totalitarianism an acceptable system. In the libertarian socialist view, the authoritarian power that the owner acquires by owning the means of production, is a form of statism. The fact that there have been some improvements in the standard of living under capitalism does not justify capitalism. Studies by economists like Richard H. Steckel, have shown that there were significant improvements in the standard of living in American slave societies.[12] That didn't justify slavery.

The risk and effort of a capitalist doesn't entitle him to profit, anymore than a bank robber's risk and effort, since the inequality of power granted by property rights means that capitalist profit results from the exploitation of workers who are always paid less than the value of the goods they produce. It is true that investing usually entails taking risks (one could lose the investment), but just because someone is taking a risk does not mean that s/he is producing anything. Most human activity involves risks of some sort. If a criminal robs someone at gunpoint s/he is taking a risk as well. S/he could go to jail, the robbery could go wrong, s/he could get hurt, etc. That does not change the fact that it is robbery. The same is true of the risks taken by capitalists. The workers take as much of a risk, if not more, as the capitalist. If the business fails the worker is unemployed. The worker is then usually in a worse situation then the capitalist because the capitalist is wealthy and can weather such a situation much easier then those on lower levels of the hierarchy. In addition, many jobs entail risks to workers' life or limb, whereas investment does not.

Capitalists like to claim that their wealth is the result of them working hard by running their business, managing portfolios, etc. A mafia boss also does lots of work to plan his robberies and keep his illicit enterprise going but his actions are still theft. Many capitalists don’t even run a company, they derive their income solely from stocks, bonds, interest, dividends, rent, etc. This attempt to justify capitalist exploitation completely fails in these cases because they aren’t even running a company or doing any work at all. Manipulating portfolios doesn’t produce anything useful; sticking money in the bank and letting it accumulate interest isn’t hard work. Most of the “work” done by capitalists running a business is in reality manipulating workers so as to maximize exploitation (thereby maximizing profit). Most capitalists hire people to do whatever coordination and administration is necessary for production and do little of it themselves. In contemporary capitalism this has lead to the growth of a separate techno-managerial class that controls the workers for the capitalists. In general the higher up the hierarchy and the farther from the point of production the less genuine coordination is done. A thief that does a lot of scheming is still a thief. [13]

In this sense, the Economist review ignores that the libertarian socialist view of states and corporations (and private ownership of the means of production more generally) is similar to St Augustin of Hippo's view of kingdoms:

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a leader, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor. [14]

The Economist review also ignores how capitalist property is based on the coercion of the state, since any attempt by the majority of workers to take over the factories to run them democratically, will be met by state (or hired mercenary) violence, which is used to protect capitalist property rights. In their view, capitalists' support for state coercion, especially in the form of 3rd world fascism (to maintain cheap labor and subordination) [15] shows that they are against state coercion only if it harms their interests. Furthermore, corporations have always relied on state intervention via tax payer subsidized research and development, which entails radical cost and risk shifting-- a violation of free market principles. In the US, for instance the Pentagon system has subsidized technology industry for decades (computers, internet, airplanes, container ships that bring goods from China etc), and similar things can be said of biology-based industry and other heavily subsidized industries such as agriculture. Many protectionist measures such as tariffs and intellectual property rights have been imposed by governments to protect corporations from the ravages of the free market. [16] All currently industrialized countries developed violating free market principles. Only after protectionism had given them an upper hand did they insist on "free market"-- although always partially and selectively--almost invariably as a weapon against poorer countries. Free market policies, such as "comparative advantage" economic models have been a disaster in poor places like Latin America, that's why there's been a shift to the left. Western economists (as well as media and other doctrinal institutions) are part of the supply and demand market system, which entails that their point of view must satisfy the needs of those who can pay them i.e. rich people. That's why they disrespect poor people's democratic decisions to reject their model. Nevertheless, if the United States had followed the "comparative advantage" model, it would now be exporting fish and fur. It wouldn't have developed and industrial economy, nor would anyone else. [17]

Contrary to what liberal and right libertarian criticism asserts, The Corporation doesn't claim that private ownership of the means of production per se is only a product of state intervention. In fact, Mark Achbar had already documented in his film Manufacturing Consent that the distraction and propaganda produced by power structures, such as corporations, helps maintain them in place. Even Marx and Engels talk about protection of property and privilege in pre-state societies in the communist manifesto and liberal historians have documented the existence of different methods of coercion and propaganda to protect private property in prestate societies. [18]. The film just asserts what is obvious from the documentary record: that the State produces propaganda to justify its power and not only issues the corporate charter, but as Thomas Friedman, a pro-capitalist pro-interventionist columnist for the New York Times said,

"The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist -- McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps." [19]

US planners make this clear. So for example in 1997 US space command published a pamphlet titled "Vision for 2020" (available to the general public) which lays out US plans to use space to dominate the world. The beginning of the pamphlet, in Star Wars style slanted text, states, "US Space Command--dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment. Integrating Space Forces into warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict." The pamphlet also says:

"Historically, military forces have evolved to protect national interests and investments -- both military and economic. During the rise of sea commerce, nations built navies to protect and enhance their commercial interests. During the westward expansion of the continental United States, military outposts and the cavalry emerged to protect our wagon trains, settlements, and railroads. ... space forces will emerge to protect military and commercial national interests and investment in the space medium due to their increasing importance. ... The emerging synergy of space superiority with land, sea, and air superiority, will lead to Full Spectrum Dominance. ... The globalization of the world economy will also continue, with a widening between "haves" and "have-nots." ... Space commerce is becoming increasingly important to the global economy. Likewise, the importance of space capabilities to military operations is being widely embraced ... there will be a critical need to control the space medium to ensure US dominance on future battlefields. ... The two principal themes of the USSSPACECOM Vision are dominating the space medium and integrating space power throughout military operations. " [20]

