I think we're all aware of tobacco companies such as RJ Reynolds, and their history of pretending that their product was perfectly harmless when anyone with an IQ above 50 could clearly see that it was not. More recently, fossil fuel corporations have told us
As was clearly demonstrated in the movie "The Corporation", large publicly owned corporate entities lack many human traits (such as empathy) which effectively cause them to function as a psychopath (and in fact, they meet the clinical definition of a psychopath). This is largely due to their legal design, which places maximization of shareholder return as the primary objective. The fact that we've given such entities legal personhood, and allowed them unlimited "free speech" through the supreme court Citizens United decision essentially sealed our fate at their hands.
The construct of public corporations invites socio and psychopaths (which together comprise about 5% of our population) into their executive ranks, as demonstrated below. In fact, criminal psychologist Robert Hare has said, “you’re four times more likely to find a psychopath at the top of the corporate ladder than you are walking around the janitor’s office.”
This behavior can clearly be seen in the actions of both Turing and Mylan Pharmaceuticals, both of whom had recently decided to raise prices on very old but important drugs (by 5,500% in the case of Turing). Hey -- want to live? What's it worth to you? Neither you nor I would do that to someone in need, because we're not psychopaths. But a corporation would, and does exactly that on a regular basis.
As Ian Welsh points out, such actions do in fact kill people, but they're not illegal (in large part because corporations now write our laws). One gentleman, who pleaded for donations to help him afford his required insulin, is now dead. From 2003 to 2013, insulin prices tripled.
In what would seem to be a good thing, Martin Shkreli (the former head of Turing Pharmaceuticals) was recently indicted and will spend 7 years in prison. However -- his conviction isn't for his clearly deadly behavior -- but is instead for securities fraud. Screwing and killing regular people, as it turns out, is a-okay and perfectly legal. Screwing rich people out of their money is not. Heather Bresch, the equally abhorrent head of Mylan, who only killed normal people, is not going to jail.
So sociopaths do bad things. Psychopaths do bad things. Is that really news? Probably not.
The problem is not that we have people with these serious and dangerous mental disorders. The problem is that we've allowed them to rule us, in large part because of the greed that each and every one of us possess. What's worse is that this will likely lead to our demise.
Corporations not only express a lack of empathy for others, but in fact display a lack of concern for their own well being, at least in the long term. I see this regularly in our mainstream media, where the demonization of much weaker "enemies" (Russia, Iran, North Korea, Eastasia, etc) seems to be at an ever increasing crescendo. I find it ironic that we now accuse Russia of "election meddling" (of which I have yet to see any substantial evidence) when the US has been the poster boy of such activity for decades. Mossadegh? Pinochet? Ecuador? Hell, we even advertised the fact that we screwed with Russia's elections on the cover of TIME magazine! Yes, even supposedly independent, publicly owned NPR is in on the gig, and regularly refers to Russia's "meddling" as established fact.
Despite promising the Russians that we would not expand NATO to their borders, we've done exactly that. Not only that, but we're arming their border countries with loads of US weapons (hey, more shareholder return!). We even have an artillery division within range of Russia's 2nd largest city (St. Petersburg). Most any American who regularly watches television would think that they're the ones threatening us. It's so pathetic that it's laughable, only it's not a laughing matter.
This push for demonization of weaker countries is meant to increase fear, which increases the already unprecedented theft of cash from our wallets to those of military contractors (currently the majority of the federal budget, and nearly exceeding the military spending of every other country on the planet combined). (Ever wonder why American infrastructure is falling to pieces? I have an idea!) It also greases the skids to war, which seems a-okay to an America that no longer has a memory of what war is like. The latest corporate puppet to occupy our whitehouse even wants to make nuclear weapons more usable. Fantastic!
Because it drives shareholder return and stock prices, many corporations *love* war spending. They well remember what happened as we went in to Iraq under dubya, and did their best through media outlets to convince us of the merit of more war (GE -- one of the world's largest military contractors -- was the majority owner of NBC, where they beat the drums of war as loudly as possible). They've purchased our media and used it to make us hate other countries. They have no problem with such a war becoming nuclear, because corporations are not human.
Our little Frankenstein creation has run amok, and it's time to put it back where it belongs. Fortunately, it has an achilles heel - the stock market.