Corporations Are Psychopathic
Mr. Bush Is Right! Let's Bomb Ireland!
April 12, 2004
Corporations Are Psychopathic
|"Corporations refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions and are unable to feel remorse." Credit: University of Michigan|
Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
The world is going to hell in a handbasket and people ask: "What can we do about it?" We say: "Read one book; see one movie."
Unfortunately, the movie and the book are available now only in Canada. But wait -- before you head north of the border -- they will be available here in a month or so. And believe us, it is worth the wait.
The book is titled: The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. It is by Joel Bakan (Free Press, 2004).
The movie is called: The Corporation. It is by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott, and Joel Bakan.
We've seen an advance copy of the movie. We're read an advance copy of the book. And here's our review:
- Scrap the civics curricula in your schools, if they exist.
- Cancel your cable TV subscriptions.
- Call your friends, your enemies and your family.
- Get your hands on a copy of this movie and a copy of this book.
- Read the book. Discuss it. Dissect it. Rip it apart.
- Watch the movie. Show it to your children. Show it to your right-wing relatives. Show it to everyone. Organize a party around it. Then organize another.
For years, we've been reporting on critics of corporate power -- Robert Monks, Richard Grossman, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Sam Epstein, Charles Kernaghan, Michael Moore, Jeremy Rifkin. For years, we've reported on the defenders of the corporate status quo like Milton Friedman, Peter Drucker and William Niskanen.
But Bakan, a professor of law at British Columbia Law School, and Achbar and Abbott have pulled these leading lights together in a 145-minute documentary that grabs the viewer by the throat and refuses to let go.
Will Canada's Blockbuster Film Be Screened Inside the US?
The movie is selling out major theaters across Canada. And if it detonates here -- which in our view is still a long shot -- the US after all is not Canada -- it could have a profound impact on politics.
The filmmakers juxtapose well-shot interviews of defenders and critics with the reality on the ground -- Charles Kernaghan in Central America showing how, for example, big apparel manufacturers pay workers pennies for products that sell for hundreds of dollars in the United States -- with defenders of the regime -- Milton Friedman looking frumpy as he says with as straight a face as he can -- the only moral imperative for a corporate executive is to make as much money for the corporate owners as he or she can.
Others agree with Friedman. Management guru Peter Drucker tells Bakan: "If you find an executive who wants to take on social responsibilities, fire him. Fast." And William Niskanen, chair of the libertarian Cato Institute, says that he would not invest in a company that pioneered in corporate responsibility.
Of course, state corporation laws actually impose a legal duty on corporate executives to make money for shareholders. Engage in social responsibility -- pay more money to workers, stop legal pollution, lower the price to customers -- and you'll likely be sued by your shareholders. Robert Monks, the investment manager, puts it this way: "The corporation is an externalizing machine, in the same way that a shark is a killing machine (shark seeking young woman swimming on the screen). There isn't any question of malevolence or of will. The enterprise has within it, and the shark has within it, those characteristics that enable it to do that for which it was designed."
Business insiders like Monks and Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface Corporation, the world's largest commercial carpet manufacturer, lend needed balance to a movie that otherwise would have been dominated by outside critics like Chomsky, Moore, Grossman and Rifkin. Anderson calls the corporation a "present day instrument of destruction" because of its compulsion to "externalize any cost that an unwary or uncaring public will allow it externalize."
The Mindset of Take-and-Take, Waste-and-Waste
"The notion that we can take and take and take and take, waste and waste, without consequences, is driving the biosphere to destruction," Anderson says, as pictures of biological and chemical wastes pouring into the atmosphere roll across the screen.
Like Republican Kevin Phillips is doing as he criss-crosses the nation, pummeling Bush from the right, Anderson and Monks are opening a new front against corporate power from inside the belly of the beast. They are stars of this movie and book.
The movie and the book drive home one fundamental point -- the corporation is a psychopath. Psychologist Dr. Robert Hare runs down a checklist of psychopathic traits and there is a close match.
