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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. (http://af.reuters.com/article/south…) 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.