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The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracyby Marjorie Kelly
Synopses & Reviews
This work argues that focusing on the interest of stockholders to the exclusion of everyone else's interests is a form of discrimination based on property or wealth. This book shows how this bias is held by our institutional structures. "The Divine Right of Capital" exposes six aristocratic principles that corporations are built on, and shows how wealth bias is a holdover from our pre-democratic past. The author, Marjorie Kelly, shows hopw to design more equitable alternatives - new property rights, new forms of corporate governance, new ways of looking at corporate performance - that build on both free-market and democratic principles. People designed the system and so people can change the system.
"Brilliant. So simple. So direct. And so beautifully written. I think we have found our Thomas Paine for the new millennium." David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World
"In the second part, [Kelly] examines a thought-provoking course of action that would improve matters — a new set of paradigms and laws that would result in economic democracy, insuring that corporations exist for the public good. Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, John Locke, and Adam Smith are some of the luminaries she cites to support her points of view. This [is a] well-documented and readable book." Library Journal
"Instead of alternatives, Kelly offers a 'diagnosis' aimed at smashing conventional wisdom so that new ideas may flourish. As such, [the book] will more likely inspire a future, more mature, probably influential work than gain popularity itself." Publishers Weekly
"A marvelous piece of work — clear, concise, and beautifully written. It raises all the right questions with insight and provocative observations." Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus, Visa International
Book News Annotation:
Kelly (publisher, Business Ethics), noting that corporations have virtual sovereignty over our economic and political systems, argues that the systematic reason for this state of affairs is an ethic of wealth aristocracy that is enshrined within the mechanisms ruling corporate structures. Maintaining a belief in (a presumably more democratic) market economy, she identifies six aristocratic ideals currently at work in the corporate system. She then proposes new ideals, modeled on the political ideals of the American Revolution, which she believes can depose the "divine right" of wealth.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In this radical critique of the corporate economy--newly updated with information on Enron and other business scandals--the cofounder and editor of ""Business Ethics"" questions the legitimacy of a system that gives the wealthy few disproportionate power over the many.
Wealth inequity, corporate welfare, and industrial pollution are the symptoms of our sickened economy, Marjorie Kelly suggests. The underlying illness is shareholder primacy. In The Divine Right of Capital, she shows that the corporate drive to maximize shareholder profits at any cost is not only out of step with democratic and free-market principles, but is detrimental to the long-term health of individual companies and the economy as a whole. Kelly offers a far-reaching solution to rebuild corporations in a way that serves all.
About the Author
Marjorie Kelly is the cofounder and editor of Business Ethics, a national publication on corporate social responsibility. Kelly?s writing has appeared in publications such as The Utne Reader, The Progressive Populist, Tikkun, Earth Island Journal, Hope magazine, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Her work has been anthologized in a half-dozen books, including The New Entrepreneurs and The New Paradigm in Business. Kelly is a regular speaker and commentator on business ethics and corporate social responsibility featured in The Wall Street Journal, quoted in the New York Times, and interviewed frequently on NPR and other radio networks.
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