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
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 othersa concept endorsed
by no less a luminary than the Nobel Prize-winning economist
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
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
. As a manifesto for change, it
could be the most important book written in decades."
Sunday Star-Times (New Zealand)
Many readers will do what I did upon finishing
the book: reach for the phone, call a friend, and say, 'This
is the book we've been waiting for.'"
brief is as well-ordered, concise and sober as its accusation
[The Corporation is] lucid and urgent
The Observer (United Kingdom)
powerful and elegant critique, which is both clear and accessible
significant challenge to the way we think about business."
International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy
does such a good job of creating awareness that it can't help
but be a call to action."
takes a powerful stab at the most influential institution
of our time, the corporation. ... [An] eye-opening look at
a system 'programmed to exploit others for profit.'"
Booklist - starred review
analysis is strong on pinpointing problems with current business."
Harvard Business Review
prose is soothing, free of scholarly clottedness and leftist
stridency. The reader is impressed - thrilled even - to watch
him coolly denude the corporate person until it stands naked
senior business executives should find the time to read this
well-researched and well-written book....The Corporation will
force you to reflect on what really matters, both in one's
life and in one's company."
The Globe and Mail