Two documentaries, one life, one planet

This has been a week of documentaries for me. I watched The Corporation, which I have been meaning to see for ages and then this evening, because I could, and instead of going dancing, I watched An Inconvenient Truth, I’m still crying.

The Corporation An Inconvenient Truth

I’m aware that movies are a very emotional form of communication and that I, as someone who has not owned a telly for 20 years might be particularly susceptible to provocative polemic movie-making. Nevertheless I am absolutely sure I want to encourage anyone who reads this to make a point of watching those movies and talking to people about what they might mean.

For me there is an important link between the two.

  • The Corporation tells of how any why modern big-business sometimes seems to have gone haywire. It explains that incorporated companies have the legal status of a person, with the rights and protection of the law; corporations are able to own, sell, hire, fire, sue and be sued. They have immense power over our lives, the global economy and, significantly, the environment. Since they are legally people — our fellow citizens — we might wish them to behave responsibly and morally. But unlike flesh-and-blood people, they are obliged by law to put the needs of making profit above all others.They have no soul to save, and they have no body to incarcerate. Baron Thurlow
  • An Inconvenient Truth has Al Gore explaining the history and consequences of “global warming”, what he calls the climate crisis (hence the URL of the site associated with that movie) and the reasons why its so damn difficult to do anything about it, even as vice president of the United States of America. It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair

The connection for me comes arises out of considering human needs — something to which I have been dedicating a lot of energy since I discovered NVC. Corporate businesses do not consider human needs; they do not heed or care about future generations, they do not respect human dignity, they do not breath the air or drink water; their food is capital and they are insensitive to other factors such as human rights or the environment since the are externalities. It is not within their regulatory constitution to do so. Individuals who work for and manage such institutions may care very much about these things and some do all they can to ensure that their companies tread gently on our planet and on our lives. But the power of such people is limited by the very regulations that make powerful companies powerful.

It is pointless to blame or to bemoan this situation. International corporations are doing only what they have been created to do. I want to know how to change the rules from within the game.

2 Comments

  1. Alan Says:

    Mark,

    I have seen The Corporation… there is a quote from Ishmael in it (the bit about civilization free-falling, not flying).

    I also just read The Ecology of Commerce and watched a sobering movie “The End of Suburbia”

    I never cry, but I’m becoming very cynical. Sometimes I wonder if the rest of the world knows what is coming…?

    Hang in there… We are all searching for truth.

    Alan

  2. Mark Says:

    I have not yet seen the end of suburbia, but I did watch Crude Awakening recently and I was terrified. I am currently down at Schumacher College and have been doing Joanna Macey Deep Ecology exercises this week which feel like very much part of the solution.

    Mark