Movie: The Corporation

Lagoon Cinema 4 07/25/04 2:00pm Score: 7

The Corporation takes on the largest and most prolific business entity of the 20h century. In this documentary, Mark Ackbar, Jennifer Abbott, and Joel Bakkan dissect the entity that runs our capitalist society, and attempts to find flaws. Unfortunately, they find quite a few flaws in the model. However, they don’t offer any new solution to the problem.

The movie starts with a little bit of history about corporations. Formerly restricted to things such as building toll roads and bridges and granted by the state, they soon branched out into other things. They’re still granted by the state, though, which presents one possible solution: stop granting them. This solution, although very flawed and probably unhealthy for the economy in it’s current state, wasn’t really covered. Anyway they are easily represented as evil by now because they’re not being used for what they were originally for right?

The movie also covers the use of the 13th amendment of the constitution being used to grant the rights of an individual to a corporation. They note that many of the cases tried by the supreme court were for this use of the new amendment rather than the intended use of freeing slaves. I don’t see a problem with it myself - when a new use of a law is being worked out, it makes sense that cases testing the limit of the law will be brought to case.

My favorite part of this movie came up about halfway through if I can judge time right - when `The Investigators’ of a television station set their sights on Monsanto’s growth hormone which was being given to cows at the time. They found that the drug was not tested throughly and could have serious implications for the health of the nation. Of course, this story wouldn’t be fun if Monsanto didn’t bully the station into not airing the special right away. The station billied the reporters and the reporters brought a whistle-blower case against the station. The station appealed naturally, and it was ‘vindicated’ years after the original story because the court stripped the reporters of their whistle-blower status - by ruling it not illegal to present news which is fiction.

Overall, The Corporation takes a microscope to what has become a foundation of the modern United States economy. Things I was sad to not see: a distinction between the different types of corporation, and a look at proposed solutions to the problem with advantages and disadvantages. It came out to be a little long for the material it was covering as well - it got boring about half an hour before the end. These downsides are why it gets a 7 instead of a higher score.