Externalizing Machines

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  • Topic: Sweatshop, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Abuse
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  • Published : March 5, 2009
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Joel Bakan argues that corporation are “externalizing machines”. Based on The Corporation, develop and defend a thesis/idea concerning the ethical consequences of companies externalizing costs.

The corporation is an assembly of many members into one body, a legal personality, working toward achievement of a special goal. It is an entity with its own rights and liabilities distinct from those of its members. Corporations, as seen throughout the business history, always try to accomplish a common goal which is the maximization of profits. Hence, high profits and revenues were attained successfully by a great number of corporations. But it is amazing how these corporations achieve their profits. Even though a corporation is identified as a personality , it does not act , think , or perform according to moral virtues as a fresh blooded human being would do. A corporation, as Bakan says, is a psychopathic creature that abuses and harms the others around. Corporations , as legal personalities, by nature are self-interested and when it comes to money they want more and more without considering the harm that can be caused to the others around, as Milton Friedman claims. He says that corporations are pernicious entities that cause a lot of serious problems to the environment and society at large. Hence he labeled these corporations as externalizing machines. The movie, The Corporation, shows a lot of real examples where corporations harm the public good.

As mentioned before, companies that increase profits and externalize costs simultaneously cause a lot of unethical consequences such as exploitation and misery, epidemic diseases, environmental destruction and put in danger peoples lives. General Motors, one of the most popular and largest car companies, is one of those companies that would put in danger its customers lives just to decrease the company’s costs. Bakan explains the GM strategy of how to built the new Malibu car which would lead to...
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