5 Mar 2005


I am not usually one to advertise a product here, but I think that it would be nice if you are living in Singapore to hear an alternative view on corporations rather than the daily grind of ass-kissing you are fed by the Straits Jacket or the other State controlled mass media.
 Posted by Hello

THE CORPORATION explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Footage from pop culture, advertising, TV news, and corporate propaganda, illuminates the corporation's grip on our lives. Taking its legal status as a "person" to its logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?" Provoking, witty, sweepingly informative, The Corporation includes forty interviews with corporate insiders and critics - including Milton Friedman , Noam Chomsky , Naomi Klein, and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change.

Winner of 24 INTERNATIONAL AWARDS, 10 of them AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS including the AUDIENCE AWARD for DOCUMENTARY in WORLD CINEMA at the 2004 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL. The long-awaited DVD, available now in Australia and coming in March to North America, contains over 8 hour of additional footage.

The film is based on the book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan .

To view the trailer in various formats click here.


Trowa Evans said...

I consider that movie to be in the list of my top favourite movies of all time. I certainly recommend it to anyone. Incidentally I got a chance to converse with Mark Achbar, the director.

But I suspect that whatever lessons one can learn from this movie, Singaporeans are just going to be the least receptive of all. The first impulse is probably to go, "Huh? What talking you? How to make money like that?" And that's assuming if they understand the logic and message of the film.

Even if you had someone who, on some intellectual capacity, reasonably understood the film, s/he is likely to disapprove or react nonchalently to the film. Chances are the said person relies on the corporate system to make a living. So they are not going to accept the idea of abolishing their own livelihood.

Still, I hope that if there is one lesson that Singaporeans can learn, it's not to submit oneself to what is essentially an organized "slave-system". Maybe you can make a brief career out of it, but it's certainly not conducive to the living of, what I may subscribe, a geninue human existence.

akikonomu said...

You do realise that Channelnewsasia is showing The Corporation as a series this month, right?

But I agree with what evans says: if Singaporeans get the message of the movie, they'd just ignore it out of "pragmatism" and continue submitting themselves to the system.

Trowa Evans said...

Actually, I got no idea cos I am not residing in Singapore at the moment, hence no access to CNA. Is that true? Cos I don't recall CNA ever showing any documentary tv series. I literally consider that a miracle. But it would be very interested at the kind of response it receives.

The Legal Janitor said...

I have a point to make though.

Corporations are nothing compared to states. The worst excesses of human oppression have always been conducted by governments.

The Nazi government gassed millions of Jews. Stalin USSR condemned millions to the gulags. Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution almost wiped out thousands of years of history.

And nowadays people complain that they're being killed by hamburgers? Please. Have some sense of perspective please.

The Legal Janitor said...

I think it should be obvious why CNA would show 'The Corporation'.

In this big bad world, where ruthless MNCs and rapacious CEOs take advantage of the common people and screw them for all their money, who can protect us?

Yep, that's right. The Gahmen. And not just ANY Gahmen, the PAP Gahmen.

In case you people didn't notice, the socialist streak in our one-party state runs deep. Documentaries like 'The Corporation' just add another tool to their disposal for social control.

Trowa Evans said...

That's quite an odd comment. Nobody would deny that states are very powerful institutions, just as capable of wrecking havoc and chaos but is that a reason to say that the harms performed by corporations should be ignored? That's like saying we shouldn't care about domestic violence since we got bigger issues of say, homicidal violence or something.

I think you didn't watch the movie, or if you did, perhaps it didn't seem to warrant as a dangerous institution to you. But you should read the book and in fact, it did say that governments, whatever you make of them, are the only institutions that you need to rely on for regulation. So you are right about the second assertion you made, however there's one more important rule. Are the governments accountable to us?

If what you say is true about the deep trench of socialism still evident in the PAP (did you know Lee Hsien Long was painted as a liberal in the ST?), then it's all the more pertinent to ensure they are truly accountable to us in every decision they make.

Matilah_Singapura said...

I agree with shianux.

The Apparatchiks At Collectivist Central have complete (state) control on virtually all economic matters. They also happen to own, control and run THE LARGEST corporations in this cuntry.

The large MNCs are in bed with the PAP-statists. This is not capitalism of the laissez-faire variey but mercantilism - where certain corporations are "favoured" by the state.

The state controls the wage and education systems and is the all-powerful provider of obedient and compliant, pre-programmed automatons for any corporation fuelled by the "profit motive".

As Noam Chomsky puts it - free market for the corporations and their political buddies and "tough love" market "discipline" for the rest. [from Noam Chomsky's "Class Warfare" lecture at MIT]

Another important point: State-controlled and issued fiat money - the root of all economic woes. The govt gets to print as much "arbitrary" currency it needs for purposes of manifestos and/or social engineering.

Those in or close to the govt get an advantage by being first to obtain the newly-created dollars which they then use to buy assets (real estate, stocks, art etc) and luxury goods.

The workers, already disempowered get paid (much later on down the track - after prices have risen) with inflated dollars - then wonder why they're stressed out and experience a decline in their living standards.

The rich, powerful and connected get richer, more powerful and more connected (thugs bonding with thugs)

...and right away, those who lose out blame the corporations for "greed" and "exploitation" when in actual fact it is the government running a Pyramid Game.

Therefor my prediction or the future is:

Matilah Singapura!

soci said...

The argument seems to be that the state and corporations are somehow separate entities in Singapore. I have some material on how close the Ministers of the government and their families are connected with big business, but I am not aware of any way of cross-checking such claims. OR updating it for that matter.

akikonomu said...

I've always considered the state and the corporation in Singapore to occupy almost the same quantum state called "Singapore Inc." or "Lee & Sons".

Shianux is on the mark: CNA is showing this documentary about "evil Western corporations" in order to defend our gvt's state mercantilism.

The Legal Janitor said...

Private entities are subject to competition in the marketplace. Governments have no such pressures.

One can boycott and avoid the influence of corporations by choosing not to buy the products of a corporation.

Can one tell the state "I object to your laws, therefore I shall not abide by them"?

States are sovereign powers, with complete and utter dominion. Corporations are tamed by the need to make profits.

Corporations need to make profits by giving people what they want. They moment they slip up, they suffer in the marketplace.

Governments make money by taxing people. Increasing revenue is as simple a matter as raising taxes or creating new taxes. Is there a need to give people what they want? I don't think so.

States have coercive powers far beyond anything any corporations have. Suffice to say, any questions about accountability of the state is a moot point. The only accountable state is one that is aggressively limited and constrained.

Geek said...

Singaporeans will never shun corporations for the very major reason we are a) materialistic b)prefer to remain quiet or apathetic even when we know that certain things are wrong and need to be righted.

Look at the throngs of Singapore families sending their kids to McDonalds for a Happy Meal every weekend at the local mall or the happy shiny teenagers drinking frappucino at the "to be seen" starbucks.

Ever tried telling someone in Singapore about the evils of large corporations? They will look at you as if you are some kind of lunatic. Singaporeans love brands and big names. We only trust the big market shareholders in the market. Who in their right mind in Singapore will care about the depletion of O Zone or how much cholesterol is there in a Mcdonald Big Mac? Who really cares about the fact that Singapore GLCs are operated under a mask of non-transparency and non-accountability?

Let us all just continue to feed on this system until it collapses on us... ...

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