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The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power Hardcover – February, 2004
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*Starred Review* Bakan, an internationally recognized legal scholar and professor of law at the University of British Columbia, takes a powerful stab at the most influential institution of our time, the corporation. As a legal entity, a corporation has as its edict one and only one goal, to create profits for its shareholders, without legal or moral obligation to the welfare of workers, the environment, or the well-being of society as a whole. Corporations have successfully hijacked governments, promoting free-market solutions to virtually all of the concerns of human endeavor. Competition and self-interest dominate, and other aspects of human nature, such as creativity, empathy, and the ability to live in harmony with the earth, are suppressed and even ridiculed. Bakan believes that, like Communism, this ideological order cannot last and that corporate rule must be challenged to bring balance and revive the values of democracy, social justice, equality, and compassion. This eye-opening look at a system "programmed to exploit others for profit" has been made into a provocative film documentary that could be the next Bowling for Columbine. David Siegfried
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Ray C. Anderson chairman and CEO of Interface, Inc. 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. -- Review
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Having done so, I have to say that it is still well-written, still timely, and still pretty horrifying. I wish there were better answers, but we have often shown that we are not willing to put people before profits, and that is what a lot of it comes down to.
I still recommend the book for some valuable historical information, and also for the help it gives in cutting through the crap of what various companies might say about corporate responsibility and things like that.
For example, Bakan makes a strong case for passing a 38th amendment to our Constitution stating that corporations are not people and money is not speech. These two concepts have woven their way into the fabric of our corporate legal system over the last 150 years. The consequences of corporate personhood are far-reaching, yet way below the radar of your typical news program.
Before you take to the streets and rally against Citizen's United, you need to read Bakan and discover that the problem runs deeper than that one Supreme Court decision.
We must protect our children from the bared fangs of corporate greed.