Commentary: Corporations are psychopathic with zero degrees of empathy

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 07/13/2011 - 13:53

by Kaitlyn Moore

June 25, 2011 - Corporations play a big role in our day-to-day activities and they are constantly making decisions that have a profound effect on our daily lives. For example: a corporation makes the decision to empty its chemical vats into a nearby river - the water supply is poisoned and residents of the adjacent town fall sick; or a corporation makes the decision to cut costs to increase profits and initiates a round of layoffs - the community that was formed around the corporation is decimated. We have often been appalled, angry, and go on rants about the evil of corporations but according to Simon Baron Cohen, evil is not the issue.

Mr. Baron-Cohen, an expert in autism and developmental psychology, is also a psychology and psychiatry professor at Cambridge University. For years he has spent considerable time researching why people commit vile and heinous acts. His theory?

That a lack of empathy is the root cause of all evil deeds and that this lack of empathy can be measured and treated. He defines empathy as the drive to identify another person's thoughts and feelings combined with the drive to respond appropriately to those thoughts or feelings.

Baron-Cohen goes onto note that the lack of empathy or failure to utilize it to its full potential is the driving force behind most of what ails our society on a global, domestic, community, and family unit scale. The abstract arenas of diplomatic, legal, and military channels are insufficient to appropriately deal with conflict because their involvement forgoes empathy from entering the picture on a true person-to-person level.

In his books, Baron-Cohen sets forth an empathy bell curve spectrum and quotient test that indicates where an individual will place along the curve. (Most of us fall right in the middle). There is a zero degree empathy range and within lay the psychopaths, narcissists and individuals suffering with borderline personality disorders.

Corporations are legislatively derived artificial individuals that can sue and be sued, raise funds, make political decisions, etc. They are headed by Boards of Directors that are by law duty bound to make decisions in the best interests of their respective corporation.

Since corporations are businesses whose sole purposes are to make money, best interests are almost always those that increase profit, empathy be damned.

True, there are those corporate bodies that while making a profit strive to do no harm to society. However, embedded deep within the zero degrees of that bell curve are corporations that seem to have made human suffering their side business.

By their very definition corporations forgo empathetic decision making because they are abstract beings. When making decisions that directly affect humanity, empathy is a necessary ingredient. Take away the capacity for empathy and you are left with what we have today - psychopathic corporations spreading what we would deem to be evil all over the world. The corporate machine is a cold calculating one that makes decisions that solely pay homage to the bottom line profit, with the well being and needs of the human race coming in a distant second, if at all.

Imagine a world where corporations were held to the same moral standards as individuals. A world where profits could not be made to the detriment of the environment, fair wages were paid on a global scale, and government leaders weren't paid off by corporations to make decisions directly against the best wishes of the people they were elected to represent. Imagine a world where the corporate psychopaths were put to rest.