Psychopathic Corporate Ideology 

Take the money and run

Social Darwinism views self-interest and competition as values to be placed above all others: injustice and inequality are justified as the strong (the richest, in corporate theology) rise to the top, and the weak do not deserve compassion, they deserve what they get. Social Darwinistic values and thought, spearheaded by corporate America, are deeply ingrained at this point in history in the United States, and the spread of this vicious belief system is what is benignly referred to as “globalization.”

International legal scholar Joel Bakan has expanded the discussion of corporate institutional power to specifically address the “psychopathic” characteristics of the drive for corporate profit. These institutional qualities are very similar to those characterizing individual psychopaths, indicating tendencies toward irresponsibility, lack of empathy and antisocial behavior, manipulation, grandiosity, a refusal to accept responsibility, lack of empathy and antisocial behavior, manipulation, grandiosity, a refusal to accept responsibility for their own actions, and an inability to feel remorse. They are basically publicly and socially irresponsible in their need to realize the corporate goal, shareholder profit, and the externalization of social and environmental costs, thus putting others at the risk of great harm.

Perhaps the most dangerous personality characteristic of this institutional psychopath is the overwhelming motivation to represent itself as caring, compassionate, and socially responsible. Bakan draws a parallel between the human psychopath’s penchant to use charm to mask his or her own narcissistic self-absorbed behavior and that of the corporate institution. Public relations thus becomes the primary directive of the corporate sociopath, to carefully present itself to the public as a caring and compassionate “person,” at once concerned with social and environmental responsibility. This presentation to the public, however, is designed to hide its own selfish motivations, the externalization of social and environmental costs onto an unsuspecting public. This public relations machine, relentless in its drive to charm the public, essentially displays sociopathic qualities, for the sociopath functions quite well in society and superficially appears quite caring and compassionate. Nevertheless, the charm masks an inherent disdain for ethical and moral concerns, norms, and rules.

Excerpt from the book, “Oil, Globalization, and the War for the Arctic Refuge“, Chapter “Neoconservative Corporate Theology”, by David M. Standlea

Photo Courtesy geralt on pixabay


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