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Any One Seen "The Corporation"  
User currently offlineJRDC930 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1545 times:

I realize this movie was released in 2003, but having just seen it, I'am both terrified and infuriated, by the pure evils produced by corporations in the U.S. and the rest of the world. The fact that there are people out there (like the airlines for example) that will actually do cost-benefit analysis regarding the life or death of another human being is thoroughly disgusting, as is the frequent chants from pro-capitalist champions, about the irrelevance of compassion and morality in a free-market, all for the sake of some abstract cold and heartless economic concept such as "efficiency". I guess my point here is to ask since this movie has been made, do you think it has become more accurate or less accurate about today's corporate world? My own point of view aside, what do people on anet.com, a generally pro-business website, i have found, think about the film? Agree or disagree? Again, i know the film is old, but i think it is still shocking and relevant.

Here's a link to some more info about the movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379225/

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8944 posts, RR: 40
Reply 1, posted (6 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1540 times:

Quoting JRDC930 (Thread starter):
as is the frequent chants from pro-capitalist champions, about the irrelevance of compassion and morality in a free-market, all for the sake of some abstract cold and heartless economic concept such as "efficiency".

Not seen it. But I'm a free-market person BECAUSE it is the only moral system - not because it is more efficient or most productive.

Ethics is something some people adopt and some do not. It's not something that happens because of capitalism. You should judge individuals based on their actions, not a whole "system" over some generalized statement.

Freedom of Speech means some have some pretty disturbing ideas, but no one disputes Freedom of Speech.

ps: That does not mean some changes are not warranted. Decision makers need to be held accountable for their actions, not hide behind the legalese of corporate law. Limited Liability doesn't mean No Liability nor should it.

[Edited 2008-02-09 12:38:43]


"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8944 posts, RR: 40
Reply 2, posted (6 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1529 times:

Quoting JRDC930 (Thread starter):
about the irrelevance of compassion and morality in a free-market

Those who claim such thing are clueless. I am as free market as it gets and I can tell you those who say that understand nothing.

[Edited 2008-02-09 12:44:59]


"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21418 posts, RR: 54
Reply 3, posted (6 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1521 times:



Quoting PPVRA (Reply 1):
But I'm a free-market person BECAUSE it is the only moral system - not because it is more efficient or most productive.

A free market has absolutely nothing to do with morals. If those play a role at all, they are imposed from outside of the economical system.

Without outside influences it quickly degenerates into a monopolized situation where power tends to accumulate and the exclusion of competition becomes the norm. Not exactly a situation which tends to promote high moral standards - rather the opposite.


User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8944 posts, RR: 40
Reply 4, posted (6 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1507 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 3):

A free market has absolutely nothing to do with morals. If those play a role at all, they are imposed from outside of the economical system.

A market that isn't free or completely free poses limits on voluntary exchanges and property rights. I think its wrong for someone to tell another person what they can or can't do with their own property. So I guess it is from out side the economic system - it's coming from the government.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 3):
Without outside influences it quickly degenerates into a monopolized situation where power tends to accumulate and the exclusion of competition becomes the norm. Not exactly a situation which tends to promote high moral standards - rather the opposite.

Monopolies don't usually happen without some form of government assistance, nor do they survive very long-term. Even in a case like Microsoft, where they have a "virtual monopoly" and one that wasn't achieved through corrupt means (i.e., government assistance. I guess we could debate this claim, though.), you see other companies growing in market share as well as the market stripping Microsoft of some of their income sources, pressuring them into providing certain services free of charge (IE, for example).

On a different note, monetary policy that creates bubbles after bubbles contribute to the growing polarization of ownership. After a bubble crash only the very wealthy still have enough money to go out and invest in the under-valued stock. And this is part of the economic system, but still an intervention from government, thus immoral.

[Edited 2008-02-09 13:23:19]


"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineJRDC930 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (6 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1501 times:



Quoting PPVRA (Reply 4):
Monopolies don't usually happen without some form of government assistance, nor do they survive very long-term.