The liberal and right-libertarian dichotomy between capitalism and communism is also flawed. The Soviet Union was more accurately called "state capitalist." The state owned the means of production, and Lenin stated that for him "socialism is nothing but state capitalist monopoly made to benefit the whole people,"[21]). The Soviet Model, although rejected by libertarian socialists like all forms of capitalism and authoritarianism, did nevertheless quite well as compared to capitalist countries like Brazil, which were at a similar level of economic development in 1917, the year of the Bolshevik revolution (one can also compare "communist" Bulgaria with "capitalist" Guatemala). [22] South Korea, which is often called a "miracle" of the free-market, industrialized with massive western aid and through a highly protectionist series of state-guided five year plans-- in that regard similar to the Soviet Union, which also industrialized with state-guided 5 year plans. The same can be said of other hailed "free-market miracles" like Singapore and Hong Kong, which developed with economies coordinated by the state and industrial-financial conglomerates-- benefiting naturally from the cheap labor and raw materials afforded by state repression in places like China. [23]

The idea, supported by many on the right, that a more laissez-faire form of capitalism will fix all of it's problems is based on a selective reading of evidence. Their methodology is to select prosperous countries, claim they are examples of the 'wonders of a free market' (no matter how extensive government intervention in the economy is) and to select poor countries and claim that they are examples of how government interventions ruin a country (no matter how little government intervention exists). In the early 1990s supporters of 'free market' capitalism pointed to Argentina as evidence that their theories were correct - it's prosperity at the time was claimed to be proof that deregulation and the free market are the answer. Several years later Argentina went into a depression and the economy imploded. The "free marketers" then changed their tune - the problem, they claimed, was that Argentina had lots of extensive government interference in the economy. Some even claimed it was "socialist." When the country was prosperous they claimed it was 'free market' but when it became less prosperous they claimed it was 'socialist.' Their selective identification of "free markets" and "government intervention" isn't limited to comparisons between countries. A corporation is basically a centrally planned economy. The different parts take orders from those higher in the hierarchy, they do not trade with each other. Modern capitalism is really a series of interlocking command economies (multi-national corporations) which trade with each other (just as the Soviet Bloc countries traded with each other). Corporations are actually the opposite of markets, the fact that they are defended under the laissez-faire philosophy further shows how facile their support for the "free market" is. Capitalism itself requires government intervention in the economy in the form of enforcing property rights. Without this the system will implode. Advocates of laissez-faire capitalism typically respond with something along the lines that it's the government's role to protect "individual rights" and so such intervention is justified. But left-liberals and state socialists say the same thing - that the kind of intervention they advocate is justified by "human rights" or something along those lines. The laissez-faire capitalist is no more against "big government" than the left-liberal or state socialist, they just disagree on which state policies should be implemented. In reality, whenever people who claim to advocate "shrinking government" in favor of "free market" capitalism get in power they implement extensive government interventions that benefit the rich (beyond enforcing private property). "Free market" regimes have a long record of giving large subsidies to big business, funding the military-industrial complex, following a foreign policy designed to help maintain a favorable foreign investment climate and even imposing tariffs when needed to support weak domestic industries. "Free enterprise" means state protection for the wealthy and market discipline for everyone else. In reality, the reason some countries are rich and others poor has more to do with imperialism then with the degree of government intervention. There is no correlation either way. [24]

Also, as Guatemalan Foreign Minister Toriello said shortly before the 1954 CIA coup, US policy amounted to

"[C]ataloguing as `Communism' every manifestation of nationalism or economic independence, any desire for social progress, any intellectual curiosity, and any interest in progressive or liberal reforms... any Latin American government that exerts itself to bring about a truly national program which affects the interests of the powerful foreign companies, in whose hands the wealth and the basic resources in large part repose in Latin America, will be pointed out as Communist; it will be accused of being a threat to continental security and making a breach in continental solidarity, and so will be threatened with foreign intervention." [25]

Nevertheless, the true measure of libertarian socialism is not to ignore it like The Economist or liberal/capitalist libertarians do by looking at examples of monopoly state capitalist ("socialist") states like the Soviet Union or North Korea, but by examining the unprecedented success of libertarian socialist worker's councils such as those of the Spanish anarchist revolution where the takeover of industry was surprisingly quick, was not based on state coercion, and proved beyond the slightest doubt that modern industry can be efficiently conducted without stock and bond holders and very highly place executives. Wage workers and salaried employees (engineers, technicians, etc.) can themselves operate the complicated machinery of modern industry. Examples are endless [26]

The idea that the state assigns equal priority to protecting "individuals" as it does to concentrations of power, wealth and privilege is refuted by a plethora of historical facts. One of the main messages of The Corporation, is in fact about how the state assigns rights to "legal persons" like corporations, which coupled with their tremendous wealth and leverage-- grant them rights and privileges way beyond real persons. And as regards recent state actions, one might, for instance, calculate the number of American homeless or African children who would be saved with a fraction of the costs of the Iraq war-- which as many experts have demonstrated, would not have occurred if Iraq's main exports were lettuce and pickles. [27] [28]

Noam Chomsky has disputed the Economist's claims, by pointing at corporations' lesser accountability (e.g. governments, unlike corporations, release declassified documents and are generally far more accountable, offering services not based on profit), corporations' responsibility for starvation deaths around the world, global warming and degradation, the over 2 million deaths every year due to work related injury and illness, the daily exploitation, degradation and corruption of human beings, as well as the corporation's influence on government policy (wars or other harmful actions motivated by a perceived material gain). Chomsky cites a comparison by Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen of post-independence democratic capitalist India and Communist China, covering the years 1949 to 1979, which concludes that capitalist social policy in India, just in those years, had killed more than 100 million people, a total exceeding the deaths caused by ALL Communist states after 1917.[29] Many corporations have economies larger than states, and they act together in all sorts of ways, forming cartels and strategic alliances, so The Economist's claim that the modern state is "infinitely more powerful" than corporations is obviosly not true, not only because of the meaning of the word "infinity", but because of the misunderstanding of corporations' influence in the world. In a world economy largely controlled by corporations, to deny capitalist responsibility for the close to 3 billion human beings living on less than $2/day and the over 1.2 billion living on less than $1/day is to deny reality. Erich Fromm has analyzed the harmful psychological consequences of renting oneself to survive under wage labor, explaining how subordination of the worker to the owner under capitalism, results in a diminishment of human freedom and a variety of pathologies [30].

