‘The Corporation’ film attempts to use cryptocurrencies for media ploy

Journalist:
Calvin Tran @@clvnthbld
July 29, 2014

If there’s anything I hate as I go through the press releases and news tips here at CryptoCoinsNews, it’s the businesses, films, and crowdfunding campaigns that attempt to use cryptocurrencies as a media ploy, a chance to get a few articles here and there, simply by mentioning Bitcoin.

This one takes the cake.

After ten years from the original release of ‘The Corporation‘ (2003), Kat Dobbs is creating a crowdfunding campaign called #OffTheCouch to re-release a shorter version of the film to 1,000 schools. Their fiat campaign closed at $36,245, which is over $10,000 short of their goal of $50,000. In an attempt to get more funding, they’ve created a ‘Crypto-challenge’ of sorts, hoping that the cryptocommunity will match donations of the fiat campaign.

But why target the cryptocommunity?

‘The Corporation’ (2003) is an anti-corporate film that is heavily bent on attacking the ‘capitalist’ side of corporations and globalization. With interviews from people like Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore, you know it’ll be a huge affront against whatever moves and makes money. After watching the film myself, I have to say, it’s actually pretty bad. Profits are demonized and corporate actions are diagnosed as a psycho-pathological. The creators of #OffTheCouch are simply attempting to tap into the apparent anti-establishment sentiment of the cryptocommunity, in reward of putting the Bitcoin logo in the credits.

If you have an understanding of economics past the delirious and understandably frustrated yammering of Occupy Wall Street, you’ll be able to see past the critique presented in ‘The Corporation.’ As The Economist posted in a review from 2006, this film is incomplete on its message.

It dwells on the familiar problem of the corporate corruption of politics and regulatory agencies that weakens public oversight of privately owned firms charged with delivering public goods. But that is only half the story. The film has nothing to say about the immense damage that can also flow from state ownership. Instead, there is a misty-eyed alignment of the state with the public interest.”

And I agree. Without taking into account the ability of the state in building up, empowering and partaking in corporations, you only have half the story.

What ‘The Corporation’ is missing

The Corporation focuses on, well, corporations. The film does the same old anti-corporate rigmarole of ‘destroying the environment,’ ‘receiving special abilities,’ ‘creating profit,’ and ‘being evil,’ but for anyone who understands economics beyond the ignorant, yet understandably frustrated yammering of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, corporations aren’t evil, profits aren’t evil, and the market is not evil.

Corporations are companies that are owned ‘publicly’ and by publicly, we mean shareholders. They work towards corporate interests like providing goods and services to the economy for profits. Profits are monitored by shareholders closely so that their investments are aimed towards companies that provide goods and services the best under the pressures of competition and avoid investments from non-profitable ventures which are not providing goods and services the best. In other words, profits are a measure of how well the company is providing for the economy, which is a great thing; profits are not bad. Corporations are not inherently bad.

The problem is the state. The government has historically always helped cronies do exactly what ‘The Corporation’ pointed at – eminent domain in taking on environmentally hazardous ventures, using government help to bail out banks and corporations, government subsidies and a whole list of other things that twist the economy and set the game up for corporate interests. Without putting government power into the equation, you absolutely cannot get an accurate understanding of corporate power.

A good introduction to this concept can be found at TheKronies.com and at EconPop.

What Bitcoin is really about

Bitcoin is not anti-corporation. It’s much more anti-state power. The sentiment of the community is against central banks who inflate money and hand it down the financial system of connected banks and funneling fiat into the assets of companies as issued under ‘quantitative easing’ and ‘optimal control.’ It is against government institutions like the New York Department of Financial Services which attempt to push the industry into a more bank-centric, financially traditional system. It’s against control by force.

It is not against companies that provide goods and services. Corporations are definitely possible in the Bitcoin industry and with the creation and implementation of DAOs, it’s actually happening in the Blockchain. Bitcoin is meant to promote the market and facilitate trade. Bitcoin is meant to empower market individuals. Under the market, the economy can definitely support corporations, given that they don’t suck the swelling teat of government bureaucracy, cronyism and power.

Since the film does not address the power structure of the State, don’t throw your coins at this crowdfunding campaign. They’re using the cryptocurrency name to get more funding to give this film to 1,000 schools and the only thing this might have in return are a few cryptocurrency logos in the credits. Know when you’re getting played.

Calvin Tran @@clvnthbld

Calvin Tran is a filmmaker attending NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He is interested in economics as a way to see the world and inspires him to create media that illustrates the power of freedom and technology in improving all of our lives.