Movie Season has been in full swing here at Chez KaminkerWood. We've seen some good movies, but last night's was a big winner.
We saw "The Corporation," long recommended to us. If you haven't seen it, please do. It's a excellently produced documentary on our corporatized world - how it got that way, the price that we pay, and what might be done about it.
Among the more powerful interviews is Ray Andersen, CEO of Interface, a carpet manufacturing company. Andersen talks about his epiphany, when he realized that that he was a plunderer of the earth, and vowed to learn how to run a sustainable business. He uses a metaphor for our use of our planet that struck me as completely brilliant.
Andersen talks about the history of flight, when humans were experimenting with all sorts of contraptions, trying to achieve this collective dream. When you look at film of some of these attempts, you see that the man in the cockpit thinks he is flying. His face is filled with elation - and pride that he's achieved his goal. But in reality, he's in free fall. He's falling rapidly to earth and has no control - but he doesn't know it yet, because the ground is so far down.
Think about that. We are all in free fall.
Some people - Andersen calls them visionaries, and that is true - saw the ground rushing up faster than others, and warned us. Now many of us are trying to everyone. Many don't believe it; they still think we're soaring. But more likely, most don't care, because they don't believe the crash will come in their own lifetimes.
This immediately reminded me of a central metaphor from Jared Diamond's Collapse: a society that thinks it is spending its interest, when in reality, it is spending its principal.
In a sense, "The Corporation" can be seen as a visual companion to Collapse. Or, Collapse is what's happening, "The Corporation" is why.
Although I had heard of this movie, I didn't realize it was Canadian. So we're treated to some Canadian pundits, like Naomi Klein and Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, and a home-grown villain, then then-head of the Fraser Institute, Canada's far-right think tank. His segments are positively Orwellian: "...to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable...".
Please see this movie, and if you haven't yet read Collapse, visit your local library soon and get going.
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I also wanted to note that this movie ties in with two recent wmtc posts: Mark Morford on public education in the US and Naomi Klein's disaster capitalism. Both are important examples of mass privatization, and the price we all pay.