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The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

1 rating: 4.0
2005 non-fiction book by Joel Bakan

The Corporation The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power       By Joel Bakan  Description Over the last 150 years the corporation has risen from relative obscurity to become the world's dominant economic institution. … see full wiki

Author: Joel Bakan
Genre: Company Profiles, Ethics, Corporate Finance, Business Ethics, Industrial, Blue Politics, see all
Publisher: Free Press
Date Published: March 1, 2005
1 review about The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit...

Food for thought about the role of corporations in our lives.

  • Dec 27, 2008
  • by
Joel Bakan has made a very thoughtful and convincing presentation about how corporations have come to play an ever increasing role in all of our lives.  And he argues vehemently that this is not a good thing.  Before the advent of the corporation most larger businesses were partnerships.  Under this arrangement all of the partners could be held personally liable for any losses incurred by the business.  With the advent of the corporation, investors were relieved of this personal liability. And this according to Bakan is one of the major problems.  The sole purpose of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders.  And as a practical matter corporations pursue profits at the expense of anything and everything and every one in their way.  There is no room for morality in corporations.  A few well-intentioned CEO's have tried place significant emphasis on moral concerns.  But due to the nature of the beast it is almost always doomed to failure.

There is an old expression that "nature fills a void".  Corporations operate in much the same fashion.  When city and state governments are strapped for cash, corporations are ready and willing to step in.  It is not because they are benevolent or good citizens.  It is because it is good business to do so.  Bakan cites the disturbing example of Channel One, a daily TV news program seen by 40% of the students in the U.S.  Corporations provide all kinds of electronic gear to schools in exchange for a promise that students will watch the news program on a daily basis.  And of course this news program is "brought to you by" any number of major corporations.  Now I am a pretty conservative fellow, but I share the authors outrage at practices like this.  And while I am a big advocate of private and parochial schools as an alternative to the public school system I abhor the concept of "for profit" schools run by corporations.  Are we interested in producing good well-rounded citizens or automotons to one day work in the corporate world?  Joel Bakan cites many other issues where the interests of corporate America clash with the interests of the average citizen. And who is out there speaking up for us?  "The Corporation:  The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power" is a well written book that deserves your time and attention.   Highly recommended!

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February 01, 2009
The Liberal Arts degree has become the object of scorn for the simple reason that it DOES produce well rounded citizens who are capable of taking their place in society and being responsible voters but, alas, are not fit to take their place as part of the cogs of the machine. You constantly see ads for tech schools on tv that proudly state you needn't spend a single moment learning anything that won't make you money! Well, at least they're making sure our priorities are straight! As long as its all about the Benjamins things will never change.
December 27, 2008
Very interesting review! I always had thought I wanted to (partly by choice and partly just because that's the way it'd probably end up) work for a corporation after college, typical job in a cubicle working for the man yadda yadda, but it's really interesting to see how my views have changed just after in a job like that for one year. This is just my personal opinion of working in/for a corporation but makes me want to read this book nonetheless. Thanks!
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