the Corporation (the book)

Joel Bakan’s book is an 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.
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Dr. Andrew Thompson Award For Contribution to Sustainability and Environmental Protection in BC

West Coast Environmental Law is asking for nominations for the Dr. Andrew Thompson award, to be given to an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to environmental protection and sustainability in British Columbia through the law. The award is not restricted to lawyers. The award will recognize Dr. Thompson’s contribution to the development and practice of law in service of our environment. As the widely-recognized dean of environmental law in British Columbia, Dr. Thompson helped West Coast Environmental Law define our mission. He was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the law, his mastery of environmental and resource law, his mentorship of others, and his love of the outdoors and the North. He was committed to resolving environmental law disputes through constructive, cooperative dialogue, careful reasoning and clear analysis, and ensuring a meaningful role for the public in environmental decision-making. In 2002, two years after he passed away, West Coast Environmental Law was proud to receive a gift of $100,000 from the family of Dr. Thompson, in his memory, to fund an ongoing award that honoured him and his work. Criteria The Award will honour a Canadian resident who has demonstrated a significant lifetime contribution to environmental protection and sustainability in British Columbia, through the law. The contribution may be made through legal practice, education or research aimed at developing laws and standards that protect the environment and ensure sustainability. The contribution may have resulted from an individual’s occupation, professional responsibilities or activities as a citizen or member of an organization. The contribution can include community-based, regional, national and international achievements as long as they have contributed to environmental protection and sustainability in British Columbia. In keeping with Dr. Thompson’s legacy, the award will take particular note of contributions that have been made through enabling of citizens, building capacity within communities and fostering of environmental protection and sustainability through rational constructive dialogue. The award will recognize individuals only. Nominations Process Anyone wanting to nominate an individual should submit, by July 15, 2004, the following: * a letter (maximum 4 pages) explaining the nominee’s contribution to environmental protection and sustainability in British Columbia, * a short signed statement by the nominee saying that they accept the nomination, to the following address: Dr. Andrew Thompson Award Selection Committee, West Coast Environmental Law 1001-207 West Hastings Street Vancouver, BC, V6B 1H7. For more information, visit the website below, or call West Coast Environmental Law toll-free at 1 800 330-WCEL.
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