The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

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Simon and Schuster, 2005 - Business & Economics - 228 pages
The inspiration for the film that won the 2004 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary, The Corporation contends that the corporation is created by law to function much like a psychopathic personality, whose destructive behavior, if unchecked, leads to scandal and ruin.

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.

In this revolutionary assessment of the history, character, and globalization of the modern business corporation, Bakan backs his premise with the following observations:

-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.
-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.
-Governments have freed the corporation, despite its flawed character, from legal constraints through deregulation and granted it ever greater authority over society through privatization.

But Bakan believes change is possible and he outlines a far-reaching program of achievable reforms through legal regulation and democratic control.

Featuring in-depth interviews with such wide-ranging figures as Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman, business guru Peter Drucker, and cultural critic Noam Chomsky, The Corporation is an extraordinary work that will educate and enlighten students, CEOs, whistle-blowers, power brokers, pawns, pundits, and politicians alike.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PoliticalMediaReview - LibraryThing

Brilliant debunking of anything you thought was ever good about corporations (which may not have been much). Bakan goes through the rise of the entity of the corporation, from its humble beginnings a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - modelcitizen - LibraryThing

Joel Bakan calls for a rethinking of the corporate entity as we know it. An ambitious and way-out radical conclusion, but the premise and examples are well-illustrated and well-argued. Much more depth than the movie documentary based on the book. Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Joel Bakan is professor of law at the University of British Columbia.

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