Libertarian socialists like Mark Achbar and Chomsky, believe that their ideology represents the tradition of classical liberalism, which in their view is at its core anti-capitalist.

Classical liberal thinker Wilhelm von Humboldt, for instance, expreses a concern for spontaneity that touches the question of labor and exploitation. He observes that

"[M]an never regards what he possesses as so much his own, as what he does; and the labourer who tends a garden is perhaps in a true sense its owner, than the listless voluptuary who enjoys its fruits. . . . In view of this consideration, it seems as if all peasants and craftsmen might be elevated into artists; that is, men who love their labour for its own sake, improve it by their own plastic genius and inventive skill, and thereby cultivate their intellect, ennoble their character, and exalt and refine their pleasures. And so humanity would be ennobled by the very things which now, though beautiful in themselves, so often serve to degrade it. . . But, still, freedom is undoubtedly the indispensable condition, without which even the pursuits most congenial to individual human nature, can never succeed in producing such salutary influences. Whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very being, but remains alien to his true nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies,but merely with mechanical exactness."

If a man acts in a purely mechanical way, reacting to external demands or instruction rather than in ways determined by his own interests and energies and power, “we may admire what he does, but we despise what he is.” [[31]]

On such conceptions Humboldt grounds his ideas concerning the role of the state, which tends to “make man an instrument to serve its arbitrary ends, overlooking his individual purposes.” His doctrine is classical liberal, strongly opposed to all but the most minimal forms of state intervention in personal or social life. Writing in the 1790s, Humboldt had no conception of the forms that industrial capitalism would take. Hence he is not overly concerned with the dangers of private power.

"But when we reflect (still keeping theory distinct from practice) that the influence of a private person is liable to diminution and decay, from competition, dissipation of fortune, even death; and that clearly none of these contingencies can be applied to the State; we are still left with the principle that the latter is not to meddle in anything which does not refer exclusively to security. . . ."

He speaks of the essential equality of the condition of private citizens, and of course has no idea of the ways in which the notion “private person” would come to be reinterpreted in the era of corporate capitalism. He did not foresee that democracy with its motto of equality of all citizens before the law and Liberalism with its right of man over his own person both would be wrecked on realities of capitalist economy. [[32]]

He did not foresee that, in a predatory capitalist economy, state intervention would be an absolute necessity to preserve human existence and to prevent the destruction of the physical environment.

As Karl Polanyi, for one, has pointed out, the self-adjusting market “could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society; it would have physically destroyed man and transformed his surroundings into a wilderness.”

Humboldt did not foresee the consequences of the commodity character of labor, the doctrine (in Polanyi’s words) that “it is not for the commodity to decide where is should be offered for sale, to what purpose it should be used,at what price it should be allowed to change hands, and in what manner it should beconsumed or destroyed.” [[33]]

But the commodity, in the case, is a human life, and social protection was therefore a minimal necessity to constrain the irrational and destructive workings of the classical free market. Nor did Humboldt understand that capitalist economic relations perpetuated a form of bondage which, as early as 1767, Simon Linguet had declared to be even worse than slavery:

"It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat, and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live. It is want that drags them to those markets where they await masters who will do them the kindness of buying them. It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him. . . . What effective gain has the suppression of slavery brought him?.. . . He is free, you say. Ah! That is his misfortune. The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him. But the handicraftsmen cost nothing to the rich voluptuary who employs him. . . . These men, it is said, have no master–they have one, and the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is need. It is this that reduces them to the most cruel dependence."

If there is something degrading to human nature in the idea of bondage, then a new emancipation must be awaited, Fourier’s "third and last emancipatory phase of history, which will transform the proletariat to free men by eliminating the commodity characterof labor, ending wage slavery, and bringing the commercial, industrial, and financial institutions under democratic control." [[34]]

Perhaps Humboldt might have accepted these conclusions. He does agree that state intervention in social life is legitimate if

“freedom would destroy the very conditions without which not only freedom but even existence itself would be inconceivable” –precisely the circumstances that arise in an unconstrained capitalist economy [[35]] as described in the film The Corporation.

Classical liberal and capitalist libertarian criticism

Nevertheless, under the Nazi regime the only real benefit for capitalism as a whole was the fight against Communism[4] and not the protection of property rights from the fascist state.[5] In fact, both The New Deal and corporatism were supported by the status quo of American businessman in order to survive from a potential Marxist political influence on worker class. Even when FDR presidency was democratic, its economy copied the fascist-style of the Nazi's welfare-warfare state.[6]

Classical liberals and libertarians respond that the government should not be a tool of the capitalists if their property rights are protected by law,[7] and that the political power in hands of some present capitalists does not help to create a capitalist economic policy[8]. On the contrary, it helps to create different ways of statism, and this is recognized by Noam Chomsky himself[9]. Although, Chomsky and others[10] try to attribute to an imaginary fascist economic planning the economic successes of the capitalist markets of Singapur, New Zealand or Chile whereas nobody can give an example of economic success among countries like North Korea, Belarus or Cuba[11] where all the companies have been nationalized. If the economic development were not attributable to the free market, then the private corporations would be the only source of the capitalist achievements. Even Amartya Sen recognize that the only solution to famine is the mix between pluralist democracy and capitalist free markets, specially in the case of overpopulated third world countries with various ways of mercantilist and egalitarian collectivist policies against free trade with international corporations[12]. For instance, the coercion inside the capitalist corporations is limited to the voluntary participation of the wage-earner[13]. A totalitarian tyranny implies a complete subordination of the individual life. In any case, the defenders of capitalism admit that the internal functioning of a private enterprise is far from being democratic, but it doesn't mean that is tyrannical or totalitarian, because the employees has not created it and must not live inside. For them, only governments must be collectively administrated by a democracy, not the civil society and their private institutions.[14]. Under a capitalist policy the free market decides what is useful and profitable to produce, and the internal planning of the corporations it's decided afterwards:

