The Pathological Pursuit Of Profit And Power

Book - 2004
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Random House, Inc.
As incisive as Eric Schlosser's bestselling Fast Food Nation, as rigorous as Joseph E. Stiglitz'sGlobalization 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 is possible 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.

Publisher: New York Penguin Canada 2004
ISBN: 9780140290042
Characteristics: 228


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Oct 30, 2013

Great book, but the author is an optimist so I cannot fully agree with him (corporations were "our creation" - - not me, big guy!). Corporations have been behind every tremendous travesty in global history, from widespread slavery, to the present slavery of women and children burned to death in garment factories in Bangladesh, reminiscent of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City in 1911, in both cases fire regulations, standards and norms were ignored. Cheapest labor, slave labor (from Chinese prison labor to American prison labor) demonstrates that slavery in all its forms is alive and well in today's corporate fascist state! While in disagreement with many points by Adam Smith (frequently quoted and misquoted, but seldom read) I do agree with his being against both speculators and speculation, along with his belief that the "free market" (if such ever existed) was incompatible with corporations, being that corporations were monopolistically structured. The description states: " a concept endorsed by no less a luminary than the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman" which is bizarre, given that Friedman espoused really looney tunes beliefs, none of which he ever practised (Milty believed everyone should be an "at-will employee" while he himself enjoyed a tenured postion on the Rockefeller-financed economics faculty at the University of Chicago). [FYI: No such creature as a Nobel Prize in Economics, it was established long after the death of the Nobel benefactor, and has no connection to the Nobel family, the official name is the Swedish Central Bank (Rijksbank) Prize in Economic Science in Memory of Nobel - - much as any critic of Milton Friedman would call a "Looney Tunes Wacko Prize in Memory of Milty Friedman" the Friedman Prize!] Historically, corporations (especially banking corporations) have been behind many assassinations, from the first researched one of England's Spencer Percival, to the murders of labor organizers and protesters financed by the Coca-Cola Corporation (in South America).

Feb 06, 2013

Read this some time ago, but suddenly relized those reading this might want further exposure to the results of the travesty of treating corporations like individuals.
to that end, I suggest:
"Democracy Incorporated" by Sheldon S. Wolin

Oct 05, 2008

makes sense

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