Wednesday, May 16, 2012

FOCUS: Colonized by Corporations

FOCUS: Colonized by Corporations
"We have been, like nations on the periphery of empire, colonized. We are controlled by tiny corporate entities that have no loyalty to the nation and indeed in the language of traditional patriotism are traitors. They strip us of our resources, keep us politically passive and enrich themselves at our expense."
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So says Chris Hedges, one of the most trenchant and literate critics of the role of corporations in our society.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago, I had the misfortune to actually watch "Battlefield Earth", because I was curious if it really was one of the worst movies of all time (Yes, it is). In my defense, it was on Netflix streaming, so I didn't pay any extra for it, nor did I have to go out of my way to obtain a copy. The only thing I wasted was two hours of my life (and maybe a few brain cells).

The movie is about the colonization of Earth by an alien corporation from the planet Psychlo, which exploits the inhabitants and resources of Earth in pursuit of corporate profits.

According to the Wikipedia page for the the novel, the second half of story (which was never filmed) involves "a race of intergalactic bankers seeking to repossess the Earth in lieu of unpaid debts". This may be why "In a 2007 Fox News interview, current US presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney pointed to the book as his favorite novel.[12]"

Here is a 3 minute clip from the movie of a Pyschlo board meeting: www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8z7-DIa1As

A much better science-fiction film about alien corporations colonizing the Earth is "They Live".

They Live is a 1988 American science fiction-horror film
directed by John Carpenter, who also wrote the screenplay
under the pseudonym Frank Armitage (this is the name of one
of the characters in the movie). Part science fiction horror
and part dark comedy, the film echoed contemporary fears of
a declining economy, within a culture of greed and conspicuous
consumption common among Americans. In
They Live, the
ruling class within the moneyed elite are in fact aliens
managing human social affairs

Anonymous said...

If I remember my history correctly *, the British empire was colonized by corporations: the Hudson Bay Company in America, and the East India Company in India and China.

The [Hudson's Bay Company] was incorporated by
English royal charter in 1670 as The Governor and
Company of Adventurers of England trading into
Hudson's Bay and functioned as the
de facto
government in parts of North America before
European states and later the United States
laid claim to those territories. It was at one time
the largest landowner in the world


and

The [East India] Company was granted a Royal Charter
in 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly
formed European East India Companies. Shares of the
company were owned by wealthy merchants and aristocrats.
The government owned no shares and had only indirect control.
The Company operated its own large army with which it
controlled major portions of India.


The East India Company traded mainly in cotton, silk,
indigo dye, salt, saltpetre, tea and opium. The Company
also came to rule large areas of India, exercising military
power and assuming administrative functions.


In "The Company That Ruled the Waves", The Economist argues that

the modern world began on a freezing New Year’s Eve,
in 1600, when Elizabeth I granted a company of 218
merchants a monopoly of trade to the east of the
Cape of Good Hope.


The East India Company foreshadowed the modern world
in all sorts of striking ways. It was one of the
first companies to offer limited liability to its
shareholders. It laid the foundations of the British empire.
It spawned Company Man.


The USSR tried to create "The New Soviet Man", which was mockingly referred to as Homo Sovieticus.

Likewise, the Republicans and Libertarians want us to evolve from "Economic Man" (Homo Economicus) to "The Company Man", or Homo Corporaticus (???). As regular readers of this blog are aware, our homes and communities have been colonized by corporations commonly known as homeowners associations. In his "Position Statement On Common Interest Developments", H.O.A. board member Robert Metcalf correctly describes H.O.A.s as

a systematic infusion of corporate culture and governance
into the domestic lives of an ever larger share of the
American population. Who wants to live at work?


Conservatives and libertarians believe that we should "enjoy" the same rights at home as we do at work.

Ayn Rand wrote a lot about how the Collectivists hated the Individual. How ironic that her disciples have become the Collectivists, placing the interests of collectives known as "corporations" above the economic liberty of individuals.

For example, in response to the "Occupy Wall Street" protests, conservative commentator Bill Whittle suggested that people be marched to the countryside at gunpoint so they can learn to properly appreciate corporations ("Three And A Half Days". October 12, 2011.) Like the Communists, conservatives are arrogant enough to believe that they can change the cycle of history -- by emulating the Khmer Rouge!


* Those who fail to learn history are condemned to repeat it next semester.

Cynthia said...

To Anonymous Above,
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant and I wish many more would/could read your comment. I will try to pass it along to all I can. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

"The movie is about the colonization of Earth by an alien corporation from the planet Psychlo, which exploits the inhabitants and resources of Earth in pursuit of corporate profits."

Aliens taking jobs from Americans that American corporate executives are willing to do.

Anonymous said...

I'm watching the TV series "Jericho" right now.

Long story short, and without giving away spoilers: after terrorists destroy 2 dozen U.S. cities with nuclear weapons, the surviving territories are eventually taken over by a private Halliburton-like-corporation with its own private army.

Anonymous said...

Even though corporations don't have souls, or morals, or empathy, or shame, or a conscience, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, etc. believe them to be "persons" with more rights than natural persons.

To conservatives and libertarians, corporations are a thing of beauty because they have no moral obligations to anyone other than their shareholders. Only from a corporation will a conservative accept a "I am not responsible for my amoral actions because I really have no choice" excuse.


Corporations have no social duty
Except to those who own their stock


Corporations are amoral
Corporate conscience is impossible
The corporation really has no choice

...
So if you want your freedom
Let the corporate seize the day
There really is no better way

-The Milton Friedman Choir


But a person with a conscience or sense of morality is by definition a sociopath. If corporations are legally "persons", then corporations are by definition sociopaths.

I'm not sure when the political Right started celebrating sociopathy as the highest possible virtue, but I suspect it was in 1957, when a Hollywood-screenwriter-turned-New-York-author popularized the idea that if everyone just acts selfishly, the result is a kind of perfect equilibrium.

Anonymous said...

This Stephen Colbert video about corporate personhood is worth six minutes of your time:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/249055/september-15-2009/the-word---let-freedom-ka-ching

Corporate personhood was not protected by the original meaning of the Constitution, but is the result of judicial activism. Which explains why conservatives are in favor of corporate personhood.

Anonymous said...

> For example, in response to the "Occupy Wall Street" protests,
> conservative commentator Bill Whittle suggested that people
> be marched to the countryside at gunpoint so they can learn to
> properly appreciate corporations ("Three And A Half Days".
> October 12, 2011.) Like the Communists, conservatives are
> arrogant enough to believe that they can change the cycle of
> history -- by emulating the Khmer Rouge!

The link in the above post mistakenly points to the CAI's web site.

It should point to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAOrT0OcHh0 (Bill Whittle, "Three And A Half Days", October 12 2011)

I apologize for the mistake.

Mitt Romney said...

Corporations are people, my friend.