CORPORATIONS HAVE A NEW
RESOURCE TO MINE FOR PROFIT: OUR CHILDREN
In Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children
(Free Press/August 9, 2011/$26.00 hardcover), 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.
Focusing on the United States in particular,
Bakan demonstrates how:
- Marketers target children with increasingly
devious methods to manipulate their vulnerable emotions,
cultivate compulsive behavior, and addle their psyches with
violence, sex, and obsessive consumerism.
- More and more children take dangerous
psychotropic drugs as pharmaceutical companies commandeer
medical science and deploy dubious and often illegal marketing
tactics to boost sales.
- Children's chronic health problems
are rising dramatically as corporations dump thousands of
new chemicals, in increasing amounts, into the environment,
usually with the blessings of industry-influenced governments.
- Children as young as six are working
illegally on farms, getting injured, becoming ill, and dying
on the job, while the legal age for farm work remains a
shockingly low 12 years old in the U.S.
- America's schools are becoming private-sector
markets for profit-seeking companies, harnessing education
to the needs of industry and promoting increasingly regimented
and standardized learning.
- And more
"As governments retreat from their
previous roles of protecting children from harm at the hands
of corporations," Bakan writes, "we, as a society,
increasingly neglect children's needs, expose them to exploitation,
and thus betray what we, as individuals, cherish most in our
lives." Childhood Under Siege is a call to action
to reverse these trends, and provides the necessary insights,
information, and concrete proposals to do so.
Bakans powerful, well-documented polemic is just what
we need to hear right now, if we are to even begin to reverse
the toxic consumerist legacy we are bequeathing to future
Literary Review of Canada
information in Bakan's book is...stunning....The book sounds
alarms about issues that go under most parents' radar."
Under Siege" is an essential read for anyone who works
for or cares about children because we simply can't advocate
for and teach them effectively if we don't know what we are
up against. As a mother and a teacher, it was sometimes overwhelming
to read this book, but for my own work and parenting I forced
myself to keep going. At times it was deeply frightening--and
I do media literacy training as part of my work. It's very
simple: If you want to be relevant in a child's life, you
need to read this book."
Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabees
Under Siege" outlines the powerful strategies at play
in the corporate war against children.
This engaging, carefully researched and important book is
a call to action to those who believe we have a responsibility
to protect all our children with our laws and public policies
as well as our hearts."
Mary Pipher, author of The Shelter of Each Other and Seeking
on childhood in our corporate-dominated and profit-driven
society, painfully dissected in this penetrating study, is
a tragedy not only for the immediate victims but for hopes
for a better future. It can be resisted, as Joel Bakan discusses.
And it is urgent not to delay."
new century of unlimited private profits has put an end to
the era of publicly protected childhood. Separated by corporate
design from their parents, kids have become capitalism's newest,
most lucrative, consumers. Joel Bakan offers an angry but
careful analysis of how the market flourishes today by selling
our children everything from dangerous drugs, toxic plastics
and unhealthy snack foods to violent and addictive video games
and for-profit standardized tests. If they read Bakan carefully,
once they get over their rage, both parents and policy makers
may be ready to lift the corporate siege that is threatening
not just our children but childhood itself."
Benjamin R. Barber, author of Consumed: How Markets Infantilize
Adults, Corrupt Children and Swallow Citizens Whole
Under Siege" is a compelling call to arms in the covert
war for our children's minds, health, and future. Joel Bakan
empowers us all to stop lamenting the destruction of childhood
and do something to rescue it."
Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., Educational Psychologist and author
of Different Learners: Identifying, Preventing, and Treating
Your Child's Learning Problems
To be a child
today, even in affluent countries like ours, is no longer
a time of innocence, idyll and discovery, as Bakan reveals
in "Childhood Under Siege". Most children today
grow up on a planet in which billions of tons of toxic chemicals
have been poured into the air, water and soil; in a big city
where the opportunity to encounter nature has been replaced
by concrete, fast cars, video games and shopping malls; in
a world in which childhood represents a marketing challenge
and opportunity. Read this important book and then start working
David Suzuki, Co-Founder, The David Suzuki Foundation
Under Siege", Joel Bakan documents and depicts a modern
disaster-in-the-making as ominous as our society's assault
on the natural environment: the social and economic destruction
of the conditions for healthy childhood. An eloquent and prophetic
work we need most urgently to heed.
Gabor Maté M.D., author of In The Realm of Hungry
Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
passionate argument and copious research in this compelling
call for parents to stand up for their children.
Vanessa Bush, Booklist, starred review