Home CATEGORIES Business Ethics & Philanthropy Docu ‘The New Corporation’ depicts false CSR claims by international cos
For many filmmakers, COVID-19 has derailed their projects. But for the Canadian co-directors of The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel, it actually added to their themes, and the two worked feverishly to incorporate the pandemic in time for the Toronto International Film Festival.
Premiering at TIFF, the up-to-the-minute documentary by Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott is the followup to 2003’s The Corporation and looks at how companies’ attempts to rebrand themselves as socially responsible actually “threatens democratic freedoms.”
The film touches on everything from social services to climate change and inequality, so when the pandemic struck, it related to the entire narrative. As such, the film has in-person interviews filmed pre-pandemic, and video conference chats with experts shot after the novel coronavirus hit.
“COVID laid bare both the injustices of the system and the problems of the system,” Abbott said in a recent interview. “Related to climate change, I think it is a wake-up call. People don’t think that the pandemic is related to climate change, but at their root, both have our disrespect of nature and the destruction of nature. So in fact, they are quite related.”
COVID-19 has also revealed that “the ideology that corporations have been promoting over the last 40 years — of a diminished social state, of privatization, of deregulation, of slashing taxes, of slashing spending — doesn’t work,” said Bakan.
Another current event the filmmakers incorporated: The anti-Black racism protests and social justice movement arising from the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in May. The racial reckoning is an example of how individuals can be agents of change by coming together in a time of extreme despair and systemic problems like racialized capitalism.
Where the first film looked at corporate power and the economization of every aspect of life, the sequel examines how, since the 2008 economic collapse, corporations have been claiming to be socially responsible while playing down their attempts to turn a profit.
The film touches on other issues including links between corporations and government, and the privatization of everything from water to classrooms and novel coronavirus testing.
“I think one of the important theses of the film is that corporations are presenting themselves as solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, including climate change. And one of our points is, ‘Don’t believe that. They are not going to lead us out of the messes that we’re in, including climate change,'” said the maker of The New Corporation.
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