kidattypewriter

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My life as a corporate whore

corporation
// (say kawpuh'rayshuhn)
noun 1. a body, created by law or under authority of law, having a continuous existence irrespective of that of its members, and powers and liabilities distinct from those of its members.
2. a business enterprise, or group of enterprises.
3. (upper case) British the principal officials of a borough, etc.
4. any group of persons united, or regarded as united, in one body.
5. Colloquial the abdomen, especially when large and prominent. [corporate + -ion]
Macquarie Dictionary

I got involved in a discussion the other day with a bunch of people basically saying that corporations were evil. That's not that surprising, of course - people say that corporations are evil all the time. It's pretty much the done thing to say that corporations are evil, and occasionally it's inevitable that I'll bump into those people in the midst of their saying that corporations are evil.

It's just that I can't take it seriously. At all.

It might be the fact that they're wearing shoes made by a corporation, or jumpers made by a corporation, or hats made by a corporation, or t-shirts with anti-corporate logos on them that are made by a corporation that specialises in anti-corporate logos. They might be carrying food that they've bought from a certain corporation, or drinking drinks that they've purchased from another corporation, or travelling from the location of one corporate outlet to the location of another corporate outlet by the means of a car (built by a corporation), bus (ditto), train (ditto, and run by yet another corporation, ditto), or any number of other dittos that take you from various dittos to various other dittos.

It might also be the fact that they probably have no idea what they're talking about. The term 'corporation' is so generic and loose that it could apply not only to the multinational business from which they got the dittos they were wearing, the dittos they were eating, the dittos they were travelling from and travelling to, the dittos they were travelling in, and the dittos they were dittoing in. It may, indeed, be true that the small business they got their shirts or drinks or food or tickets from was itself part of a larger business, and was therefore merely a corporation selling items from other corporations in order to further its own corporate interests. After all, one of the meanings of corporation could be 'group of people', which could include just about anyone and anything. Maybe, though, all these people had a specific economic and ideological definition in mind when they were talking about 'corporations', and I am ignorant as to their actual level of ignorance. (But I suspect they are just as ignorant as to their own level of ignorance, as well. Most people are. In the broadest terms, I am not only utterly ignorant, but ignorant as to my own level of ignorance, also. You can't get much ignoranter than that. In a world crowding over with infinite things, our own finite minds generally do dwindle to a something that is smaller than insignificance.)

It might have been any of these facts, or the fact that the very conversation that they have about horrible corporations invariably occurs in a context that is facilitated by horrible corporations, and that people who dislike corporations do so most regularly and vocally in mass market magazines forwarded by corporations, in globalised movies and DVDs spread around the world by corporations, on international websites owned by corporations, that are hosted by mass-produced computers bought from other corporations. (This particular conversation that I am thinking about occured courtesy of the facebook corporation).

And in the end, I'm not sure how people with such a Manichean worldview - ordinary folks versus the corporation - go about living their lives. It must be really quite scary, keeping one's mind perpetually on the all-pervasive influence of corporations, which are so all pervading and influential as to include anybody and everybody and everybody else also, as well as small business, large business, all manner of medium-size businesses in between, councils, governments, non-government organisations, and whatever else is left over, and a whole bunch of other stuff as well. If you concede that corporations are horrible and evil, what other conclusion could you logically draw to than an all-encompassing, general, and specific paranoia at the world around you? As you buy your corporate clothes and corporate drinks and corporate DVDs denouncing the influence of corporate corporations, and have your existence brutally perpetuated by corporate oxygen that was breathed out by other corporate bodies, you must be continually worrying about how terrifying it is to have corporations savagely provide you goods and services in exchange for small to medium amounts of money, and for them to in turn use that small to medium amount of money that you give over to them to pay their own staff and make a profit. I mean, now that I come to think about that, it really must be awful. That is, if you look at corporations that way.

Me, I can't really bring myself to be bothered about them. In a world with so many problems, I can't see what the problem is with corporations, especially.

I wonder if this is a problem?

UPDATE! - Let me make a small qualification to the above post. Corporations aren't evil, of course. But Evil Corporations are most definitely evil. It goes without saying, really (which is why I've said it.)

6 comments:

bruce said...

If you meet a more smug proponent of the "Corp. are evil" view, they will be on about John Ralston Saul:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ralston_Saul

But as far as I read, Saul chases the word 'Corporatism' around with few specifics. And this gives him the opportunity to restate all the popular 'progressive' themes in a neat package. Very much like a church sermon.

'Corporations' are the new secular Satan. Names change but popular superstition remains.

bruce said...

Have a go at this, eg:

http://www.johnralstonsaul.com/REV_Unconscious_Persky.html

TimT said...

Thanks - most obvious name I'd attach to the 'corp are evil' school of philosophy, insofar as there is one, would be Naomi Klein. Of 'No Logo' fame.

Room 207 said...

All people are evil;
Corporations are made of people;
therefore, all corporations are evil (especially evil corporations).

So, what is the problem?

ras said...

That was a greatest unranty Rant I've ever had the pleasure to read.

I havent read No Logo, but I watched "The Corporation" and found it, extremely boring, but somewhat idealised, as all of these documentary movements tend to be about progressive things, they tend to use hyperbole and scare tactics to get their message across. I dont understand why a much more moderate platform couldnt be used, is it that they feel they need to overstate everything just to get the message across because most people are so ambivalent about everything they wont move unless its to start going on with righteous indignations etc etc.

Just a thought. I'm fine with corporations, the one I work for pays my wages. but also channells a percentage of their profits into ethically and environmentally responsible initiatives. So I dont think they're evil.

TimT said...

I occasionally dip into copies of anti-corporate/anti-capitalist mag Adbusters and find them similar. The ideas/articles that they publish range from the appealingly daffy (articles extolling the bliss of the 'Slow Food Movement') to the boring and revolutionary. Overall they seem rather paranoid and slightly hysterical.

Email: timhtrain - at - yahoo.com.au

eXTReMe Tracker

Blog Archive

About Me

My Photo
Me person. Live in world. Like stuff. Need job. Need BRAINS! (DROOLS IN THE MANNER OF ZOMBIES) Ergggggh ...