The Corporation – a documentary

The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film written by University of British Columbia law professor Joel Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary examines the modern-day corporation. This is explored through specific examples. Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, during the filming of the documentary.
The documentary shows the development of the contemporary business corporation, from a legal entity that originated as a government-chartered institution meant to affect specific public functions, to the rise of the modern commercial institution entitled to most of the legal rights of a person. The documentary concentrates mostly upon North American corporations, especially those of the United States. One theme is its assessment as a “personality”, as a result of an 1886 case in the United States Supreme Court in which a statement by Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite[nb 1] led to corporations as “persons” having the same rights as human beings, based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Topics addressed include the Business Plot, where in 1933, General Smedley Butler exposed an alleged 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 at the behest of Monsanto; the invention of the soft drink Fanta by the Coca-Cola Company due to the trade embargo on Nazi Germany; the alleged role of IBM in the Nazi holocaust (see IBM and the Holocaust); the Cochabamba protests of 2000 brought on by the privatization of a municipal water supply in Bolivia; and in general themes of corporate social responsibility, the notion of limited liability, the corporation as a psychopath, and the corporation as a person.

Through vignettes and interviews, The Corporation examines and criticizes corporate business practices. The film’s assessment is effected via the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV; Robert D. Hare, a University of British Columbia psychology professor and a consultant to the FBI, compares the profile of the contemporary profitable business corporation to that of a clinically diagnosed psychopath (however, Hare has objected to the manner in which his views are portrayed in the film; see “critical reception” below). The Corporation attempts to compare the way corporations are systematically compelled to behave with what it claims are the DSM-IV’s symptoms of psychopathy, e.g. 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 the law. However, the DSM has never included a psychopathy diagnosis, rather proposing antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) with the DSM-IV. ASPD and psychopathy, while sharing some diagnostic criteria, are not synonymous.

How do corrupt corporations get away with it?

There are several reasons why corporations are able to practice corruption in its many forms – and get away with it

There is no law that prevents legislators, the judicial or the executive branch from owning stock in corporations. Therefore, all three branches of government are corporate-profits-friendly. See The 6 Most Popular Stocks Owned by Congress. Politicians are able to make laws that profit themselves, their families and friends.

The “revolving door”, like the symbol of infinity, appears to be endless. There is no law that effectively prevents someone from working for a corporation – then working for a government agency that ostensibly oversees that corporation – and then again working for the corporation. In fact, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, worked for Monsanto and now presides over legal actions filed against Monsanto, found in their favor. Some might call this a “conflict of interests”.

A corporation has the status of “personhood” and no one human individual in the corporation is held accountable on a personal level. Therefore, a corporation might be fined for crimes, including causing the deaths of its customers, but no one from the corporation goes to jail for making dangerous products or policies. The fines corporations are assessed may sound huge to the public, but often they are only a day or week’s worth of a corporation’s profits. Fines are no more than a tap – not even a slap – on the wrist… and so the immoral corporate behaviors persist. A fine equal to or in excess of the total corporate earnings for that product would perhaps constitute a more meaningful fine that would dissuade corruption.

Corporations themselves write the legislation they want passed in Congress.
These laws protect corporations, allow them to maximize their profits, and further their ability to function without restraint. Legislators who go to bat for corporations are generously rewarded by contributions to their always hungry campaign coffers. If legislators own shares in corporations, it is possible they are personally benefitted by passing these laws. This too constitutes a conflict of interests. However, since there is a law that protects the identities of those who have shares in corporations, we do not know for sure who runs the corporations and who benefits from their massive profits. The laws that protect corporations are often beneficial to corporations but detrimental to the health and welfare of real, living people and the environment. Wars, for instance, benefit the banks and the military-industrial complex, but ravage the land and people of the countries in which they are waged. Expensive pharmaceutical drugs trap vulnerable patients in an ongoing siphoning off of their financial assets.

