"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Reflecting on the role of business on society in the 21st Century: THE CORPORATION

After viewing the Canadian documentary "The Corporation" together, I would like to invite you to reflection and brainstorming on the changing role, power, responsibilities of modern corporations on society in the 21st century.

The Corporation documentary, produced by Joel Bakan, Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, has been displayed worldwide, got more than 25 international awards and created great controversy in the world of business.

The film charted the development of the corporation as a legal entity from its origins and analyzed the "personality" of the corporate "person" by using diagnostic criteria from the World Health Organization. The argued result is that the corporation is a psychopath. Do you agree?

Today we will try to come up with a SWOT analysis of corporations and MNCs in the 21st century. What are the strenghts and weaknesses associated with them? What are the opportunities and threats ahead of us in the 21st century?

To reflect more on the issue, I recommend the resources and thinking provided at the film website: http://www.thecorporation.com/ Check the web site for ideas, projects, resources, and educational tools.


Kyan said...

Hm. What does MNC stand for?

Olga said...

MNC - Multinational Corporation?

Jackson said...

We've been talking about breakthrough ideas and The Corporation has done just that. It has sparked the paradigm shift that we are experiencing today, raising up issues such as corporate social responsability, sustainability, Quantum Mechanics, and business ethics. I was curious to know what people think is the proper role of business in the 21st Century. I mean this is ultimately the discussion question that this documentary is trying to spark in its viewers. Has the Corporate world grown so much that we now depend on its power to make any meaningful contribution to society? Should their power be more limited and not combined with politics? How can we manage the relationship between business and global wellbeing?
Your thoughts...

Duong Pham said...

The proper role of business in the 21st century is the same as always - to make money. The problem in corporations isn't the fact that they make money, it's the fact that they sometimes make money by sabotaging the greater society at large. Enron, Haliburton, WorldCom, Tycho even Martha Stewart have all been accused and are likely guilty of manipulating people, politics and the markets for their own personal gain and they are only the tip of the iceberg.

The only way to hold corporations accountable is to tie things their profits. If a business neglects it's profits, it ceases to exist. If it neglects the environment, the safety of all of society, the democratic process etc., it should cease to exist as well. If we could find someway to attach a monetary value to these things than corporations could be held more accountable for them, this is why things such as pollution credits are gaining in popularity.