For full credit, write about a one paragraph response to each question.
1. Achbar and Simpson (the directors) present many different metaphors from various perspectives to describe corporations, including: “bad apples”; “sports teams”; “families”; “eagles”; “sharks”; “doom machines”; “high priests” etc. What metaphor or metaphors do you think are most apt?
2. Achbar and Simpson explain how the 14th amendment led to corporations being declared “persons” under the law. In what ways are corporations like “people,” and in what ways are they not like people? Do you agree with the concept of corporations being “people” in the eyes of the law?
3. The film defines “externalities,” and examines several types throughout the film. What is an “externality,” and what are some of the examples the directors give? Explain how they function as externalities, and who “pays” so that other companies can profit?
4. Around 21 minutes into the fi lm, a CEO gives a justification for corporations going into developing countries and paying low labor costs. To paraphrase, the justification is that these people have nothing to offer but their low cost labor, and companies “he lp” them by employing them. Then, “when they are nice and healthy and fat, and their wages rise,” corporations can move on to the next impoverished community to enrich them. Companies like Nike are viewed as “Godsends” according to this CEO.
Evaluate the strength of this justification.
5. The directors provide an example of a liz Clairborne shirt that costs consumers $174 for which the company paid a worker .76 cents to make. Explore the rhetorical purpose of this example. What are the directors trying to demonstrate, and do they do so effectively?
6. The directors present an argument that if corporations are “people” they are most like “psychopaths.” How do they support this assertion? Is this metaphor effective?
7. Exp lain the rhetorical purpose of the 2 college students who paid for their college education by being “walking billboards.” What were the filmmakers trying to argue by way of their example? Did they make an effective argument?
8. The filmmakers focus on how corporations rely on advertising and branding to be successful. They claim that corporations “create wants” and produce a culture of “fashionable consumption” by which people mainly ask themselves, “how many created wants can I satisfy?” To what extent to you believe this is true? To what extent do you feel that your life is preoccupied by questions of “what to consume next”?
9. The film raises the question of whether or not manipulative advertising techniques–what marketers call “communication techniques”– esp to children are “ethical”–how did they answer this question, and do you agree with their assertion?
10. The film asks, rhetorically, “who will defend the public’s right to know if most of the corporate media is corporate owned”? How do they answer this question?