The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
by Joel Bakan
AVAILABILITY: Usually ships within 2-5 days
Publication Date: 2005
Publisher: Free Press
Topics: Business / New Paradigms, California, Canada, Corporate Rule, Democracy: Theory & Practice, History: Local to Global, Media, Race & Civil Rights, Social Movements, United States, Visioning the Future
Description: As incisive as Eric Schlosser's bestselling 'Fast Food Nation', as rigorous as Joseph 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 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.
Bakan's new book was written in collaboration with - and during the making of - the new internationally award-winning documentary "The Corporation", co-created with filmmaker Mark Achbar, and formed the basis of the research and writing for the film. The film is also available here for purchase, in either a DVD or a VHS.
Achbar's previous film was "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media", which also won awards across the world and was shown on public television in virtually every developed nation.
Review(s): "Since Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring' began to expose the abuses of the modern industrial system, there has been a growing awareness that 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 Anderson, Chairman and CEO of Interface, Inc
"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. They have endowed their creature with the rights of persons - and by now, rights far exceeding persons of flesh and blood - but a person that is pathological by nature and by law, and systematically crushes democracy, freedom, rights, and the natural human instincts on which a decent life and even human survival depends: the modern corporation. This incisive study should be read carefully, and pondered. And it should be a stimulus to constructive action - not at all beyond our means, as the author outlines." - Noam Chomsky Ph.D., Professor of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of '9-11'
"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." - Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
"Joel Bakan's 'The Corporation' is one of those rare books that opens up a new world. Its message is compelling - and more important now than ever. With exquisite historical evocations and incisive contemporary examples, the author challenges us to recognize the flaws inherent in the very nature of the corporation and the practical possibilities for reform. You will want to have the book at hand for frequent reference for many years to come." - Robert Monks, Deputy Chairman of Hermes Focus Asset Management and corporate governance adviser