The entrepreneur is in a position to separate the calculation of each part of his business in such a way that he can determine the role that it plays within his whole enterprise. For the public every firm or corporation is an undivided unity. But for the eye of its management it is composed of various sections, each of which is viewed as a separate entity and appreciated according to the share it contributes to the success of the whole enterprise. Within the system of business calculation each section represents an integral being, a hypothetical independent business as it were. It is assumed that this section “owns” a definite part of the whole capital employed in the enterprise, that it buys from other sections and sells to them, that it has its own expenses and its own revenues, that its dealings result either in a profit or a loss which is imputed to its own conduct of affairs as separate from the results achieved by the other sections. Thus the general manager of the whole enterprise can assign to each section’s management a great deal of independence. There is no need for the general manager to bother about the minor details of each section’s management. The managers of the various sections can have a free hand in the administration of their sections’ “internal” affairs. The only directive that the general manager gives to the men whom he entrusts with the management of the various sections, departments, and branches is: Make as much profit as possible. And an examination of the accounts shows him how successful or unsuccessful they were in executing the directive.[15]

In a socialist system, different states and their central plannings decide what is useful, and countries work like entire factories:

Accounting and control--that is mainly what is needed for the "smooth working", for the proper functioning, of the first phase of communist society. All citizens are transformed into hired employees of the state, which consists of the armed workers. All citizens becomes employees and workers of a single countrywide state “syndicate”. All that is required is that they should work equally, do their proper share of work, and get equal pay; the accounting and control necessary for this have been simplified by capitalism to the utmost and reduced to the extraordinarily simple operations--which any literate person can perform--of supervising and recording, knowledge of the four rules of arithmetic, and issuing appropriate receipts.[16]

Their enterprises do not depend of forced consumers, and the absence of an evaluation of profits destroy the price system. The voluntary trade decides the plans, but the plans don't decide the trade. This last thing happens between socialist nations whose frontiers are decided by war and force, and it can't be compared to relations between commercial corporations.

Another important subject of the capitalism is the social mobility, which must not be misunderstood as a possible freedom, but in fact as the result from the freedom by itself: "To assign to everybody his proper place in society is the task of the consumers"[17]. This situation reflects that the classes in a capitalist society are classes and not castes. It is not, then, the risk the one that gives rights to profits to the industralist. In fact a dangerous decision can be unfortunate. Is the risky but correct entrepreneural decision the one that is awarded in the market, making the capital valuable, whether is this possessed or led.[18] To consider that risk deserves to be awarded is as absurd as to consider that it does not have any value. If the industralist risk was as worth as the risk of a thief, then the effort of a wage-earner would be as valuable as the thief's effort. The successes or failures of the enterprise risk, the capitalist investment and the wage-earning effort, depend on their own value. In the case of the thief they depend on the value of the robbed thing. The contrast among the market and power is absolute[19].

The Economist review suggest that capitalism's coercion is the lesser of two evils, comparing it with what it deems much worse coercion and totalitarianism stemming from the complete statism that inevitably results from any attempt at having democratic control of the means of production. But the review suggests that totalitarianism results from a complete statism, and because of this, even a democratic public ownership is based upon the coercive force of the State and it implies an economic totalitarian democracy against an impossible to collectivize consumer's economic individual freedom, since the personal decisions of the buyers cannot be represented in public form. It does not imply that the “unequal voters” in the market must be able of decision on the totality of the consumers, thing that it happens in the “one man, one vote” collective system, no matter how egalitarian it can be.[20] This market freedom when is sacrificed gives an absolute power to the state:

Infinitely more powerful than firms and far less accountable for its actions, the modern state has the capacity to behave even in evolved western democracies as a more dangerous psychopath than any corporation can ever hope to become: witness the environmental destruction wreaked by Japan's construction ministry.[21]

As George Orwell pointed at the Hayek's Road to Serfdom:

It cannot be said too often -- at any rate it is not being said nearly often enough -- that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish inquisition never dreamt of.[22]

In the socialist view, capitalism support state coercion because it stops workers to take over the factories. But this criticism forgets that the classical liberal position are not for state coercion only for defend capitalist interests, but only in order to defend from violence those interests based upon private property and free-market exchange. Neither the semisocialist worker's self management[23] nor the socialist people's state management[24] can survive without violent expropriations and/or taxation to previously created capitalist enterprises[25]. In order to survive without help they need convert themselves from social managers into profit-seeking entrepreneurs[26]. The economist George Reisman explains how "wages are not the primary form of income in production. Profits are. In order for wages to exist in production, it is first necessary that there be capitalists. The emergence of capitalists does not bring into existence the phenomenon of profit. Profit exists prior to their emergence. The emergence of capitalists brings into existence the phenomena of wages and money costs of production."[27]. The laborist myth of a primitive accumulation of capital exploiting the collective work depends of two myths: the marxist use of working time instead of the creative work[28] to measure the productivity[29] in the labour theory of value, and the belief in a self-reproductive capital. Mises explains it in Human Action:

An existence has been attributed to "capital", independent of the capital goods in which it is embodied. Capital, it is said, reproduces itself and thus provides for its own maintenance. Capital, says the Marxian, hatches out profit. All this is nonsense. [...] the employment of the gross proceeds, their allotment to the maintenance of capital, consumption, and the accumulation of new capital is always the outcome of purposive action on the part of the entrepreneurs and capitalists. It is not "automatic"; it is by necessity the result of deliberate action. and it can be frustrated if the computation on which it is based was vitiated by negligence, error, or misjudgment of future conditions.