There is a popular myth that corporations are required by law to maximize shareholder profits. This could provide some CEOs justification for bribing Congress and engaging in questionable professional activities. In reality, there is no such law, but the notion of maximizing shareholder value attracts investors… and rewards bad practices of those CEOs and legislators who hold shares in the corporations. However, again, the notion is not law. From, April 4, 2012 by Ken Jacobson:

The shareholder fallacy

The idea that a corporation’s sole duty is to stockholders is a dangerous fad with no basis in U.S. law or historyOne famous man who I am supposing is an investor, whose name will be revealed in the paragraph below, stated,

“It is literally – literally – malfeasance for a corporation not to do everything it legally can to maximize its profits. That’s a corporation’s duty to its shareholders.”

Since this sentiment is so familiar, it may come as a surprise that it is factually incorrect: In reality, there is nothing in any U.S. statute, federal or state, that requires corporations to maximize their profits. More surprising still is that, in this instance, the untruth was not uttered as propaganda by a corporate lobbyist but presented as a fact of life by one of the leading lights of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, Sen. Al Franken. Considering its source, Franken’s statement says less about the nature of a U.S. business corporation’s legal obligations – about which it simply misses the boat – than it does about the point to which laissez-faire ideology has wormed its way into the American mind…

Lynn Stout, Distinguished Professor of Corporate and Business Law at Cornell University, wrote in her book The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public,

“United States corporate law does not, and never has, required directors of public corporations to maximize shareholder wealth. To the contrary, as long as boards do not use their powers to enrich themselves, the law gives them a wide range of discretion to run public corporations with other goals in mind, including growing the firm, creating quality products, protecting employees, and serving the public interest. Chasing shareholder value is a managerial choice – not a legal requirement.”

And from the Wake Forest Law Review:

The Sustainable Corporation and Shareholder Profits

No corporate law statute or court decision explicitly requires firms to adhere to the shareholder primacy view. While the Dodge case speaks of shareholder profit as the central purpose of the corporation, and three subsequent decisions contain similar expressions, all of these passages appear in dicta, and none of these cases hold or stand for the legal proposition that a corporation must maximize shareholder profits. In fact, later decisions cite these cases for other points of law, if at all…

This attitude—known as “shareholder primacy” prioritizes shareholder interests above all other considerations and renders deep commitments to sustainability difficult. According to this view, corporate managers may not sacrifice potential profits to benefit society, the environment, or future generations; rather, firms should aim to maximize shareholder returns and eschew sustainable alternatives that are not profit-maximizing. For example, a firm should incur workplace safety costs only to the extent necessary to comply with applicable laws and regulations, or to the extent such expenditures are otherwise financially justifiable (in that they improve employee morale, attendance, or productivity, or that they result in lower insurance premiums or other corporate outlays). Some profit-maximizing firms may even deliberately violate applicable laws and regulations on the view that any fines or penalties incurred are mere costs of doing business and preferable if outweighed by expected costs of compliance…

For too long, the shareholder primacy view and its incessant focus on profits have stifled corporate efforts to become more sustainable. As a result, shareholders have profited at the expense of the environment, society, and the future. This need not be the case: corporate laws, norms, and markets should not stand in the way of sustainable business efforts and, to a large degree, should affirmatively encourage corporate decision makers to pursue sustainable goals for the benefit of the entire enterprise. Only then, when corporations take a broader view of the firm, its purposes, and fiduciary obligations to it, will we create a future where business, the environment, and society may all continue to thrive.

Therefore, corporations run amok. Corporations began as organizations set up to accomplish specific projects that benefitted the public. They had a beginning and an end, a birth and a death. When the project was over, the corporation was dissolved. From “Our Hidden History of Corporations in the United States”. Sources include: Taking Care of Business: Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation by Richard L. Grossman and Frank T. Adams plus The Transformation of American Law, Volume I & Volume II by Morton J. Horwitz

Our Hidden History of Corporations in the United States

When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society.

Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) like these*:

  • Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
  • Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
  • Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
  • Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
  • Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
  • Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.

The “Al Qaeda” Financial Controls

Seriously?  An ideologically motivated “liberation” paramilitary group that functions like an army of accountants?  But it fits, because at the top, AQ is in fact run by banksters, whose business model requires war.


Nestle Denies that Water is a Fundamental Human Right

The current Chairman and former CEO of Nestlé, the largest producer of food products in the world, believes that the answer to global water issues is privatization. This statement is on record from the wonderful company that has peddled junk food in the Amazon, has invested money to thwart the labeling of GMO-filled products, has a disturbing health and ethics record for its infant formula, and has deployed a cyber army to monitor Internet criticism and shape discussions in social media.

