The Corporation Book Joel Bakan
Bakan authored The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, a book analyzing the evolution and modern-day behavior of corporations from a critical perspective. Published in 2004, it was made into a film The Corporation by directors Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott the same year and won 25 international awards. His book Childhood Under Siege was published in August 2011. Joel Bakan writes in The Corporation:
The Corporation Book Joel Bakan
As incisive as Eric Schlosser's bestselling Fast Food Nation, as rigorous as Joseph E. Stiglitz's Globalization and Its Discontents, and as scathing as Michael Moore's Stupid White Men, Joel Bakan's new book is a brilliantly argued account of the corporation's pathological pursuit of profit and power. An eminent law professor and legal theorist, Bakan contends that the corporation is created by law to function much like a psychopathic personality whose destructive behavior, if left unchecked, leads to scandal and ruin. In the most revolutionary assessment of the corporation as a legal and economic institution since Peter Drucker's early works, Bakan backs his premise with the following claims: The corporation's legally defined mandate is to pursue relentlessly and without exception its own economic self-interest, regardless of the harmful consequences it might cause to others -- a concept endorsed by no less a luminary than the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. 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. While corporate social responsibility in some instances does much good, it is often merely a token gesture, serving to mask the corporation's true character. Governments have abdicated much of their control over the corporation, despite its flawed character, by freeing it from legal constraints through deregulation and by granting it ever greater authority over society through privatization. Despite the structural failings found in the corporation, Bakan believes change is possible and outlines a far-reaching program of concrete, pragmatic, and realistic reforms through legal regulation and democratic control. Backed by extensive research, The Corporation draws on in-depth interviews with such wide-ranging figures as CEO Hank McKinnell of Pfizer, Nobel Prize-winner Milton Friedman, business guru Peter Drucker, and critic Noam Chomsky of MIT. From inside the book if (window['_OC_autoDir']) _OC_autoDir('search_form_input'); What people are saying - Write a reviewUser ratings5 stars54 stars03 stars12 stars01 star0Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identifiedLibraryThing ReviewUser Review - RajivC - LibraryThingThis book by Joel Bakan is intriguing indeed. He starts with a short history of the rise of modern organizations and how they have started consuming our lives. The rise seems to be inexorable. Joel ... Read full review
Despite the author's being a law scholar, the book is not a dry treaty, it's a popular book written for a mass readership and if anything can be accused of being bit to simple rather than overtly complicated. It is, essentially, a book with one pivotal thesis: fundamentally and inherently, corporations are psychopathic and cannot be any other way. Regardless of the moral values of the people who run any individual company, corporations' sole and whole purpose is to maximise profits for their owners. They are legally obliged to do so with disregard to anybody else's interest, unless taking into account such interest is beneficial to the bottom line.
The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film written by University of British Columbia law professor Joel Bakan and filmmaker Harold Crooks , and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary examines the modern-day corporation. Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, during the filming of the documentary.
A: Corporations are legally required always to prioritize creating wealth for their shareholders. Efficiency for them means low costs and high profits. Once they are put in charge of public services, their institutional imperatives tend not to align with ensuring citizens have equal access to things like high-quality education, potable water, and effective sewage systems. Which helps explain the abundance of evidence (recounted in my book and film) showing how privatization results in inadequate and unequally distributed services. Governments are fundamentally different than corporations. Their institutional mandates are only to serve public interests, which is why when they fail to do so the solution is to fix that, not to hand the job to corporations.
CHW: One of the five ways corporations harm kids that you detail in your book is through pharmaceuticals. This is also one of the issues we examine at CHW. Can you give an example of how the pharmaceutical industry harms children?
In my first book, The Corporation, I argued that if corporations were really people, they would be considered psychopaths by their behavior and traits. Now, as they put on a false face, they have effectively become charming psychopaths.
In The Corporation, Law and Capitalism, Grietje Baars offers a radical Marxist perspective on the role of law in the global political economy. Closing a major gap in historical-materialist scholarship, Baars demonstrates how the corporation, capitalism 's main engine from city-state and colonial times to the present multinational, is a masterpiece of legal technology. The symbiosis between law and capital becomes acutely apparent in the question of 'corporate accountability '. Baars provides a detailed analysis of corporate human rights and war crimes trials, from the Nuremberg industrialists ' trials to current efforts. The book shows that precisely because of law 's relationship to capital, law cannot prevent or remedy the 'externalities ' produced by corporate capitalism. This realisation will generate the space required to formulate a different answer to 'the question of the corporation ', and to global corporate capitalism more broadly, outside of the law.
"The corporation represents the central institution of modern capitalism, yet it is one to which Marxists have paid little attention. Grietje Baars rectifies this situation, offering a systematic Marxist reconstruction of the legal form of the corporation from its origins through to the present day. The book is essential reading to anyone interested in the corporation, Marxist analysis of the law and how to fight contemporary capitalism."
In my first book, the Corporation, I argued that if corporations were really people, they would be by their behaviour and traits be considered psychopaths. Now, as they put on a false face, they have effectively become charming psychopaths.
Joel Bakan's book is a brilliantly argued account of the corporation's pathological pursuit of profit and power. An eminent law professor and legal theorist, Bakan contends that the corporation is created by law to function much like a psychopathic personality whose destructive behavior, if left unchecked, leads to scandal and ruin.
Abbott: Yes, I agree with everything Joel says on this subject, and credit Joel and his books for essential contributions to understanding the battle between corporations and democracy.
In the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Power and Profit, Bakan (2004, pp. 34-53) provides a critical analysis of modern day organizations. His arguments revolve around the power and the objectives of companies and organizations. He traces the foundations of corporations to the 17th century and asserts that the objectives of the corporation have changed tremendously.
As incisive as Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, as rigorous as Joseph Stiglitz's Globalization and its Discontents, Joel Bakan's new book is a revolutionary analysis of the corporation as an artificial person, programmed by law to operate in ways that in a human would be clearly psychopathic. And, since the corporation has claimed rights once reserved for human beings, Bakan argues that it is time for us to decide whether we are happy to put our trust in a system in which the lunatics have not only taken over the asylum but also own it lock, stock and barrel.
Siege is strongest when he is speaking on corporate acts of unregulated self-interest, perhaps unsurprising given that his last book and film were The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. As a lawyer and a parent, Bakan provides a strong collection of case studies and citations of further reading for anyone interested in exactly how for-profit corporations dominate our lives, manufacture our desires, and provide the illusion of free choice in a world of options limited to those they want us to see. The notes alone run to nearly 100 pages, creating a compelling and comprehensive roadmap of available literature for further self-education.
In Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children, Joel Bakan reveals the astonishingly callous and widespread exploitation of children by profit-seeking corporations-and also society's shameful failure to protect them. The creator of the award-winning film and internationally best-selling book The Corporation, Bakan shows how corporations pump billions of dollars into rendering parents and governments powerless to shield children from a relentless commercial assault designed solely to exploit their unique needs and vulnerabilities.