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The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy Paperback – January 9, 2003
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Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Inspired by the work of Thomas Paine -- who in an earlier era helped build support for the American Revolution by communicating to ordinary people in clear, uncluttered prose -- Marjorie Kelly makes her case for the democratization of capital in an accessible manner, making this a highly readable book.
The work challenges our basic assumptions. Why are balance sheets constructed to highlight the rate of return from a shareholder perspective only? The author points out that accounting practices could easily be changed to create a more balanced view of the company's value to society. It could measure things such as the value of its employees, the amount of financial support corporations may have siphoned off the public trust, the depletion of natural capital, etc.
Kelly explains that such exercises are rarely taken because shareholders make infinite demands on capital, in much the way that Monarchs declared perpetual domain over land and people in an earlier time. The author refers to writings by Jefferson and other revolutionaries to support her case that the colonists were concerned about limiting the power of corporations even while they were struggling to overthrow the King: corporate charters were usually awarded during this era for limited time periods and were often revoked when companies misbehaved.Read more ›
The author outlines those characteristics of modern corporations that can be considered aristocratic. The aristocratic corporation adopts the legal pretense of being a non-public, private entity. Based on private property rights, a distant and ever-changing group of stockholders have the liberty and voting rights to choose the CEO, while the core constituent body of the corporation and the actual wealth producers, the employees, have no legal voice. Financial gains for the stockholders by virtue of their "ownership" position, irrespective of any real corporate functionality, are to be maximized while costs, which employees represent, are minimized. It is this "wealth privilege" that is truly reminiscent of the status of the olden feudal lord.
By contrast democratically organized corporations would be developed and viewed much differently. First, it would be acknowledged that corporations are semi-public entities with obligations for the public good and subject to control by both the community and employees. A body of distant, amorphous "owners" would not be able to disenfranchise a stable, human community of workers, that is, the employees. The aims of the corporation would reflect the primacy of employees.Read more ›
The Divide Right of Capital is a tightly constructed, highly readable, volume that explores this singular issue along with a number of Wall Street Myths and sacred cows in order to lead the readers down a path that questions traditional investment wisdom and the present structure of our capital markets. Kelly gathers her arguments from across the intellectual spectrum, facts from economics, and political and social rationales, with equal facility, from philosophers. Footnotes inform and enlighten without the heavy hand of academic validation. In fact, with this slim volume, Marjorie Kelly solidifies her position as a public intellectual, a role that has, indeed, been almost vacated by the academic community.
Ms Kelly skillfully points out that, in the 90's, there was potentially, a net outflow of equity capital from the corporate community with corporate buyback of stocks exceeding the investments through new stock offerings. The increase in value in the stock prices through sales in the market did not directly accrue to the corporations whose stock was traded, leading the reader to question what the difference might be between Las Vegas and Wall Street or whether the stock analysis underpinning investment decisions might not be as different as schemes of gamblers to win at games of chance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Everyone should read this. Some of her ideas are seemingly radical, but she makes a good case for them.Published 7 months ago by Kim C.
Poorly written, often repetitive, neither well thought out nor well argued. You can read drivel like this online for free, so save your money.Published 10 months ago by Donald K Schwanz
This book gives the reader the opportunity to evaluate capitalism as a force against citizens.!Published 14 months ago by Gerald
I became interested in this subject as the result of a recent local boycott of a large supermarket chain, calling for the return of a CEO who had created a corporation which shared... Read morePublished 22 months ago by John H. Macdonald
demolishes all the arguments of capitalism and neoliberals!Published 23 months ago by patrick donovan
I ever expect American can think that way because almost of case they are simple, but from this book I change may image of American who are sharp,honest, and brave..........Published on July 29, 2013 by Y Joon Hann
The premise put forth by the author that stockholders are really nothing more than speculators who are serendipitously granted the rights of owners and that employees should be... Read morePublished on June 26, 2011 by sibolek
Analyzing recent debates over topics like the rights of public employee unions, the funding of governments, and the impact of money on America's politics (especially in light of... Read morePublished on April 3, 2011 by Larry R. Bradley
This is one of those great conceptual works that completely changes the way one sees the world or certain parts of it. Read morePublished on February 5, 2011 by Cooljonnorris