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Anti-social behaviour.

Robert Hare is a world-renowned psychiatrist and professor at the University of British Columbia. He specializes in the study of criminal behaviour. He has developed the Psychopathy Checklist, which is used by mental health specialists as a means of diagnosing very serious mental illness. The checklist is a series of characteristics commonly found in psychopaths.

These are people who have no conscience. They are described as being manipulative, charming, glib, deceptive, parasitic, irresponsible, selfish, callous, promiscuous, impulsive, antisocial, and aggressive. They have no concern for the welfare of others and feel little remorse or guilt for injuries caused by their anti-social behaviour.

When Jennifer Abbott, Mark Achbar, and Joel Bakan were making the 2003 documentary The Corporation they went to Dr. Hare with an interesting question. They wanted to know whether or not there are similarities in the behaviour of psychopaths and modern corporations.

Dr. Hare's findings suggest corporations display the following behaviours:

* Callous unconcern for the feelings of others;

* Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships;

* Reckless disregard for the safety of others;

* Deceitfulness: Repeated lying and conning of others for profit;

* Incapacity to experience guilt; and,

* Failure to conform to the social norms with respect to lawful behaviours.

The movie's website goes a little farther down the diagnostic road: "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.'"

Another study says that psychopaths might make the best corporate leaders. In 2005, The Stanford Graduate School of Business commented that, because psychopaths can't feel emotions such as fear, they are well suited to executive decision-making. They can eliminate emotion from weighing the upside and downside of actions; there will be no sleepless nights for them because they have closed a plant and put thousands out of work.


The Corporation--http://

Government as psychopath.

Max Weber beat the makers of The Corporation in applying psychoanalysis to large institutions. The German political economist and sociologist wrote Economics and Society in 1922. In this massive work he describes huge government bureaucracies as having the characteristics of a psychopath. Could there be better proof of that than the treatment of Maher Arar by various agencies of our federal government? Even though he was known to be innocent of any charges against him he was left to rot in a Syrian jail and to suffer torture for almost a year.
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Publication:Canada and the World Backgrounder
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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