"The Corporation" is a documentary, now released on DVD, that is based on the book "The Corporation: A Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power" by Joel Balkan. It examines why big business came to be what it is today, and why corporations do not always work for the public's best interest or the environment's best interest. The film starts with the 18th century, and the establishment of the 14th Amendment. Initially the 14th Amendment was designed after the Civil War to give ex-slaves legal rights, like any other citizen of the United States, but through a maze of legal precedents, the corporation organization model was deemed a "legal person" with all the civil rights accorded to a citizen. This strange precedent has paved the way for corporations to escape normal burdens of the law, because a "corporation" is not an individual that you can put in jail. The film-makers argue that in effect, a corporation has no moral or social obligations — their only obligation is the pursuit of profit. Perhaps this not exactly earth-shattering news for some, but the film does highlight, with some clarity, the how continue to give a corporations unwarranted priveleges and allow them to behave like unruly beasts.
[by Justin Thomas]