040506_ECON_The lunatic you work for

040506_ECON_The lunatic you work for - The lunatic you work...

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The lunatic you work for May 6th 2004 From The Economist print edition If the corporation were a person, would that person be a psychopath? TO THE anti-globalisers, the corporation is a devilish instrument of environmental destruction, class oppression and imperial conquest. But is it also pathologically insane? That is the provocative conclusion of an award-winning documentary film, called “The Corporation”, coming soon to a cinema near you. People on both sides of the globalisation debate should pay attention. Unlike much of the soggy thinking peddled by too many anti-globalisers, “The Corporation” is a surprisingly rational and coherent attack on capitalism's most important institution. It begins with a potted history of the company's legal form in America, noting the key 19th-century legal innovation that led to treating companies as persons under law. By bestowing on them the rights and protections that people enjoy, this legal innovation gave the company the freedom to flourish. So if the corporation is a person, ask the film's three Canadian co-creators, Mark Achbar, Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott, what sort of person is it? The answer, elicited over two-and-a-half hours of interviews with left-wing intellectuals, right-wing captains of industry, economists, psychologists and philosophers, is that the corporation is a psychopath. Like all psychopaths, the firm is singularly self-interested: its purpose is to create wealth for its shareholders. And, like all psychopaths, the firm is irresponsible, because it puts others at risk to satisfy its profit-maximising goal, harming
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040506_ECON_The lunatic you work for - The lunatic you work...

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