Historical confirmation can be found in Nobel Prize Prof. Hayek's Capitalism and the Historians:

The actual history of the connection between capitalism and the rise of the proletariat is almost the exact opposite of that which these theories of the expropriation of the masses suggest. [...] The proletariat which capitalism can be said to have 'created' was thus not a proportion of the population which would have existed without it and which it degraded to a lower level; it was an additional population which was enabled to grow up by the new opportunities for employment which capitalism provided.[30]

It's also a myth that all currently industrialized countries developed their economies thanks to violate free market principles. The economies that applied greater reforms of free market showed a greater industrialization. The industrial revolution happened in spite of protectionism, and non thanks to him[31]. The central planning and the protectionistic autarky sank to India in the misery[32], whereas the liberalization and the free commerce developed to Hong Kong[33]. In addition, Social-Democratic interventionism is a recent phenomenon. The reason some countries are rich and others poor has more to do with the degree of government intervention then with a marxist vision of colonialism. All the Indices of Economic Freedom proves it. The only example that seems contradictory is Argentina, but it's not[34].

The Corporation assumes that the corporations are a creation of the state[35] and not a creation of the individuals, because the State protects the private property with his repressive apparatus. The criticism against Balkan's thesis[36] explains that the state monopoly of the legal service of the defense does not imply that the state is the creator of the corporations, as well as the traffic guide is not the one that moves the cars. The protection of the property is applied to all the individuals and their businesses, not only to the great corporations (do not confuse protection to private property with social welfare). Neither the small businesses nor the great private corporations are generated with subsidies paid by all. This critic against The Corporation emphasizes that the protection of the private property is not a subsidy, analyzing capitalism like a product of an universal system of private property rights. This is the basis of the ethics of profit making[37] and corporations[38]. The private appropriation that occurs within the frame of the property continues being voluntary:

The film's attempt at a history of property rights ignores the basic issue – scarcity – and leaves the erroneous impression that private property is a decreed status bestowed by State. No – property precedes State, and occurs outside the auspices of State. Up until the last 500 years or so, property was generally defined by polycentric and/or traditional law – "discovered" law rather than "decreed" law – at least in Western Civilization. Historically, State-defined property, indeed State legal systems in general, are a recent phenomena. [...T]he narrator talked about how terrible private property was and how good the commons works. The very next shot was of a factory spouting dirty smoke into the air! So much for how well the commons works. Are the filmmakers aware of how they visually demolished their previous point? Let me more properly formulate my criticism: The filmmakers showed complete ignorance of the relationship of private property to externalities. Commons lets everyone shove the costs onto everyone else – the well-known tragedy of the commons. When something is privatized, then the costs tend to be internalized. An owner has an interest in maintaining his property's value, so he has an incentive to prevent dumping, and to seek compensation if someone does dump. In short, the best way to prevent externalities affecting something is to make it private property. Conversely, the best way to spoil and trash something is to make it commons.[39]

Unlike societies where the private property is restricted to a minority with legal privileges (slavery, feudalism), the capitalist system does not assign by state coercion the inequalities in the amount of private wealth. Because of that the Marxist historical materialism defines the exploitation in the capitalist mode of production like economic coercion and not like extraeconomic coercion.[40] Balkan does not consider in its critic that the action of the State for the protection of the property happens solely in case the private property must be defended against the aggression and the beginning of the force. However all collectivist administration implies a state interventionism for the redistribution of the wealth, and this one requires the permanent activity of the State, it does not matter that individual or groups try or not to violate the collective property[41]. That's the difference between classic liberal's individual rights (that doesn't need government activity except for defense of private property rights) and the left-liberal's "social rights" (that includes a. anticapitalist deficitarian subsidies to mercantilist corporations and b. mutually interdependent subsidies to unemployed capital and labor as well)[42].

The Corporation presents a negative vision of a complete privatist society[43] accepting the socialist paradigm (libertarian[44] and not-libertarian alike) without a further analysis or discussion. The film uses the common myths[45] about capitalism in different ways, not only against advertising[46], but also to revert the meaning of an out-of-context quote to Milton Friedman[47].

The very existence of highest corporations that depend of the market to seek profits[48], that have less power over individuals than lowest democratic bureaucrats, proves that Michael Moore's quote to Lenin on the film denies the entire liberal argument about a corporative "class state" political power. In Milton Friedman's own words:

Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority. The preservation of freedom requires the elimination of such concentration of power to the fullest possible extent and the dispersal and distribution of whatever power cannot be eliminated — a system of checks and balances.[49]


Relevant history missed by the author

The author missed the Belgian Congo as part of the evolution of the modern Western corporation. The Belgian Congo (known at the time as Congo Free State) was a Belgian corporate entitiy that was in effect owned and operated by King Leopold for his own personal profit. The Belgian Parliament did not succeed in getting full control over the Congo until the Kings' death.

  • The Belgian Congo, with respect to front companies and the manipulation of public opionon are part of the history of the modern Western corporation.
  • The King essentally created corporations, dummy companies and other corporate entities to start and oversee a total exploitation of the Congo region.
  • The way corporations evolved in the post-Colonial era (after WWII) was heavily influenced by Leopold's innovations.

Most documentation concerning Leopold's administration of Congo was burned when the King handed over the territory to the Belgian Government, and the Belgian diplomatic service has classified most other documents due to their sensitivity.



