Book Review: The New Corporation


The New Corporation book cover

Title: The New Corporation

Author(s): Joel Bakan

When I watched The Corporation it blew up my mind, mostly because I vaguely knew what a corporation was (I thought it was "just a big company"). I totally recommend the documentary, and I won't be going into details of what corporations are. Just watch it.

What this new book (and related documentary that I have not seen) does is building upon the first one, looking back to what has happened in the last 15 years since the original publication. It explains how corporations have changed, not on their underlying pillar (seeking profit), but in the public message and image they showcase, now being in theory agents of change. We learn how they are "doing well by doing good", making money by being good actors, not being good actors because its the right thing to do. Get explanations of their "social and environmental values", given that many times their solutions are not even solving the problem or solving a problem they themselves caused before. And of course, avoiding as much as possible the most equitable solution: paying taxes.

Other big topic covered is how they are slowly taking control of public services through privatization, proclaiming that governments are no longer needed, instead "good corporations" being the solution. Also enumerates quite a few scandals and notable accidents from big corporations.

I don't want this to be a big review, so a more detailed, almost chapter by chapter summary and quite a few "evil corporation examples" can be read at CounterPunch.

The book tries to not be all grim and pessimistic, the last chapter being focused on sources of change for good and ways to "fight back" privatization and abuse of power. Although feels small compared with the remainder offering such a negative view of the world, but at least is something.

It's an interesting book and an easy read. You might not agree on everything it says, and I also think that a few specific topics take too long (too many examples given), but still good overall and recommended.

Tags: Reviews

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