i found this review quite interesting actually:
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A misleading attack on capitalism for the ignorant, April 23, 2005
<table cellpadding=“0” cellspacing=“0”> <tbody><tr> <td>
</td> <td> <table border=“0” cellpadding=“0” cellspacing=“0”> <tbody class=“small”> <tr> <td valign=“top”> Reviewer: </td> <td>
</td> <td> Ronald M. Cronovich “Ron” (Henderson, NV) - See all my reviews </td></tr> <tr> <td>
</td> <td> </td></tr></tbody></table> </td></tr></tbody> </table> I like seeing documentaries that present a different viewpoint than mine; they make me reevaluate my views, and often broaden my perspective. For example, seeing “Voices of Iraq” made me question my staunch opposition to the Iraq war.
So as a proponent of capitalism, I went into “The Corporation” open to any new perspectives the film might offer. What I found instead was a confused and misinforming attack on capitalism, specifically the profit motive.
We all benefit from capitalism. We all buy books from Amazon.com, who, as a corporation, can offer us a much bigger selection at lower prices than The Shop Around the Corner. We each can afford a car, which would not be affordable without the efficiencies of the large corporations that produce them. We invest our nest egg in a 401k, basically a basket of stocks - so we are all part-owners of corporations - and our nest egg will grow over time and allow us a decent standard of living when we retire (unlike the government program Social Security, which will be insolvent before most of us retire).
We, the greedy consumers, are the ones that buy the cheap goods from corporations that were produced with cheap labor in developing countries. Corporations thrive only because of us.
But I digress. So, I’m watching this documentary, and they are trying to explain that corporations cause negative externalities, the economist’s term for byproducts of transactions, such as pollution, that harm innocent bystanders. They take out of context a quote on this topic from Milton Friedman, a Nobel-prize winning defender of capitalism, and then say that corporations are designed to be very efficient “externalizing machines” much like sharks are designed by nature to be very efficient killing machines. They talk about corporations and externalities while showing footage of a shark pursuing a teenager swimming. This may be good “theater,” it may be entertaining and “scary” for people that don’t know any better, but it’s inaccurate and misleading. But the filmmakers’ goal is not to be accurate and honest. It’s simply to attack capitalism, and the best way to do that is to misrepresent it, to make it scary, like a shark preying on swimming children.
They show left-wing documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, whose work is far superior to their own film. Moore concedes that “some corporations are allright, they produce things of value for the community.” Duh! ALL corporations produce “things of value,” otherwise they’d be out of business. Michael Moore or anyone else might argue that a $200 Nike tennis shoe made in China is not a thing of value for our community, but that’s a subjective statement. Who should decide what things are worthwhile, and good for the community, and what other things are frivolous, designed only to make profits for greedy corporations, and have no benefit for the community? I might think it’s stupid for people to pay $200 for a pair of Nikes. But people probably think I’m stupid for paying $4 for a Starbucks coffee. But that’s my choice. I, for one, do not want Michael Moore or anyone else telling me what is okay for me to buy.
If you really take the time to learn about capitalism, you will see that it’s a thing of beauty. It has raised the average standard of living in many countries, which is why we are seeing non-capitalist countries gradually convert toward a more market-based economy (e.g., eastern europe, china, the former USSR). Don’t blame capitalism for the existence of homelessness, poverty, pollution, exploitation of workers in low-wage countries. These problems and many more would be way worse without it. Just ask old folks in Poland what things were like 20 years ago. Not pretty, they’ll tell you.
But the film “The Corporation” doesn’t want you to learn how capitalism works. It wants to blame the world’s problems on corporations. And corporations are an easy target. Most people don’t really understand them. Corporations are faceless, and focused solely on making money. Corporate scandals and fraud make for good news ratings.
But we all want to make money, we all want to have a wide variety of goods to buy at the lowest possible prices. Without our desires, the corporation would be powerless and profitless. So if anyone is the bad guy, it’s not the corporation, it’s the consumer.
But is wanting more, and better, and cheaper, really so bad? It gives us a reason to work hard, and our hard work yields “things of value for the community.” I work hard as a teacher so I can earn a high income, live in a nice house, provide a comfortable living for my family. The family that owns Great Harvest bakery may not care that their chocolate cherry bread makes me happy; they work hard to make the bread so they can make money so their kids can go to college, etc etc etc. This is capitalism. This is the corporation.
I’m digressing again. Back to “The Corporation.” So I’ve made clear that I disagree with its point of view. But that’s not why it’s a weak film. There are lots of GREAT documentaries that take the opposite view as me. The Corporation simply is not one of them. If you want to see a well-done liberal documentary, see anything by Michael Moore, or “Bush’s Brain.” Or see “Supersize Me,” which is superior to “The Corporation” as a documentary, and is also a better attack on corporations (even though that wasn’t its main purpose).