CHARACTERS Ë The Corporation The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

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The Corporation The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power


Nd societiesIn 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 conseuences 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 This is the companion book to the excellent documentary called unsurprisingly The Corporation The documentary to be honest is fun and has a attuned sense of humor which is refreshing The book tends to be a little drier and feels rushed at times as if Bakan is trying to get the point across as uickly as possible and with as little depth as possible Which is fine Let's face it if you're reading this book in the first place much of what is in it will seem familiar or even redundant It's of a basic outline of how shitty corporations are for people who might still not uite understand that For me it's value lies in showing the layfolk of the land that their anger directed usually at people of differing pigmentation plain damn dumb andor deity iffy at best is misdirected down It should be pointed up

CHARACTERS The Corporation The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

Despite its flawed character from legal constraints through deregulation and granted it ever greater authority over society through privatizationBut Bakan believes change is possible and he outlines a far reaching program of achievable reforms through legal regulation and democratic controlFeaturing 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 ali A critical examination of the nature of the modern corporation2 February 2013 I guess I discovered this book after watching the documentary movie of the same name though I suspect that the book was based upon the movie normally such movies tend to spawn books which explore the topics that the movie explores in greater detail The corporation itself is a dichotomy namely because despite what is wrong with these entities Bakan proves that they have all of the characteristics of a psychopath these entities are also responsible for our current lifestyle To be honest to remove the economic institutions we have today and return to the era of the cottage industry and the local store owner will drive up prices and undermine our luxurious lifestyles which will also be the result of doing nothing That does not necessarily mean that it is good for us to live the luxurious lifestyles that we are living in the west particularly since our lifestyles as all in history who live such extravagant lives are supported by slavery While they may not be slaves in the literal sense they are slaves in the economic sense living on less than two dollars a day and working extra ordinary hours in horrendous conditions Despite the fact that many of the senior executives of these corporations as well as the shareholders which include any of us who have a pension fund pretend that they don't know how these goods are being made or the conditions that the workers are working in in reality as is demonstrated in The Big One where Michael Moore asks Phillip Knight of Nike to go with him to Indonesia to see the conditions of the factories that the shoes are produced in; an invitation which Phillip Knight politely declines we all wish to remain wilfully blind to the reality of what is going on namely because we don't actually want to give anything up and the that we have the less we want to give up Granted while I may not own a car and resist the temptation to buy things that I do not need I still live a rather luxurious life and the fact that I can jump on a plane and fly to Europe and back is a testament to that There are people that I work with that to them such an adventure is little than a pipe dream and I am not even earning big bucks This is because I have no dependants and little debt I have a much higher disposable income than many other people that I work with even those who hold higher positions than I do There are a few things that come out of this book or I should say the movie because that is what I am writing from – though I have read the book that I wish to explore and one of them is the corporation as the externalising machine Externalisation is the art of making something somebody else's problem despite the fact that you are the cause of that problem For example when a corporation dumps all of its toxic waste into the river and lets the government and the community deal with it then it is externalising waste management When it is too expensive to actually deal with the waste properly and the laws that prevent the corporation from dumping the wast are weak or even non existent then the most cost effective way to deal with waste is to externalise it that is dump it into the river and make it somebody else's problem Labour is another thing that is externalised and one way to do that is to contract out certain areas so that the corporation can cut back on labour costs and not have to feel responsible for how products are used In fact where in the past a corporation was defined by what it made and in turn sold this is pretty much disappearing as we speak Nike do not make shoes they contract that out to some sweatshop in Indonesia which is not even owned by them Instead they buy the shoes and then sell the shoes either direct to the consumer or through an intermediary As such Nike is no longer a manufacturer of shoes they are simply a brand that makes money by being a middle man However it is not even that by contracting labour to the sweatshops that the product becomes cheaper The price of the product actually stays the same it is just the profit that the corporation makes increases and even then there is no guarantee that the shareholders will ever see any of that profit Instead they will keep the profits which no doubt will result in an increased share price and even then the shareholder must know when to sell which is nigh impossible to maximise their investment What we need is not to get rid of the corporations because at heart we need them to be able to maintain our extravagant lifestyles However what we need is a paradigm shift within ourselves and within our society We have to begin to learn to be content with less The Socialists are right when they say that even if we live in a country like Australia we must still remain vigilant less the freedoms and the laws that we have here are undermined by corporate greed However how many of us live in houses with electricity and how many of us watch television? Can we go without our laptops or our mobile devices? It is because we desire these things that the corporations remain in control Granted these devices make our lives easier but at what cost? Even if climate change is not a man made phenomena the pollution that is spewed into the air and the toxins that are pumped into our water supply are having a significant impact upon the world in which we live and to be honest with you it is unsustainable We may wonder if there has ever been a similar period in history like our own and my answer is that on one hand there hasn't been one but in another there has The period I point to is that of the mid to later Roman Empire where people were living such luxurious lives that they blinded themselves to the ecological destruction that they were causing It is not simply that either because inflation was running rampant and while the rich were getting richer the basic necessities of life were unreachable by the masses Rome ended up collapsing and with it creating a dark age of epic proportions and that is something that we are even now also looking at


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 ruinOver 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 a It is no secret that nearly all human societies including our present societies favor the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone elseThe dominant institution for implementing this type of exploitation today is the corporation Corporations get politicians elected take over our minds with advertising dump pollution into our environment and routinely commit crime upon crimeThe basic Premise of this book is fairly simple Corporations are not run by evil people but are systematically designed in such a way that harming and exploiting people is a necessary component of their operation Corporations are created to maximize profit and minimize cost Corporations are legally bound to put profit above all other concerns These claims are backed up by an enormous amount of legal dataThe second point is that currently Businesses are insufficiently regulated and not remotely penalized severely enough for their crimes This means that given that their structure is to maximize profit they will lie cheat fraud and harm consumers and employees as this is in the long run the most profitable courseWhat is the solution to this? A rethinking of and legal rewrite of the purpose and function of a corporation Instead of merely a profit making machine a corporation the author argues should be highly regulated and subject to severe penalties when it violates the law Further social responsibility must be legally written into the charter of a corporation and the common good not merely profit must be part of their tasks as a social institutionOnly by so re creating the corporation and its structures can we remove the horrible harms corporations do and make them a force for good rather than a force for harm and destructionAs we celebrate the workers of the world this May Day let us no only honor their labor and speak out for their rights; let us also come to understand the systemic problem of the corporate structure which keeps them exploitedIf we are to have true rights for working people then we must restructure the corporate machine into something very differe

  • Paperback
  • 228
  • The Corporation The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
  • Joel Bakan
  • English
  • 01 February 2018
  • 9780743247467

About the Author: Joel Bakan

Joel Bakan is a professor of law at the University of British Columbia and an internationally renowned legal scholar and commentator A former Rhodes Scholar and law clerk to Chief Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada Bakan has law degrees from Oxford Dalhousie and Harvard His critically acclaimed international hit The Corporation The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power