The Corporation

The older I get, the more radical I get in my beliefs. I used to be a good little, conservative Christian. Now I am becoming less conservative in my political beliefs and more liberal in some ways. While I do tend to vote more red than blue, I do have problems with some basic principles of capitalism. Large corporations have become the dominant entities of the last century. In many ways, multinational corporations are more powerful and influential than countries or governments.A documentary called The Corporation recently made me think about the potential problems with profit-driven decisions. While capitalism certainly has its pluses, it also has some significant minuses too. Many atrocities have been justified by people paying their mortgages or corporations trying to fatten profits.

The Corporation points out that companies now have many rights of people under 
U.S. law. The film further asks if corporations are people what kind of people are they. The answer depends on the company. But the film makes a strong case for many companies exhibiting behavior similar to what one would expect from a psychopath.

The World Health Organization lists the following attitudes and character traits as a sign of a serious mental disorder.

  • Callous unconcern for the feelings of others
  • Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships
  • Reckless disregard for the safety of others
  • Deceitfulness: repeated lying and conning others for profit
  • Incapacity to experience guilt
  • Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors

Don’t companies manifest many of these attitudes when they do things for short term profit that hurt people or the planet? Many times companies obey the law only when it is cost effective compared to fines or legal action.

Profiteering is still alive in well. Companies have learned that in devastation there is opportunity. When should companies forgo making a buck to do the right thing?

I am starting to ask these questions as I head into Christmas. This year I want to do more than just shop for bargains. I want to buy gifts that make a difference for more than just the recipient.

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