Another option:

Transcluded text[edit]

Criticism[edit]

Marxist criticism

The Maoist Internationalist Movement, in their review criticizes the film for depicting the communist party in an unfavorable 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 celebrated 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."[50]

The Trotskyst International Committee of the Fourth International, in their review criticizes The Corporation as a reformist film. In their view, Bakan and Ackbar do not analyze the corporations as necessary products of history in the development of capitalism. They even attack their political motivations:

The role of the working class as the revolutionary “midwife” of a new and more humane society does not even arise for these people. The poor and oppressed in the film are meant to be pitied, perhaps assisted, by their enlightened middle-class friends, but never to be considered as the active and conscious makers of history. The Corporation emerges from an international petty-bourgeois left-liberal milieu. Bakan, for example, made a prominent appearance at the 2001 “Future of Social Democracy in Canada” conference in Montreal, convened by former New Democratic Party (the Canadian social democrats) leader Ed Broadbent. For all their denunciations of corporate wrongdoing, the talking heads in the film, such as Chomsky, filmmaker Michael Moore and others, have rallied behind the campaign of John Kerry, the multimillionaire representative of the Democratic Party and ardent defender of big business and imperialist war.[51]

The Economist criticism

The Economist review suggest that capitalism's coercion is the lesser of two evils, comparing it with what it deems much worse coercion and totalitarianism stemming from the complete statism that inevitably results from any attempt at having democratic control of the means of production. But the review suggests that totalitarianism results from a complete statism, and because of this, even a democratic public ownership is based upon the coercive force of the State and it implies an economic totalitarian democracy against an impossible to collectivize consumer's economic individual freedom, since the personal decisions of the buyers cannot be represented in public form. It does not imply that the “unequal voters” in the market must be able of decision on the totality of the consumers, thing that it happens in the “one man, one vote” collective system, no matter how egalitarian it can be.[52] This market freedom when is sacrificed gives an absolute power to the state:

Infinitely more powerful than firms and far less accountable for its actions, the modern state has the capacity to behave even in evolved western democracies as a more dangerous psychopath than any corporation can ever hope to become: witness the environmental destruction wreaked by Japan's construction ministry.[53]

As George Orwell pointed at the Hayek's Road to Serfdom:

It cannot be said too often -- at any rate it is not being said nearly often enough -- that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish inquisition never dreamt of.[54]

The classical liberal criticism

The Corporation assumes that the corporations are a creation of the state[55] and not a creation of the individuals, because the State protects the private property with his repressive apparatus. The criticism against Balkan's thesis[56] explains that the state monopoly of the legal service of the defense does not imply that the state is the creator of the corporations, as well as the traffic guide is not the one that moves the cars. The protection of the property is applied to all the individuals and their businesses, not only to the great corporations (do not confuse protection to private property with social welfare). Neither the small businesses nor the great private corporations are generated with subsidies paid by all. This critic against The Corporation emphasizes that the protection of the private property is not a subsidy, analyzing capitalism like a product of an universal system of private property rights. This is the basis of the ethics of profit making[57] and corporations[58]. The private appropriation that occurs within the frame of the property continues being voluntary:

The film's attempt at a history of property rights ignores the basic issue – scarcity – and leaves the erroneous impression that private property is a decreed status bestowed by State. No – property precedes State, and occurs outside the auspices of State. Up until the last 500 years or so, property was generally defined by polycentric and/or traditional law – "discovered" law rather than "decreed" law – at least in Western Civilization. Historically, State-defined property, indeed State legal systems in general, are a recent phenomena. [...T]he narrator talked about how terrible private property was and how good the commons works. The very next shot was of a factory spouting dirty smoke into the air! So much for how well the commons works. Are the filmmakers aware of how they visually demolished their previous point? Let me more properly formulate my criticism: The filmmakers showed complete ignorance of the relationship of private property to externalities. Commons lets everyone shove the costs onto everyone else – the well-known tragedy of the commons. When something is privatized, then the costs tend to be internalized. An owner has an interest in maintaining his property's value, so he has an incentive to prevent dumping, and to seek compensation if someone does dump. In short, the best way to prevent externalities affecting something is to make it private property. Conversely, the best way to spoil and trash something is to make it commons.[59]

The Corporation presents a negative vision of a complete privatist society[60] accepting the socialist paradigm (libertarian[61] and not-libertarian alike) without a further analysis or discussion. The film uses the common myths[62] about capitalism in different ways, not only against advertising[63], but also to revert the meaning of an out-of-context quote to Milton Friedman[64].

Blind RV[edit]

Another blind RV from Mr. Lopez. I sincerely apologize for the POV adjustments in sentence structure. J. Parker Stone 06:49, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Shouldn't this be the Wresting group article instead of some obscure propaganda film?[edit]

I typed the "The Corporation" expecting to see an article about the old Pro Wrestling faction led by Vince McMahon, but I get some article about some propaganda film I've never heard of? This article appears to be absolute libelous garbage. It needs to have a warning stating that it is pov on the page so nobody actually falls for this garbage. 205.166.61.142 20:03, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Check out The Corporation (professional wrestling). Although, you do seem to have a point that perhaps 'The Corporation' should be a disambiguous page and this article should be at "The Corporation (film)". What are everyone else's thoughts on the matter? --Bobblehead 21:05, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
A search on Google and Altavista brings these results:
  • Altavista +"The Corporation" +wrestling (136,000 results)
  • Altavista +"The Corporation" +movie (1,120,000 results)
  • Google The Corporation AND wrestling (3,830,000 results)
  • Google The Corporation AND movie (55,600,000 results)
--Aelffin 17:09, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

It should't need a warning stating its one persons opinion as it is about a film which has that opinion. Im not sure whether a wrestling team should have priority, wrestling is garbage if anything! you should grow up.

I'm not sure wrestling is garbage. It's like a 'soap opera' for men and believe it or not, many times has story lines with social commentary. And I dig this documentary. Covers stuff I've been 'wrestling' with for some 10 or so years. har!

Hehe! I wrote most of the article and I thank Aelffin for nicely ripping reactionary conservative ip addresses a new asshole. Andman8 21:40, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

This is an article about a non-notable film and should be deleted as per I forget the Wikipedia policy. 205.166.61.142 03:13, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Hardly a non-notable film! Perhaps if you actually watched it you'd understand it's importance. :: ehmjay 19:16, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Clearly, to some people wrestling is as obscure as this documentary film, a fact which does not diminish its notability. Certainly, an article is meant to describe and not to advocate. An article about the Nazi party does advocate the extermination of Jews. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Talinus (talkcontribs).

