Wednesday, May 26, 2004

And such a person is the corporation, larger and more dangerous than any human person, but with all our rights.

There's a new movie coming out, first showing in San Francisco in June, called The Corporation. The following quotes are from that site.

To more precisely assess the “personality“ of the corporate “person,“ a checklist is employed, using actual diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and the DSM-IV, the standard diagnostic tool of psychiatrists and psychologists. The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social “personality”: It is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. Four case studies, drawn from a universe of corporate activity, clearly demonstrate harm to workers, human health, animals and the biosphere. Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a disturbing diagnosis is delivered: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a “psychopath.”

Democracy is a value that the corporation just doesn’t understand. In fact, corporations have often tried to undo democracy if it is an obstacle to their single-minded drive for profit. From a 1934 business-backed plot to install a military dictator in the White House (undone by the integrity of one U.S. Marine Corps General, Smedley Darlington Butler) to present-day law-drafting, corporations have bought military might, political muscle and public opinion.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

This post is from Respectful of Otters.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Tough On Crime
Controlled studies show that it results in 54% fewer juvenile arrests and 69% fewer juvenile convictions and probation violations. And for every dollar it costs, four dollars are saved in future costs. Why aren't tough-on-crime conservatives all over it?

Probably because it doesn't involve more cops or more juvenile detention centers or harsher punishments or religious indoctrination. Instead, it's all about nurses.

The program started in my hometown - my mother is now the program coordinator; yay Mom! - and has since spread to 22 other states. It's a simple concept: "high-risk" prospective parents get visited at home by a nurse, beginning as early in pregnancy as possible and continuing until the baby is two years old. The nurses provide prenatal care, support, advice, and parenting education. It's a voluntary program, but more than 90% of parents approached recognize a good deal when they see one.

In a 13-year follow-up of the program, researchers found that it reduced child abuse and neglect by 79 percent. Treated mothers (most of them teenagers) had 33% fewer additional pregnancies. The kids, at age 15, were not only less likely to commit crimes (as cited in the first paragraph), but had 58% fewer sexual partners. As someone who has read a lot of intervention studies, let me assure you that these numbers are phenomenal. They're almost unheard-of. This is a program that works, and it has snowball effects long after the active intervention is over.

It also languishes in obscurity, with barely enough funding to keep the doors open. The registered nurses (who, keep in mind, have a 79% effectiveness rate at preventing the extremely expensive social problem of child abuse) get paid salaries more appropriate for nurse's aides. They cast apprehensive eyes towards Albany every time the Republican governor is looking for new ways to trim the budget. Strangely enough, budget-trimming time never seems to affect the prison guards at the Supermax prison down the road.

No matter how much "compassionate conservative" rhetoric comes out of the White House, we remain a country much more comfortable with punishment than prevention. We're also more comfortable with quick fixes than with long-term social changes, and more comfortable with the rhetoric of personal responsibility than we are with creating a genuine social safety net.

How else to explain the chronic neglect of a program that effectively fights some of our most pernicious and recalcitrant social problems? We do, genuinely, deplore child abuse and adolescent promiscuity and juvenile crime - and yet there is somehow never enough money and resources for programs to prevent them, even when those programs have been proven to pay for themselves.

This post led me to find the newspaper article in which the story first appeared. It's here.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Linear Mode

When the whole leftbrain rightbrain thing hit the consciousness some thirtyish years ago, it was quite an eyeopener, but as time went by and an army clinical ants went to work eroding the premise, it faded away. Except for feminists.

Take another look. What is important about leftbrain rightbrain is not that rightbrain is mostly male although that is certainly not irrelevant, but that each represents a way of being, perceiving and interacting with the world. nonlinear and linear.

The linear brain has been replacing what mother nature does with what humans fashion as a replacement Need I count the ways.

And fashioning replacements for humans, too.

The most linear creation of the linear brain is the concept of corporation as person.