The Corporation

Through most of this overpowering epic documentary, one can’t help but feel helpless. As Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan relentlessly expose corporations as “highly anti-social [ … ], self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful” entities willing to endlessly exploit people and the environment to make profits, you wonder what we can do to reverse this downright spiral of savage capitalism.

The government can do very little about it, especially when politicians are often in the pocket of big industries. Even when businesses are convicted of criminal actions, what fines they’re sentenced to pay are laughable. What’s a $100 million fine to a multibillion dollar corporation?

As consumers, we can vote with our dollars, choosing to encourage fair trade businesses and boycotting evil corporations, but that’s easier said than done. It’s not like there’s just a few apple that need to be avoided, EVERY corporation is guilty of some form of abuse! The very nature of a corporation is to put things like profit and market share ahead of individual interests. When it comes to coffee or food or clothes, we can make sure not to encourage slave labor and sweatshops, but when it comes to computers or pharmaceuticals, you have no choice but to rely on 2 or 3 monstrous business conglomerates.

You can dream of a new world order where “you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center, you wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life, you climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower and when you look down, you see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway”, as a charismatic terrorist once did, but that’s not quite practical, now, is it?

Thankfully, on top of infuriating us about how the likes of Shell, Wal Mart and IBM can go unpunished after commiting crimes against humanity and nature, “The Corporation” finds time to offer a few beacons of hope. We see that some CEOs can rethink their ways and actually work to make their companies sustainable. We see that sometimes people can stand together and make their voices be heard. And it ends with an inspirational message for the viewers to not only think about these issues but to do something about it. This is OUR planet after all, the corporations who claim property of it are mere usurpers.

“The Corporation” skillfully assembles a myriad of newscasts, archival footage, TV ads and talking heads segments with the likes of Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore and many more experts, economists, activists and even actual CEOs of some of the corporations the film attacks. The 145 minute length could have been edited down into something more concise and effective, but this remains a powerful documentary that needs to be seen by the most people possible.