Exxon Valdez[edit]

Why is the Exxon Valdez disaster described as a 'mishap'? It was just slightly more than a mishap, I feel.

Polluted river[edit]

Can someone who knows this film well help me out? There is a scene (i think it's in the history part) about a new formed corporation polluting a river while the members who made the decision to pollute the river didn't actually want to do it (i think they fished there or something). Does this story have a page on this wiki or can I find it elsewhere? Thanks. TheTyrant 20:05, 15 November 2006 (UTC)TheTyrant

What happened to the external links?[edit]

Were they removed on purpose? Why? I can't even find the diff where they were removed in that huge horrible list of changes by 75.42.133.17 --Closedmouth 12:49, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Looks like the anon forgot to put an end tag on a reference. --Bobblehead 12:54, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Wow, a tiny little mistake like that can really cause a lot of damage to the article. --Closedmouth 12:58, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Criticisms Section[edit]

Why the hell is the MIM even mentioned? The MIM are a tiny and insignificant political group in the United States that is only well known because of its incredibly extreme positions ('all sex is rape under capitalism', 'there is no white working class' etc), its hillarous website (which include movie and game reviews) and its strong internet presence, particularly on various left-wing forums. Indeed, I'd go as far as to say that in most likelyhood the paragraph was added by a MIM-er or a MIM sympathiser. Should we list the views of every tiny crackpot organisation? No, no we should not. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 203.114.182.17 (talk) 23:09, 10 January 2007 (UTC). (I always forget to sign my posts...Gegen No, in fact, the MIM section was added by me, and I'm an anarchist who thinks authoritarian socialism is a geriatric disorder.

Concerning NPOV[edit]

If this were an article on almost anything else, the NPOV arguement would be warranted. Problem is, this article is about a film which is itself non-NPOV. Thus, the article itself is bound to be non-NPOV. Concerning the Economist v. Chomsky bit, whoever said it is only partially right. Generally in my time on Wikipedia there's always been a criticism section that presents either diametric opposition thought, or mere alternative views. I suppose that rather than lynching The Economist, we ought to diversify the criticism section. Vegasrebel29 20:03, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Do not debate your opinions in the text of a Wikipedia article[edit]

I reverted every section except the detailed plot summary back to June of 2006. THe criticism section was basically a dialectic between several far left and far right political philosophies. Several anonymous editors, apparently not farmiliar with Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a soapbox, were able to have ongoing debates between their political philosophies throughout the criticism section especially. It's kind of strange that it's taken half a year to revert them. Oh well.--Urthogie 02:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)


Case Histories: Honduras?[edit]

The article describes the Kathie Lee Gifford apparel incident as occurring in Honduras. However, I'm pretty sure that in the film, Charles Kernaghan visits an El Salvador sweatshop. Unless anyone knows better, I'm going to switch this. Maxisdetermined 01:08, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

The related book says Honduras. I've not seen the film recently. 86.53.37.59 (talk) 00:21, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Editing in Process[edit]

I'm currently trying to pare the film summary down substantially; right now I only have the time to make micro-edits (eg; taking out the most ergregious POV issues). Unfortunately, the way in which the film itself jumps around makes things tricky (why the heck couldn't they have put all the Monsanto stuff in one section? Oh well), but I think the article would be best served by very brief descriptions of the segments, with copious internal links. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 148.85.45.176 (talk) 03:33, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Geez, this is hard to do...new plan: I'm going to eventually nix all of the individual segment sections and simply give a brief list of general issues addressed, with sufficient internal linkage. This means gutting the article, but so be it.

I might also add a critical response section, mention the movie was well-received, etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 148.85.45.176 (talk) 03:49, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't think this article is in need of any major change. Your previous mass deletes are unwarranted, and have been reverted by others. Serouj (talk) 04:07, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Are you kidding? The suggested plot summary cap is like 900 words....the current "summary" (which is really just a blow by blow synopsis ) is over 2400. I'm fine with keeping some of the better written sections (eg, the one on the business plot is good), but there needs at least to be some improved writing...surely you agree that not every little detail in what is quite a long film is necessary —Preceding unsigned comment added by 148.85.214.107 (talk) 15:31, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I think all details should be kept, and indeed add value to the article. If you'd like to write a shorter summary, then create a new section preceding it. Serouj (talk) 22:49, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm with Serouj. Instead of swiftly "gutting" the article, I suggest we do this slowly, so to avoid friction. Let's identify and remove wording that we all agree is unnecessary, and move forward from there. smb (talk) 00:04, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

I've trimmed the extremely long plot summary to the overview section. That is quite adequate. --Tony Sidaway 01:57, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Self-reverted. I had forgotten to check the talk page for prior discussion. --Tony Sidaway 01:58, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: trim the long plot summary to the overview[edit]

I propose that we trim the plot summary (currently nearly 4,000 words in length) to just the overview section. --Tony Sidaway 02:01, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

There being no comments on this proposal to date, I propose to go ahead and perform the edit on 7 February if there are no objections or queries. --Tony Sidaway 10:42, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose: Documentaries do not contain "plots." The documentary synthesizes the opinions of many notable sources about the nature of a corporation. I strongly oppose the deletion of any of these viewpoints, all notable by nature. If one were to merge each and every statement to all possible articles to which they apply, it would be a suitable alternative, and show a much stronger commitment to Knowledge. Proposing to delete notable and verifiable citations is just administrative vandalism. I don't see your proposal as anything but that, thinly veiled under the guise of treating Noam Chomsky like Béla Lugosi. ClaudeReigns (talk) 17:38, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Please assume good faith, you could have made your point without the accusations of vandalism. --Closedmouth (talk) 08:13, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
I assumed he was going to trim it down to the size and scope of an article about a Dawson's Creek episode; I didn't assume he didn't think it was the right thing to do. Allow me to reiterate: No! Bad idea! The statements made and documents preserved in the film are easily verifiable and apply to a wide range of topics like George W. Bush, Nike, corporations, capitalism, and even seeds. If you're 100% sure that a verifiable statement from a notable source is cited everywhere else in Wikipedia it would apply then trim or delete--otherwise you're detracting from the overall goal which is to make Wikipedia the sum of notable human knowledge. ClaudeReigns (talk) 10:19, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose: See the previous discussion. There's already a summary in the Overview section. I don't see any reason why the detailed explanation of the documentary should be removed. If you'd like to add, you're more than welcome. Serouj (talk) 18:11, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

