Katelyn Kelly

Annotation #3, Corporations


Word Count: 983

Title: The Corporation

Director: Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar

Release Year: 2003
What is the central argument or narrative of the film?
The central argument of this film is how corporations have grown in American society to behave and be judged as people in certain aspects. It highlights how corporations have a mindset of competition first, people second and essentially how the legal corporate persona is driven by greed and is essentially a psychopathic citizen.
How is the argument or narrative made and sustained? How much scientific information is provided, for example? Does the film have emotional appeal?
The argument is made by introducing corporations as companies that seek profit and then analyzing them from a personal standpoint, assigning them characteristics of people, generally those that reflect greed and self-infatuation. There is little scientific information to be provided in this film, however the director draws on different cases of corporations acting and being tried as people, as well as different sources and experts, such as hired spies essentially that go undercover to make their sell within a community of people or get the low down on a competing company. The film has emotional appeal in that it draws parallels on corporations to people, which gives way to the idea of the corporation being a “psychopathic person,” or a person without a conscience. This becomes a concern to people as they begin to see that they are being influenced by companies that generally could care less what happens to their consumer so long as they continue to purchase the company’s products.
What sustainability problems does the film draw out? Political? Legal? Economic? Technological? Media and Informational? Organizational? Educational? Behavioral? Cultural? Ecological?
This film focuses mainly on behavioral, cultural, legal, economic and media sustainability problems. Behavioral in that we as a consumerist nation have allowed corporations to become what they are today; our policies have been generated to protect corporations because they have become such giants that we rely on them as a collective population. This sheds light to the American culture as a whole in that we have become dependent on corporations as a nation without realizing it until a corporation runs into a legal problem and its true colors are shown in court when they use their financial gains to undercut the legal system. Therefore, legally, corporations have loopholes that they can use to go around the legal system, mainly through financial modes, in order to be exempt from certain legal issues or law suits. Lastly, the media has played a substantial role in our ideals as a population; corporations have spent a multitude of funds on researching what appeals to certain audiences in order to gauge what and how to sell in a given community. The film draws on one certain example with a very outspoken researcher that has generated what appeals to children and how their nagging of parents affects how their parents react and spend on certain products.
What parts of the film did you find most persuasive and compelling? Why?
I found the research done by corporations and the willingness of those researchers to talk about what they do to be the most compelling; specifically the woman that researched the nagging of children to their parents and how that affected parents’ spending patterns. The film is also compelling in the light that is shed on different employments of types of people by corporations; people to advertise and essentially brainwash passerby that subconsciously pick up on social cues to check out a product or manufacturer.
What parts of the film were you not compelled or convinced by? Why?
There weren’t necessarily any parts of the film that I was unconvinced by, rather I felt that there was an overall feeling given off by the film that every corporation in America is some sort of evil and should be treated as such. It seems like those are odds that are not only unfeasible but could also undermine a company that doesn’t necessarily follow the same guidelines as a larger manufacturer. The film does however, show a small number of people behind corporations, specifically the employees of Shell and how they take into consideration the general public’s concern.
What audiences does the film best address? Why?
The film best addresses the average consumerist American in that it shows the audience what the majority of corporations actually do; the type of people they hire, how they advertise in and outside of media devices, and how this causes Americans to spend on certain products.
What could have been added to this film to enhance its environmental educational value?
The film did a great job of exploring what a corporation actually is and does and thus had a solid educational foundation for the average American or consumer. It explored how a corporation is treated as a human and the flaws behind that system. In order to improve its environmental educational value, however, the film could have explored more into the manufacturing process rather than the research and development of corporations and how that manufacturing process is being enforced lackadaisically by the governing bodies of those corporations.
What kinds of action and points of intervention are suggested by the film? If the film itself does not suggest corrective action, describe actions that you can imagine being effective.
There weren’t any direct points of intervention in this film, however, the film did shed light on the legal processes, or lack thereof, for certain corporations, which could be a spark for certain communities or populations to speak out against politically.
What additional information has this film compelled you to seek out? (Provide at least two supporting references.)
This film relies heavily on the idea of corporations actually being psychopathic people, so I looked into articles to see if this view was shared across the board:
1) http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/06/14/why-some-psychopaths-make-great-ceos/
2) http://www.fraud-magazine.com/article.aspx?id=404