This is apparently the company we should trust to manage our water, despite the record of large bottling companies like Nestlé having a track record of creating shortages…

Zero Dark Thirty movie review by Kerth

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Since ancient times Luciferian aristocrats have controlled the population through the clever use of mythological stories. They create a fictional story and make you a character in that story. If you accept this fictional story as if it were the truth–your life becomes a lie and you find yourself disassociated from reality. What director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal have created with their movie Zero Dark Thirty is a mythological story in which every citizen in the USA and England are invited to become side characters. FIRST LET’S REVIEW THE TRUE STORY. On 9/11/2001 Building Seven of the WTC was not hit with an airplane and was relatively undamaged by the collapse of the towers. There was no jet fuel burning in it at all. Yet it fell at the near speed of gravity in a uniform fashion directly onto its foundation. What this means is that it’s 100% certain that it was brought down with controlled demolition. In Building Seven there were offices for the CIA, IRS and U.S. Secret Service. What this means is that during the weeks before 911 when the charges were being set in the building, the only group that could have gotten past that level of security would have been the CIA. It is 100% certain that 911 was a false flag operation. Osama Bin Laden’s only involvement with it is that once it was done, he agreed to be the scapegoat so that G.W. Bush could blame 911 on terrorists. The real planning for 911 was done by the CFR execs. with the help of CIA spooks. NOW LET’S REVIEW THE FICTIONAL MOVIE ZERO DARK THIRTY. In the mythological retelling of the story, 911 is all the fault of a man that the CIA calls Usama Bin Laden–UBL. The movie Zero Dark Thirty is a retelling of Moby Dick in which the Americans are invited to get imaginary revenge against the evil white whale now named UBL. Captain Ahab is now played by a beautiful young CIA agent with long crimson hair. First she heroically tortures prisoners in hidden CIA prison camps. When that eventually leads her to UBL’s hideout, she then has to battle with liberal political leaders in Washington DC. Finally because of the force of her fanatical desire for revenge, they allow her to send out a Seal Team (whalers) in helicopters (whaling boats) to kill the white whale who has been renamed from Moby Dick to Usama Bin Laden. At last the American people can celebrate knowing that Moby Dick, the terrorist white whale, is dead. In Zero Dark Thirty the direction, acting and writing are all very professional. But my favorite version of Moby Dick is still the one that stars Gregory Peck. Meanwhile back in the real world, GW Bush sits safely in his ranch in Texas and laughs at all the brainwashed Americans.

Once you awaken your psychic abilities it becomes impossible for the Illuminati to program your beliefs with silly propaganda. If you want to really escape the Matrix, read this FREE PSYCHIC TECH HANDBOOK the link to which is below.

I recently appeared on the television program The People’s Voice, Birth of a New Earth Ep8–the link to which is below.

As TPP Opposition Soars, Corporate Media Blackout Deafening

Last week, more than 550 groups, representing tens of millions of individual members, signed a letter to members of Congress urging them to vote against a push by President Obama for ‘fast track’ authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a so-called “free trade” now under negotation between the U.S. and eleven other Pacific rim nations.

The week before that, another 50 groups launched an energized online campaign called in order to kill the TPP agreement—dubbed “NAFTA on steroids”—that they say “threatens everything you care about: democracy, jobs, the environment, and the Internet.”

But if you watch the evening cable or broadcast news shows, you might not know anything about the TPP—not what it is, not why Obama says it would be good for the country, and certainly not why these hundreds of public interest groups, environmentalists, economists, and labor organizations say trade agreements like this are the source of economic and labor woes, not the solution to them.

According to a new study by Media Matters, over the last sixth months the network evening news shows—including ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS—have ignored the TPP almost completely.

After reviewing transcripts of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelly, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams from August 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014, Media Matters found no mention of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Not a single one.

The PBS Newshour did only slight better by having one guest mention the TPP on exactly one occassion when a representative for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argued on the show “that approving the TPP would improve relations with Asian nations.” ….