And the key to reversing the control of this psychopathic institution is to understand the nature of the beast. No better place to start than right here. Read the book. Watch the movie (www.thecorporation.tv). Organize for resistance.
- The corporation is irresponsible because in an attempt to satisfy the corporate goal, everybody else is put at risk.
- Corporations try to manipulate everything, including public opinion.
- Corporations are grandiose, always insisting that "we're number one, we're the best."
- Corporations refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions and are unable to feel remorse.
© Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and The Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press). Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, DC-based Corporate Crime Reporter www.corporatecrimereporter.com and Weissman is editor of the Washington, DC-based Multinational Monitor www.multinationalmonitor.org ; www.corporatepredators.org).
Mr. Bush Is Right! Let's Bomb Ireland!
|British rapscallion Terry Jones reads from Bush's Book of Pre-emptive War and finds the concept illuminating. Credit: www.montypythonpages.com|
Monty Python's Terry Jones / The Observer (London)
To prevent terrorism by dropping bombs on Iraq is such an obvious idea that I can't think why no one has thought of it before. It's so simple.
If only the UK had done something similar in Northern Ireland, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in today.
The moment the IRA blew up the Horseguards' bandstand, the Government should have declared its own War on Terrorism. It should have immediately demanded that the Irish government hand over Gerry Adams. If they refused to do so -- or quibbled about needing proof of his guilt -- we could have told them that this was no time for prevarication and that they must hand over not only Adams but all IRA terrorists in the Republic.
If they tried to stall by claiming that it was hard to tell who were IRA terrorists and who weren't, because they don't go around wearing identity badges, we would have been free to send in the bombers.
It is well known that the best way of picking out terrorists is to fly 30,000ft above the capital city of any state that harbors them and drop bombs -- preferably cluster bombs.
It is conceivable that the bombing of Dublin might have provoked some sort of protest, even if just from James Joyce fans, and there is at least some likelihood of increased anti-British sentiment in what remained of the city and thus a rise in the numbers of potential terrorists. But this, in itself, would have justified the tactic of bombing them in the first place. We would have nipped them in the bud, so to speak. I hope you follow the argument.
And Then We Bomb the IRA's Supporters in the USA
Having bombed Dublin and, perhaps, a few IRA training bogs in Tipperary, we could not have afforded to be complacent. We would have had to turn our attention to those states that had supported and funded the IRA terrorists through all these years. The main provider of funds was, of course, the USA, and this would have posed us with a bit of a problem. Where to bomb in America? It's a big place and it's by no means certain that a small country like the UK could afford enough bombs to do the whole job.
It's going to cost the US billions to bomb Iraq and a lot of that is empty. America, on the other hand, provides a bewildering number of targets. Should we have bombed Washington, where the policies were formed? Or should we have concentrated on places where Irishmen are known to lurk, like New York, Boston and Philadelphia?
We could have bombed any police station and fire station in most major urban centers, secure in the knowledge that we would be taking out significant numbers of IRA sympathizers. On St Patrick's Day, we could have bombed Fifth Avenue and scored a bull's-eye.
In those American cities we couldn't afford to bomb, we could have rounded up American citizens with Irish names, put bags over their heads and flown them in chains to Guernsey or Rockall, where we could have given them food packets marked "My Kind of Meal" and exposed them to the elements with a clear conscience.
The same goes for Australia. There are thousands of people in Sydney and Melbourne alone who have actively supported Irish republicanism by sending money and good wishes back to people in the Republic, many of whom are known to be IRA members and sympathizers. A well-placed bomb or two Down Under could have taken out the ringleaders and left the world a safer place.
Of course, it goes without saying that we would also have had to bomb various parts of London such as Camden Town, Lewisham and bits of Hammersmith and we should certainly have had to obliterate, if not the whole of Liverpool, at least the Scotland Road area.
And that would be it really, as far as exterminating the IRA and its supporters. Easy.
The War on Terrorism provides a solution so uncomplicated, so straightforward and so gloriously simple that it baffles me why it has taken a man with the brains of George W. Bush to think of it.
So, sock it to Iraq, George. Let's make the world a safer place.
©The London Observer
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