I second ClaudeReigns...sort of. For those statements which would have been unsourced/verifiable prior to the film, we ought to include that info in appopriate articles (eg; if the film had new insights on, say, Monsanto or Shell, include those). For views/info already on Wikipedia, just mentioning the film criticizes x, and linking to the article w/ aforementioned info should be ok.

My objection to the article as it stands isn't to its politics as to the fact the article is a bloated transcript of the film. ---CTBG

Yes, obviously the description of the documentary's content (call it plot summary or whatever) is at 4,000 words in a 4,500 word article, much, much too detailed. Where is the discussion of the documentary's significance, reception and impact to justify this very large verbatim description of its content? --Tony Sidaway 14:58, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

The article needs at the very least some serious cleanup with regard to bloat and grammar. The summary section is filled with awkward and unwieldy grammar, and really goes far too deeply into detail.--Destlund


Upset[edit]

You cant refer to an article as not mentioning something, citing itself as evidence. Come on! The line in question is "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." and I am only not changing it myself to say shame. shame. Flying Hamster (talk) 09:51, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

this article using another wikipedia article as ref?[edit]

Synopsis section includes: "we avoided meeting the question". (see Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company and Corporate personhood debate)</ref> Should that bit be moved into References section (by adding an open ref <ref>) or do Wikipedia articles not belong in References section? --EarthFurst (talk) 00:11, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles cannot be used as references on Wikipedia. That's just silly. However, that was not what the material added by Scientus was doing. The entire thing was a footnote not a reference. There was a reference for the footnote (the "118 U.S. 394 (1886) - According to the official court Syllabus in the United States Reports" part) in the footnote which the MediaWiki software can't handle (it's like a ref inside a ref). The "see Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company and Corporate personhood debate" part was like a See also, not an actual reference. I've fixed all the issues now, so it's all good. --kollision (talk) 02:28, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Corporations are required by law to elevate their own interests above those of others...[edit]

Maybe a bit off-topic but I need a bit of help regarding this point: Joel Bakan claims that corporations are required by law to act like they do. Is that a fact or just an assertion? How does he prove his claim?

weber as originator of the concept[edit]

Is the critique of the Economist" really substantial? The "economist"says: Although the moviemakers claim ownership of the company-as-psychopath idea, it predates them by a century, and rightfully belongs, in its full form, to Max Weber, the German sociologist. For Weber, the key form of social organisation defining the modern age was bureaucracy. Bureaucracies have flourished because their efficient and rational division and application of labour is powerful. But a cost attends this power. As cogs in a larger, purposeful machine, people become alienated from the traditional morals that guide human relationships as they pursue the goal of the collective organisation. There is, in Weber's famous phrase, a “parcelling-out of the soul”.

For Weber, the greater potential tyranny lay not with the economic bureaucracies of capitalism, but the state bureaucracies of socialism. The psychopathic national socialism of Nazi Germany, communism of Stalinist Soviet rule and fascism of imperial Japan (whose oppressive bureaucratic machinery has survived well into the modern era) surely bear Weber out. http://www.economist.com/node/2647328?story_id=2647328

I take this as the economist saying: the movie gets it not quite right. weber had the idea first.

However, I am not particular familiar with Weber's thoughts. But taking the communist and facist bureaucracies as an example can't have been Weber's idea. He died in 1920, but the russian revolution just had occured then and the fascist regimes not even began. Any ideas to that? --77.11.52.251 (talk) 19:08, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

DSM-IV Psychopathy...[edit]

"and the DSM-IV's symptoms of psychopathy"

The DSM-IV does not list 'Psychopathy' as a disorder; it replaces Psychopathy and Sociopathy with the much less-well-defined Antisocial Personality Disorder. So, is it referencing the DSM-IV's guidelines for APD or the Hare Psychopathy Checklist for Psychopathy? 69.14.160.22 (talk) 04:12, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Add * Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work[edit]

Add * Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work 97.87.29.188 (talk) 19:42, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Why? This is more about psychological warfare, than about psychopaths. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:18, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
It's only tangentially related, due to having a couple of words in common in their rhetoric. There's no need to take a word so literally; we might as well add As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly to WikiProject Dogs. bobrayner (talk) 22:38, 3 September 2011 (UTC)
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    • ^ Ludwig von Mises. Socialism. Chapter 31: "Economic Democracy" [90]
    • ^ The Economist. "The lunatic you work for", 5-6-2004 [91]
    • ^ George Orwell, English translation from the Review to Camino de servidumbre by F.A. Hayek, and El espejo del pasado, by K. Zilliacus", Observer, Abril 9, 1944. [92]
    • ^ Joel Bakan. The Corporation, the Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, pp. 153-158, p. 164
    • ^ Propiedad Privada. "La mentalidad anti-capitalista del film The Corporation" [93]
    • ^ Brian Summers. "The Ethics of Profit Making" [94]
    • ^ Stephen Hicks. "Foundations Study Guide: Business Ethics" [95]
    • ^ Anti-State. "Comments About The Corporation. Can Naomi Klein and Michael Moore possibly be wrong?" [96]
    • ^ Anarcho-Capitalist FAQ [97]
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