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Profit with Honor: The New Stage of Market Capitalism (The Future of American Democracy Series) Paperback – June 19, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: The Future of American Democracy Series
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (June 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300122608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300122602
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,248,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Social scientist Yankelovich (Uniting America) is a policy-minded pollster who has served on the boards such companies as CBS, ETS and US West. Here he takes stock of Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Adelphia and other alleged bilkers, arguing that such companies are not just bad apples on a sound branch: the increasing permissiveness and deregulation of the business world, he argues, coupled with the stock market's increased emphasis on short-term shareholder value, has instigated a climate of unenlightened, all-consuming self-interest. Americans are thus faced with a stark choice between a free market or a civil society, but each vision is "radically incomplete." Arguing that the current climate for business is both harmful and unlikely to be legislated away, he proposes a new set of cultural norms dubbed "stewardship ethics"-social responsibility, but without the usual self-righteous disdain for money associated with non-profits. Yaneklovich's guidelines evoke the usual business utopia, where employees and consumers alike return to trust in the corporations, but his slim volume is more visionary than practical, leaving interested parties largely on their own when it comes to implementing his ideas on stewardship.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Yankelovich, a social scientist, researcher, and 30-year veteran of many corporate boards and trusteeships, brings his unique perspective to the challenging topic of ethics in corporate America. Recent corporate scandals can be traced to consequences of deregulation, linking of executives' incentive compensation to the company's stock price, and the acceptability of executives winning for their own gain at everyone else's expense. Although not a new concept, Yankelovich's stewardship ethics designates profit taking as a top corporate priority along with care of employees, customers, the community, and society at large. Yankelovich's reputation and vast experience in dealing with corporate management gives authority to this road map for developing an ethical culture. He believes ethical renewal "must come company by company, led by individual CEOs who become convinced that stewardship ethics will give them a strategic competitive advantage in the marketplace and who know how to use their boards for the judgment, support^B and validation they need to implement their policies." Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
It is a short book, a mere 169 pages of actual text.
Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty
Yankelovich has crammed a lot of good stuff and cogent analysis in here about the business climate and corporate responses.
Walter H. Bock
He wants to get to the true story and solve problems.
Frank T. Manheim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty on July 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a book I wish I had written. I have talked at length over the past few years about what is wrong with today's capitalist economy and particularly so since the Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, and other corporate scandals. However, I am and always have been a committed supporter of a free-market economy with minimal government interference. In the late 1950s (while very young!) I embraced Ayn Rand's "laissez-faire" theory of business, only to be later disturbed by some of the unwarranted and seriously problematic assumptions one had to make in order to completely buy into her "doctrine" of extreme individualism and "caveat emptor" economics. While I recognized that neither Communism (ala Marx) nor state socialism could bring about a dynamic market economy combined with political liberty, there was, I thought, definitely something missing in the theory and practice of a free-market economy as Rand and her coterie envisioned and promoted it. Moreover, the so-called "mixed economy" (which is what the U.S. pretty much has now -- a mixture of free-market and "socialist" elements) has not prevented the scandals recently experienced.

Enter Daniel Yankelovich with his new book "Profit With Honor: The New Stage of Market Capitalism." In my opinion, on the Aristotelian scale of ethical virtue, his book represents the "mean" between the extremes of a dog-eat-dog capitalism with profit as the "only" consideration and the position that profit is evil, private enterprise is antisocial and, therefore, a centrally-planned government-run economy is the only acceptable solution. Economic activity is, of course, not fundamentally different from any other human activity, whether it be individual, social, political, or whatever.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. L Lamendola VINE VOICE on July 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is about ethics and integrity in corporate America. The author discusses the various scandals of the past decade or so, looks at root causes, and proposes a solution.

This book could easily have been a statist prescription for yet more regulation by that whacko entity we call the federal government (which doesn't actually govern), but fortunately it was not. Just as easily, it could have been yet another book used by the author to push the leftist agenda in the rosiest of terms, despite the fact that agenda has always failed and always will. Fortunately, we were spared that reality-challenged view as well. Nor is it another effort to push the "conservative" agenda (basically, a way of diverting money to special interests). In fact, Yankelovich stresses the need to move beyond political "solutions" to problems.

People change careers, and I am one of those people. In my former life as an engineer (in a galaxy far, far away or something to that effect), one of the skills I learned was root cause analysis. This kind of analysis is demonstrably absent in public policy, as is evident from the demonstrable failure of federal policies, federal agencies, federal programs, and just about anything else spewing forth from Washington, DC. I notice that most "experts" have pretty logical-sounding solutions to what ails us, but almost none of them first determines what problem needs solving. They have a hammer (their area of expertise), and the whole world is their nail.

Yankelovich takes a humbler and more rational approach. This book talks about what CEOs and other leaders should do to restore integrity in our corporations, yet in the preface he says he's neither a celebrated CEO nor an expert on the subject. Upon reading the book, I found this worked to his advantage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Walter H. Bock on August 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Daniel Yankelovich is a social scientist who has also served on several corporate boards. That gives him a unique perspective on the ethical challenges that face board members.

Yankelovich, to use his term, is a "privileged witness," who sees business from the outside, but has seen its inner workings up close. Even more important in some ways is the fact that he and his company have been among the firms tracking changes in society over several decades.

Here is why he wrote this book: "The purpose of this short book is to suggest that the business community can turn the scandals of recent years to good use, both for business itself and for the larger society."

Yankelovich sees three causes for these scandals. They are: 1) deregulation; 2) linking the biggest part of CEO compensation to stock price; and, 3) the importing of wider social norms into business, resulting in what he calls "unenlightened self-interest."

In the first half of the book he outlines changes in social norms in both business in society over several decades. Business, according to Yankelovich is more likely establish the norms he desires than society as a whole. And, he thinks, if business does so it will "help dispel moral confusion in the culture at large."

He says: "My main argument in the book is that the time has come for market capitalism in the United States to advance to a new stage of enlightened self-interest."

To do that he advocates something he calls "Stewardship Ethics," which he defines as "commitment to care for one's institution and those it serves in a manner that responds to a higher level of expectations.
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