I think you mean the opposite. Most monopolies i know of i.e. Microsoft, and other industries, occur precisely because of a LACK of government intervention, at least as i understand it.


User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8944 posts, RR: 40
Reply 6, posted (6 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1497 times:

Quoting JRDC930 (Reply 5):

I think you mean the opposite. Most monopolies i know of i.e. Microsoft, and other industries, occur precisely because of a LACK of government intervention, at least as i understand it.

It's natural to see something wrong and scream for government intervention, but some of the problems are created because of the intervention.

When a company does something that isn't right, you should go after the wrongdoers. What you see today is that accountability is gone and all we see is regulations addressing the symptoms of the issue, not the disease. The wrongdoers get away with it while the company is punished - even though the company is just a bunch of people working together, technically a legal piece of paper. Everyone pays the price for the bad apple.

Corporations don't do anything wrong - they are paper. People do things wrong and they are the ones who should be held accountable.


edit: Oops, I seem to have drifted off your question. Basically, monopolies are not sustainable. Competition yields excellence and monopolies break that down. Unless you lobby your government so many regulations that prevent/make it extremely difficult/expensive for new competitors to arise. And regulations can be very expensive to comply with.

[Edited 2008-02-09 13:48:37]


"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21418 posts, RR: 54
Reply 7, posted (6 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 1465 times:

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 4):
A market that isn't free or completely free poses limits on voluntary exchanges and property rights. I think its wrong for someone to tell another person what they can or can't do with their own property.

Ah, if only the world was as simple as you think it is...!

In practice, someone could buy up all the land around your house and then forbid you to tresspass and thus starve you to death. It's his property - he can do with it whatever he pleases - your request to him for letting you cross his property to save the lives of yourself and your family is thus immoral. You have no right to survive.


That is where overly simplistic ideas of in reality rather complex concepts will get you. Remember communism? The pure idea behind communism can be explained and "proven" with exactly the same clarity and consistency within its own argumentative system as yours above - that consistency unfortunately doesn't encompass any part of the real world, and that is its downfall. As it is for the pure capitalism you're advocating.

Reality is complex, messy and very often quite illogical. No place for theoretically nice ideas that go up in a puff of smoke as soon as they hit the real world.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 4):
Monopolies don't usually happen without some form of government assistance, nor do they survive very long-term.

Both wrong.

In total anarchy - which is just the popular name for total freedom - an equilibrium of power is unstable and (very!) temporary. Market mechanisms can be exploited (and are in practice) to progressively overshadow and ultimately deny the competition access to the market. Not every dominant player in the market may succeed with that approach, but the tendency is near universal. Government intervention is entirely unnecessary for that - in fact, the absence of regulatory intervention is essential for the development of monopolies.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 4):
Even in a case like Microsoft, where they have a "virtual monopoly" and one that wasn't achieved through corrupt means (i.e., government assistance. I guess we could debate this claim, though.), you see other companies growing in market share as well as the market stripping Microsoft of some of their income sources, pressuring them into providing certain services free of charge (IE, for example).

Microsoft is currently running into the following obstacles:
- 100% market share is in fact an insurmountable limit.
- After the Bush administration has basically killed the american antitrust investigation, it took the European Commission to stop Microsoft from leveraging its de-facto OS monopoly into neighbouring markets.
- The incompetence of its own leadership in dealing with the situation.

MS is the classical case of a monopoly being born out of another one (IBM basically owning the corporate space before it spawned the "IBM PC" and stupidly handing the keys of the kingdom to Microsoft). They continued to grow by sheer de-facto market momentum and using various automatic mechanisms at the disposal of dominating market players without any relevant government assistance.

Without the European Commission's intervention and the ineptitude of the current management the market would have further degenerated into a total monopoly. Even Apple would probably not have survived if there hadn't been regulatory restrictions.

