Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Lost Finger and the Corporation Spirit

This is the story of a potentially dangerous machine making frozen custard (via boingboing). To date it has ripped off two fingertips in two separate incidents. The fingertip severed last friday was sold inadvertently to a customer while the employee was rushed to hospital. This is also the story of the customer who found the fingertip. He was enraged by what he found in his frozen custard, which is, perhaps, only natural. He returned to the frozen custard outlet and gave them a piece of his mind. But when the manager implored him to let her get the fingertip to the hospital where it might be rejoined to its rightful owner, the customer refused. That kind of behaviour has not endeared the customer to JesusH and Heanyland

But what happened? While the customer was shocked and confused by foreign matter in his custard the Corporation Spirit entered his mind. If you carefully look at this site, you will find
a) that the Corporation Spirit has nothing to do with the devil
b) that it usually does not enter the minds of customers, but rather that of CEOs of big corporations (via treehugger).

But whereever it goes, the Corporation Spirit dehumanises the minds it occupies. This is how Corporations cause endless suffering for the machinistas in Honduras, exploit and/or pollute natural ressources etc. (remember NoLogo? I do, more often than is pleasant, but perhaps not often enough). In their private lives CEOs and managers may be very nice people, but when at work they have to bend themselves to the amoral and psychopathic objectives of the corporation. Here is an interview with Joel Bakan, co-author of The Corporation which explores this idea in somewhat greater detail. We have no time for this.

We need to get back to the customer who abducted a human fingertip, however unwillingly. He could not differentiate between a company that sold him splatter-custard and a human being who had a tragic accident. He could have helped, but the Corporation Spirit came over him and prompted him to kidnap the fingertip a second time. It now resides in his freezer and is occasionally taken out for the benefit of media cameras.

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