Segments in this Video

Business of Making Profits (00:50)


A Dole Standard Fruit Company executive states they place profits over social welfare. The statements of the executives interviewed do not necessarily reflect the views of their companies.

Multinationals: Global Domination (01:42)

The dozen largest corporations control more of the world's economic resources than two thirds of the earth's nations combined.

Capitalism Laws: Expand or Fail (02:30)

We learn about U.S. oil and banking conglomerates controlling more than half the national assets: they must grow to survive.

Overseas Market Expansion (01:40)

By 1970, one third of U.S. capital assets were located outside the country. The need for constant profit growth drives corporations to sell outside national borders.

Favorable Political Climates (01:45)

Corporations invest overseas where there is little risk of expropriation. Brazil's political stability—under a military dictatorship—is very attractive for U.S. investment.

Brazil's Success (01:59)

We learn about the dictatorship allowing foreign investors political freedom. Businessmen and government officials have called the results an "economic miracle".

Domestic Shortages (02:14)

The Brazilian government has shifted to growing cash crops for export while production of basic necessities remains stagnant—an example of how third world economic development is dictated by multinational corporations.

Livelihoods for Cattle (01:34)

Multinationals have been buying in land in Brazil to produce beef for export. Landless farmers migrate to the city, joining the ranks of unemployed.

Suppression of the Brazilian People (02:57)

Government controlled labor unions and a high unemployment rate results in the exploitation of industrial workers—meanwhile private military and security firms have boomed. Since opening to multinationals, economic gaps have widened.

Multinational Corporations and the Domestic Economy (04:09)

We meet residents of Greenfield, Massachusetts employed by a tool manufacturer. Ingersoll-Rand threatened to relocate the plant for cheaper labor if their demands weren't met.

Cheaper Labor Abroad (04:14)

We hear from a General Electric executive who moved production overseas. Why? U.S. workers don't like tedious jobs and foreign workers can work with their hands better, as well as accepting lower wages—increasing the company's profits.

Chile: a Failed Attempt at Economic Independence (04:43)

Salvador Allende began to nationalize the Chilean economy after his election, taking over industries that had been run by U.S. multinationals. We learn that conditions improved for the workers and their families.

Plan to Destroy the Chilean Economy (05:37)

The CIA carried out a covert operation in Chile, similar to the military coup in the Dominican Republic and in other South American countries, to create favorable political conditions for multinationals.

Multinationals in Congress (01:50)

We learn of U.S. officials linked to corporate interests in a revolving door between big business and government.

Overthrowing Chile's Government (02:55)

30,000 Chileans were killed during the CIA aided military coup. Since then, wages have decreased, unemployment has risen and political opposition has been oppressed—all to open the doors for foreign investment.

American Foreign Policy: Freedom for Profit (04:29)

The main thrust of U.S. political activity abroad is to keep the global economy open for American business. Employees of Ingersoll-Rand in Greenfield accept lower wages in the hopes that they can keep their jobs.

Credits: Controlling Interest (00:49)

Credits: Controlling Interest

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Controlling Interest

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This classic documentary offered the first account on film of the growth of multinational corporations, their impact on people at home and abroad, and their influence on U.S. foreign policy, helping to kick off the antiglobalization movement. Candid interviews with business executives provide a rare glimpse into the reasoning behind corporate global strategy and the never-ending search for more resources, cheaper labor, and new markets. The film includes case studies from Massachusetts’ declining machine tool industry, Brazil’s “economic miracle,” and Chile before and after the 1973 coup. (45 minutes)

Length: 46 minutes

Item#: BVL49752

Copyright date: ©1978

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“****1/2! This substantive documentary offers a valuable and illuminating account of the growth of conglomerates and their influence on global affairs.”  —Newsday

“A bruising exposè! Hopscotching the hemisphere, the film is interspersed with scenes in a small Massachusetts city about to be deserted for the sunbelt by the corporation that has dominated its economy for a century. The not-so-secret stars of the film are the various corporation executives interviewed throughout. Their shameless fealty to the profit motive and casual barbarisms couldn’t be bettered by wooden dummies dangled on Karl Marx’s knee.”  —The Village Voice

“With its broad range of uses, piercing analysis, and engaging presentation, this film should be seen by anyone interested in multinational corporations.”  —Teaching Political Science

“A long-awaited success! A finely crafted example of mature filmmaking. Although the material is complex, the logical thread of the film is remarkably easy to follow.”  —Cineaste

“A unique film! Controlling Interest brings the crucial issues of who’s in control alive, not only in the world’s Brazils, South Africas and Singapores, but right here at home.”  —Francis Moore Lappe, author, Diet for a Small Planet

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