The Corporation (2003)
Understanding its Purpose
A powerful documentary about the role of corporations in modern society. Although a few years old already (as reflected in the graphics), the content is nonetheless very relevant and highly potent. It highlights the origins of the modern corporation, it’s stated advantages, and it’s very real disadvantages as displayed by some of the world’s biggest companies. The documentary raises the question (among others), that such misdeeds are not due to the some select bad actors. Indeed, some of these companies are still around, still churning out considerable industry. Rather, the filmmakers posit that it is the very nature of the corporation itself, as it is currently defined, that inclines industry to do bad.
If the corporation’s sole purpose is based upon an obligation to shareholders to maximize profit, does it not naturally follow that people and resources need to be exploited for maximum gain? Despite being an immortal entity that is increasingly granted greater rights in society, a corporation has none of humanities’ morals and apprehensions – unless otherwise embedded.
Aligning Our Goals
This is where it is the opinion of your blogger that it is not the pursuit of profits itself that turns such corporations “bad” as they chase greedy ambitions, but a lack of other required metrics that would otherwise direct, check, and influence the decisions made by such corporations. If other metrics were included, such as people and the environment, if there were social and environmental gains as well as financial, then perhaps there would not be so much evidence of corporate malfeasance as they strip what they can in the name of profits.
Finally, for corporations to run righteously an effective governance is required to provide this oversight and eventual liability. Good governance practices require, accountability, transparency, and independence. When these fail, the evidence pretty much speaks for itself. I highly encourage you to watch this when you can.