I watched The Corporation last night. It’s interesting in that it calls corporations on their status as an individual and clarifies them insane. The problem is that it glosses over all corporations in general. Sure, it gives examples of specific companies that are evil, human rights violating, river polluting, money hungry psychopaths. But I can’t help but feel that the makers of the film want me to think that about all companies.
It’s true. Companies exist to make money. There’s no denying it. Don’t some people wake up everyday with that same goal in mind as well?
So then, why do some companies evolve to huge behemoth corporations? Frankly, they offer a product that consumers want or need. Microsoft is huge because we want their products, as buggy as they can be sometimes. Walmart sells merchandise at a discount, to the dismay and delight of many. It wouldn’t exist if Joe Consumer put his foot down and said “Hey, until you guys stop using sweatshops and start doing business ethically I won’t shop at your establishment.” Then Walmart would shop. But these ethical issues are not important to Joe Consumer. It’s out of sight and out of mind.
There are also companies that are law-abiding producers of products that we need, and they don’t do it so much because they want money. They do it because they love the product. If those companies are successful it isn’t because they deceive the public, but rather it’s because they service the public. They give back to their communities. The Corporation doesn’t go out of its way to discuss these kinds of companies or to discuss various company environmental policies.
It’s not enough to blame commercial establishments and say that capitalism is nothing more than communism with a dollar sign. The people have to take responsibility. The only reason that unethical behavior goes unpunished and continues is because we aren’t outrageously angry over it. We’re ignorant because we value convenience more. The Corporation hit that point a few times, but I don’t think stresses it as much as it should. If market conditions change the businesses trying to sell to that market will also change.