Your claim is baseless and inconsistent with reality.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 4):
On a different note, monetary policy that creates bubbles after bubbles contribute to the growing polarization of ownership. After a bubble crash only the very wealthy still have enough money to go out and invest in the under-valued stock. And this is part of the economic system, but still an intervention from government, thus immoral.

Nonsense.

Those bubbles are primarily generated by market forces (remember the "dot com bubble"? The real estate bubble?). Central banks can make their own mistakes, but the better ones are a) no dependent government agencies and b) do not generate "bubbles" when they are managed properly; They will merely fail to deflate them early on because they have relatively little and very unspecific influence on specific markets.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 6):
When a company does something that isn't right, you should go after the wrongdoers. What you see today is that accountability is gone and all we see is regulations addressing the symptoms of the issue, not the disease. The wrongdoers get away with it while the company is punished - even though the company is just a bunch of people working together, technically a legal piece of paper. Everyone pays the price for the bad apple.

You don't know much about what a company actually is, do you?

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 6):
Corporations don't do anything wrong - they are paper. People do things wrong and they are the ones who should be held accountable.

Oversimplification again.

People may act as agents of an organisation (such as a corporation), but as far as they are operating in that capacity, the virtual personality of the corporation they serve can become culpable as such (to an extent dependent on the legislative framework defining the corporation).

As the name already says, a corporation is a supra-personal entity which is incorporated for a given purpose and which employs natural or other virtual persons as agents acting on its behalf. Corporations can be indicted, compelled, fined, even destroyed as a consequence of misconduct. And such misconduct can be the result of its individual agents still acting "properly" within their own horizon, which is why there are - and need to be - explicit regulations for corporate (mis)conduct as well as regular laws dealing with natural individuals.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 6):
Competition yields excellence and monopolies break that down.

Nice thought. Totally unrealistic, though. It can happen that way, but it usually takes a lot of political intervention (laws, regulation, societal consensus or public interventions) to create such opportunities.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 6):
Unless you lobby your government so many regulations that prevent/make it extremely difficult/expensive for new competitors to arise. And regulations can be very expensive to comply with.

Before you start whining about "all those horrible regulations" you should get a good view of none of them existing in the first place. Regulations are often inconvenient, but a completely anarchical market quickly degenerates into economical dictatorships of giga-conglomerates ruling by the fist - ultimately a rather similar situation to the state economies in allegedly "communist" countries, just from a different approach path.

[Edited 2008-02-09 18:50:21]

User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8944 posts, RR: 40
Reply 8, posted (6 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1455 times:



Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
In practice, someone could buy up all the land around your house and then forbid you to tresspass and thus starve you to death. It's his property - he can do with it whatever he pleases - your request to him for letting you cross his property to save the lives of yourself and your family is thus immoral. You have no right to survive.


That is where overly simplistic ideas of in reality rather complex concepts will get you. Remember communism? The pure idea behind communism can be explained and "proven" with exactly the same clarity and consistency within its own argumentative system as yours above - that consistency unfortunately doesn't encompass any part of the real world, and that is its downfall. As it is for the pure capitalism you're advocating.

Reality is complex, messy and very often quite illogical. No place for theoretically nice ideas that go up in a puff of smoke as soon as they hit the real world.

But that's a rather bizarre example to begin with, extreme and unrealistic. No one would be that evil, if not the owner the courts would would not accept it.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
In total anarchy - which is just the popular name for total freedom - an equilibrium of power is unstable and (very!) temporary.

Well we've debated that before and I don't think anarchy is total freedom, in fact quite the opposite. And really it doesn't ever exist because someone will ultimately try to rule over you. I agree that it is at best temporary.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
Market mechanisms can be exploited (and are in practice) to progressively overshadow and ultimately deny the competition access to the market. Not every dominant player in the market may succeed with that approach, but the tendency is near universal.

True.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
Government intervention is entirely unnecessary for that - in fact, the absence of regulatory intervention is essential for the development of monopolies.

