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The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Powerby Joel Bakan
Synopses & Reviews
As incisive as Eric Schlosser's bestselling Fast Food Nation, as rigorous as Joseph E. Stiglitz's Globalization and Its Discontents, and as scathing as Michael Moore's Stupid White Men, Joel Bakan's new book is a brilliantly argued account of the corporation's pathological pursuit of profit and power. An eminent law professor and legal theorist, Bakan contends that the corporation is created by law to function much like a psychopathic personality whose destructive behavior, if left unchecked, leads to scandal and ruin.
In the most revolutionary assessment of the corporation as a legal and economic institution since Peter Drucker's early works, Bakan backs his premise with the following claims:
The corporation's legally defined mandate is to pursue relentlessly and without exception its own economic self-interest, regardless of the harmful consequences it might cause to others — a concept endorsed by no less a luminary than the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman.
The corporation's unbridled self-interest victimizes individuals, society, and, when it goes awry, even shareholders and can cause corporations to self-destruct, as recent Wall Street scandals reveal.
While corporate social responsibility in some instances does much good, it is often merely a token gesture, serving to mask the corporation's true character.
Governments have abdicated much of their control over the corporation, despite its flawed character, by freeing it from legal constraints through deregulation and by granting it ever greater authority over society through privatization.
Despite the structural failings found in the corporation, Bakan believes change ispossible and outlines a far-reaching program of concrete, pragmatic, and realistic reforms through legal regulation and democratic control.
Backed by extensive research, The Corporation draws on in-depth interviews with such wide-ranging figures as CEO Hank McKinnell of Pfizer, Nobel Prize-winner Milton Friedman, business guru Peter Drucker, and critic Noam Chomsky of MIT.
"This fine book was virtually begging to be written. With lucidity and verve, expert knowledge and incisive analysis, Joel Bakan unveils the history and the character of a devilish instrument that has been created and is nurtured by powerful modern states....This incisive study should be read carefully, and pondered. And it should be a stimulus to constructive action." Noam Chomsky
"The corporation, according to Joel Bakan, is the monster that can swallow civilization — greedy, exploitive, and unstoppable. We are all its potential victims, which is why we must all understand how the corporate form makes it so difficult to control its abuses." Alex M. Dershowitz
"Since Rachel Carson's Silent Spring began to expose the abuses of the modern industrial system, there has been a growing awareness profit at the expense of Earth — of individuals, society, and the environment — is unsustainable. Joel Bakan has performed a valuable service to corporations everywhere by holding up a mirror for them to see their destructive selves as others see them. The clarion call for change is here for all who would listen." Ray C. Anderson, Chairman and CEO of Interface, Inc.
Over the last 150 years the corporation has risen from relative obscurity to become the world's dominant economic institution. Eminent Canadian law professor and legal theorist Joel Bakan contends that today's corporation is a pathological institution, a dangerous possessor of the great power it wields over people and societies. andlt;BRandgt; In this revolutionary assessment of the history, character, and globalization of the modern business corporation, Bakan backs his premise with the following observations: andlt;BRandgt; andlt;UL TYPE=DISCandgt; andlt;LIandgt;The corporation's legally defined mandate is to pursue relentlessly and without exception its own economic self-interest, regardless of the harmful consequences it might cause to others. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;LIandgt;The corporation's unbridled self-interest victimizes individuals, society, and, when it goes awry, even shareholders and can cause corporations to self-destruct, as recent Wall Street scandals reveal. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;LIandgt;Governments have freed the corporation, despite its flawed character, from legal constraints through deregulation and granted it ever greater authority over society through privatization. andlt;/ULandgt; andlt;BRandgt; But Bakan believes change is possible and he outlines a far-reaching program of achievable reforms through legal regulation and democratic control. andlt;BRandgt; Featuring in-depth interviews with such wide-ranging figures as Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman, business guru Peter Drucker, and cultural critic Noam Chomsky, andlt;Iandgt;The Corporationandlt;/Iandgt; is an extraordinary work that will educate and enlighten students, CEOs, whistle-blowers, power brokers, pawns, pundits, and politicians alike.
Table of Contents
One: The Corporation's Rise to Dominance
Two: Business as Usual
Three: The Externalizing Machine
Four: Democracy Ltd.
Five: Corporations Unlimited
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