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Joel Bakan wrote the book and created the movie, The Corporation : The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power - one of the most successful documentaries ever produced-- the MOST successful one ever produced in Canada. He is a professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law . He studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and served as Law Clerk in 1985 for Chief Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada. More recently, he's the author of Childhood Under Siege How big business targets children
Youtube edition of the full movie, THE CORPORATION:
Very Rough Interview Notes -- mostly my questions:
Rob: You have two books and a movie that seem very related. Can you describe the message of both of them briefly?
Rob: Since you did the movie, The Corporation, what have you learned and how has your thinking changed? Do you see things as better or worse?
There is a widespread view among academic and political elites that capitalism has triumphed. Every power system reaches that point that" and that could be their most vulnerable moment.
Rob: What do you see as answers to psychopathic, corporate capitalism in the malignant for you've characterized it as in your movie?
Democracy. Hedge in, fence, in constrain and incentivize the institution"
Let's see corporation as a means to an end rather than an end in themselves.
Rob: But government has become more and more corporatized, with more and more appointees coming from corporations, with massive conflicts of interest. Do you still see government as the primary answer? What about alternative solutions?
I'm a constitutional lawyer. I studied at Harvard. The US constitution is a pretty good system of checks and balances. The problem is it's become hijacked.
Rob: What kind of changes, given how corporatized the government and the electoral process has become, are needed?
you have many groups that work to get city governments to overturn the Citizens United case.
You have communities working hard to get Coke machines out of the hallways of their schools.
Rob: Tell me what you do concretely
Rob: Are there any people who have seen the movie who were inspired by it who stand out as taking positive actions?
Rob: Others have written about how different inventions have changed human cultures, even the way people think and perceive-- particularly the invention of writing and printing. What about the corporation? Do you see ways that the existence of corporations have changed the way that people see, think, the way the culture functions?
The corporations was actually invented to be a financing vehicle for large projects, like the steam engine.
The operating principle, which I described in THE CORPORATION as psychopathic, have become the operating principles of our society as a whole.
Rob: Evil has been with us for a long time, but I wonder if the existence of the corporations has increased psychopathic behavior and the existence of psychopaths.
Rob: What are some of the operating principles of corporations that have become operating principles of our society as a whole? Are there particular corporate principles or values that are becoming most strongly represented in individuals and in our culture?
Corporations are legally required to act in their own self-interest, so self-interest is made the legal, overriding goal of the corporation-- be it the environment, children, health of workers.
science as public good is now about the individual self-interests of science, of the funding companies.
Education-- seeing for-profit companies, seeing schools-- how can we produce students for the global economy.
Same for culture and arts. a lot fewer opportunities for public funding-- artists are being forced to work in for-profit models, so they pursue projects where they can make a quick buck rather than serving aesthetic and artistic values.
Rob: tell me how corporations, as psychopaths, have affected individuals
Rob: But there are genetic factors associated with psychopathy
Rob: Do you think that psychopathy is a trait that is evolutionarily supported?
Rob: Has corporate culture affected religion, or, conversely have religions affected or maybe even led to corporate culture?
What aspects of the Protestant culture that you're referring to?
The Individualist, work ethos of the individual, the sense that the individual is different from communal attachments.
Rob: Are there differences between the US and Canada, in terms of corporate psychopathic behavior? And are there any nations where solid restraints are working?
We don't have a health industry". we don't have private car insurance in the province I"m in. There's more that's taken out of industry because it's run by the state. Overall Canada is driven by an ideology that sees government as a friendly force.
Rob: Do you believe that capitalism can exist without psychopathic corporations? And if so, what would it look like?
It would like Adam Smith originally conceived capitalism to look like-- because he was essentially anti-capitalist. He saw a massive intrusion and creation of monopolies.
You can have capitalism without corporations and you can have corporations without capitalism.
Rob: Are there specific countries that have been better at minimizing the psychopathic aspects of corporations?
Rob: is globalization the next level of psychopathic corporate monster, since globalization is primarily designed to serve the biggest corporations?
Does globalization have to do that? No. We have a particular kind of globalization. Joseph Stiglitz
Rob: Small is Beautiful-- describing a different kind of approach to business-- small, local-- what are your thoughts.
The difficulty is how do we get from here to there?
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