Disagree with that part. As you said, sort of, the chances of a monopoly actually happening aren't very good. Consider a global market and that's even less likely. And on top of that I don't think they can last at all - the market rewards excellence, there isn't much incentive for that in a monopoly. Ultimately they can't keep the pressure.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
Microsoft is currently running into the following obstacles:
- 100% market share is in fact an insurmountable limit.
- After the Bush administration has basically killed the american antitrust investigation, it took the European Commission to stop Microsoft from leveraging its de-facto OS monopoly into neighbouring markets.
- The incompetence of its own leadership in dealing with the situation.

MS is the classical case of a monopoly being born out of another one (IBM basically owning the corporate space before it spawned the "IBM PC" and stupidly handing the keys of the kingdom to Microsoft). They continued to grow by sheer de-facto market momentum and using various automatic mechanisms at the disposal of dominating market players without any relevant government assistance.

Without the European Commission's intervention and the ineptitude of the current management the market would have further degenerated into a total monopoly. Even Apple would probably not have survived if there hadn't been regulatory restrictions.

Your claim is baseless and inconsistent with reality.

What's wrong with MS is beyond the point I am trying to make. I think what is baseless is your assumption that Apple might not have survived considering they've been always around, since they day one of MS, with their own niche market. And they are growing everyday. What's gonna be interesting is to see what happens with open source OSs.

Maybe this industry isn't a very good one to use as an example because it is so new.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
Those bubbles are primarily generated by market forces (remember the "dot com bubble"? The real estate bubble?). Central banks can make their own mistakes, but the better ones are a) no dependent government agencies and b) do not generate "bubbles" when they are managed properly; They will merely fail to deflate them early on because they have relatively little and very unspecific influence on specific markets.

They control credit. That's no little influence. They also debase currency, arbitrarily changing the value of people's currency. The Real Estate bubble is due to too much credit, artificial amounts. It messes up the whole market. Ben Bernanke agrees with many economists that the Great Depression was probably caused by poor Federal Reserve decisions. Just think about that for a second - think of all the things blamed on the Depression. It's too much power to have someone keep messing with it.

The U.S. did just fine without it for the longest time. The worse economic period happened on their watch.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
Nice thought. Totally unrealistic, though. It can happen that way, but it usually takes a lot of political intervention (laws, regulation, societal consensus or public interventions) to create such opportunities.

Are you talking about the "yielding excellence" part? I agree you gotta have good laws that protect individual's rights, but not regulation. It's a nice idea but it obviously doesn't work - we've had decades of regulation and all it resulted in is more and more regulation passing at a faster rate than ever, and problems still persist. And it makes running a company much more expensive which means it affects everyone's purchasing power.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
Before you start whining about "all those horrible regulations" you should get a good view of none of them existing in the first place. Regulations are often inconvenient, but a completely anarchical market quickly degenerates into economical dictatorships of giga-conglomerates ruling by the fist - ultimately a rather similar situation to the state economies in allegedly "communist" countries, just from a different approach path.

It's not "no control". I am not proposing the wild west. Governments should and it's the reason for their existence to keep anyone to "rule by the fist". There are plenty of laws in the book to fight extortion, fraud, contract law is something very interesting, and other things. We should use those means to fight abuses, and give irresponsible people real accountability. There is no point in fining a company and let the managers off the hook, that doesn't promote anything good.


I guess in the end all you have to look at is the volume of regulations. There are soooooooo many. And that on its face proves it failed to accomplish much. It probably hurts more than it helps, too.



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8944 posts, RR: 40
Reply 9, posted (6 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1423 times:



Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):


Those bubbles are primarily generated by market forces (remember the "dot com bubble"? The real estate bubble?). Central banks can make their own mistakes, but the better ones are a) no dependent government agencies and b) do not generate "bubbles" when they are managed properly; They will merely fail to deflate them early on because they have relatively little and very unspecific influence on specific markets.

http://www.mises.org/story/2863

That article is pretty interesting and has to do with the subject above.



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
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