Friday, July 11, 2008

The Corporation

I really had no idea. I just finished watch a movie called The Corporation.

I knew that corporations were "people" in the eyes of the laws and had all the rights therein. I had no idea that lawyers were able to establish this from the 14th amendment, which was added to the constitution to protect freed slaves.

I have some idea about the new lawsuits involving intellectual property, but I had no idea that the US patent office now allows patents on LIFE - i.e. LIVING organisms - with the only exception being a "fully born human". That means that a corporation can own a gene, an animal, a plant or microorganism.

A Texas corporation called Ricetex received a patent for basmati rice, one of the largest mainstays of India's economy.

I knew that governments gave privately held corporations contracts for public services, but I never heard that companies were trying to privatize water. I like to think that I follow the news, but I didn't realize what happened when the World Bank instructed Bolivia give the water of one of it's larger cities to have a California company, making it illegal to collect rainwater and charging up to 25% of a families income for WATER!*

I do keep up to date on all the very bad things that are happening to the planet, and to us, due to consumerism, but the movie's presentation was a stark reminder of all the work that needs to be done to get off this runaway train.

This movie makes a very strong case that if companies are people then they would be diagnosed as psychopaths by the DSM.

This is really my beef with the health care industry: health care companies are just that companies. They only reason for their existence is to make money. But the result of their bottom lines is that people don't receive needed medial care and people die or their quality of life is diminished.

I'm in shock. I feel nauseous.

I took 7 months off from working after my daughter was born, and spent my days focused completely on the most important thing in my life, my family. I didn't realize how much those months changed the way I looked at things until I went to my first day of orientation at my new job at one of the largest online travel sites.

All the new hires were required to sit through 2 days of PP presentations detailing the history of the company, the company's interests and how I can help gain market share and make more money for the company.

A new hire asked the presenter a question about all the outsourcing that had taken place in recent years, apparently she was concerned about her job security. The presenter, with a straight face, said that we have to understand the company was loosing money and that we have to understand that they need to do what's in their best interest and that we should be sympathetic. Seriously. We should have sympathy. For the large profitable company. Right. Thanks for clearing that up.

Did I mention that marketing is my profession? Shoot me.

The job didn't work out for other reasons (evil boss from hell), and I'm a stay at home mom again. At some point in the near future I will need to go back to work. I don't want to go back into marketing, but I'm not sure what to do instead. I'd like to make money on my own, but every idea I come up with feeds into the same corporate system. Trust me, I don't want to be rich, I just don't want to worry about paying for basic things - place to live, utilities, food, education, etc - and to be able to go on vacation every year. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

* The people of Bolivia were able to prevent it the Bechtel company from owning the water. You guys rock! I just wish that their water problems were over. They still don't have an effective system in place. Here's the Wiki about the protest.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I picked up the Unbearable Lightness of Being again. I'm about 150 pages into it now.

I've heard that this is one of those thought changing, paradigm shifting books that transforms the way you see the world like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but I don't get that at all.

I'm having difficultly caring about the characters. Tomas is an ass, and I have no sympathy for his struggle between his love for his wife and his continuing desire to have sex with lots of women. Tereza has a bit more depth, but I don't have any emotional attachment to her either. I like Sabina the best. She's strange and reminds me of some friends I knew in high school, but something is lacking.

In places I do like Kundera's writing style. I like the Dictionary of Misunderstood Words, which explains how two people have different meanings for the same words and phrases, and how this leads to miscommunication and the inability to connect. I also like that he explains some of the character's actions by saying that they have vertigo - the desire to fall or to make life fall apart, the desire to take actions that will make your life less stable and/or more painful.