"The Corporation" -- Joel Bakan, Innis College Town Hall, University of Toronto, March 16, 2004

Joel Bakan, "This is Not a Reading Series", interviewed

These participant's notes were created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. These should not be viewed as official transcripts of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. These notes have been contributed by David Ing (daviding@systemicbusiness.org) at the Systemic Business Community ( http://www.systemicbusiness.org ).

Ian Brown who was supposed to do the interview is on assignment abroad

First, some clips from the movie/video series.

[Joel Bakan]

Came on January 16 to open the film at the Bloor Cinema, and the roof caved in.

How did the corporation start up?

Have to be of the world to make a comment about the world.  Thus, how did the pitch go?

The idea of bad apples?

Learning curve to create something that would have an audience.

Ray Anderson, major in the film, is not strong in the book.

The idea of the psychopathology of the corporation.  How did you get to that?

Tom Klein at Pfizer:  how could you say he's a psychopath?

Profit versus truth:

Why is the film so successful?

Surprised to get some people participating in the film, that should have known better.

Mark Berry:  corporate spy, how could you show up on the screen?

Antiglobalization movement?  Tap into this late in the film and in the book.  Education process.

The rise of documentaries:  Mark Ackbar at the Vanity Fare Oscar party; Super size me, McDonald's will remove the supers.

The Internet:  a place where people's voices can be heard.

Grassroots political level, what should we be doing now?

[Questions from the audience]

Some enjoying what we can, being cynical.  How do you motivate people?  (To get off their duffs).

Talk about "The Corporation" as a monolith, but around the world, the corporation takes different forms, with different rights and limits.  Why not a comparative analysis?  Varieties.

Have to play into the corporation for publication and distribution?

Success of corporations, economic boom in China and India; prospects of jobs; could this be the beginning of reform?

When did this philosophy of maximizing profit take place?  Companies used to build areans. golf courses.  When did the corporation change?

Preparation of book and film are two processes:  intellectual and emotional; how to appeal to both of those levels.

A picture of corporations as so dominant, where a few wealthy people control people and government.  How can you propose a challenge?  What force can take them on, to take on a whole society?  Is is possible for the NDP to influence this?  Can they counteract the forces of management?

Alternative reality.  Advertising as manipulation of the dominant fantasy.


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