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Paperback When Corporations Rule the World Book

ISBN: 1887208046

ISBN13: 9781887208048

When Corporations Rule the World

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Our Choice: Democracy or Corporate Rule A handful of corporations and financial institutions command an ever-greater concentration of economic and political power in an assault against markets, democracy, and life. It's a "suicide economy," says David Korten, that destroys the very foundations of its own existence. The bestselling 1995 edition of When Corporations Rule the World helped launch a global resistance against corporate domination. In this...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Pinnacle of the Negative Consequences of Corporate Impunity

Others have done well at addressing the strengths of this book, what I can do is bring to bear a few links to other books that deeply support this author and his views. We must begin in the 1970's, when Richard Barnett in Global Reach and others first began to understand that corporations were amoral, disconnected from communities, and beyond what Kirkpatrick called "human scale." Joining the authors focusing on multinationals as a unique new breed of corporation were authors such as Lionel Tiger, whose book Manufacture of Evil: Ethics, Evolution, and the Industrial System remains a standard. The industrial era disconnected kinship and community from the manufacturing process, and trust was a casualty (a thesis confirmed in the 1990's when a Nobel Prize was awarded for a man who proved that trust lowers the cost of doing business). Now we have an entire new literature on how corporations have abused the personality status intended for freed slaves, and been largely freed from all accountability and transparency. Books like The Informant: A True Story and Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story and the books about Wal-Mart, Enron, and Exxon, all support the concerned premise of this author. Corporations have created a global class war (see the books by that title), and have compromised virtually all governments. Corporations have bought the US Congress (see Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders and The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Institutions of American Democracy); they have compromised national, state, and local social safety networks and standards, they have enhanced the power for 45 dictators world-wide, and they have bribed or created and then bribed elites in virtually every country on the planet so as to loot the commonwealths of those nations with the permission of the elites and against the public interest of the larger population. Corporations do not rule the world, they are killing the world, and as one wag whose name I cannot recall has said, those doing the killing have names and addresses. Hence this book is a natural lead in to the author's latest work, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community (Bk Currents) which I am also reviewing today. There are *many* books on the evil of unfettered corporations, if I were to recommend only two, they would be Barnett's "Global Reach" for historical context, and this one for the current threat. I also recommend the DVD, The Corporation

Rediscover Democracy, America

(This review is of the 2001 updated and explanded second edition of When Corporatinos Ruled the World. With 5 new chapters, updated statistics and a revamp, we now know that it is possible to improve upon perfection.) By far, the most comprehensive, well-researched, incisive documentation of systemic corporate abuse available. However, When Corporations Rule is not simply a litany of profligate corporate excess. Korten explains the dysfunctional logic of our system, outlines the horrendous consequences for community and environment, and provides clear, cogent plans of action to restore democracy and awaken culturally. The thesis is so obvious it is a wonder no one has formulated before. We always harangue socialism as an "extreme ideology," but capitalism is also an extreme ideology. Socialism concentrates power in a centralized government, creating unsupportable social and environmental costs. Likewise, capitalism concentrates power in huge private institutions (the modern multinational corporation), which also have enormous social and environmental costs. Both advance the concentration of rights of ownership without limit, to the exclusion of the needs and rights of the many who own virtually nothing. And as Korten points out, the impoverished many are growing. As of 1992, the richest 20 percent of the global population received as much as 82.7 percent of the total world income. The poorest 20 percent received 1.4 percent. These figures indicate growing economic inequality, which is has become even more pronounced in the last decade. In 1998, the world's top three billionaires totaled more assets than the combined GNP of all the least developing countries and their 600 million people. Of the world's 6 billion people, 2.8 - that is, nearly half - were living on less than $2 a day. Some 1.2 billion of that half lived on less than a dollar a day. Inside America - the global economic trendsetter - this growing global inequality is mirrored in microcosm. In fact, inequality and hardship is even more exaggerated in the Land of the Free. The wealthiest 10 percent now owns almost 90 percent of all business equity, 88.5 percent of all bonds, and 89.3 percent of all stocks. In 1999, the total compensation of U.S. corporate CEOs was 475 times the average production worker's pay; and 29 percent of all U.S. workers were in jobs paying poverty level wages, defined as an hourly wage too low to meet the needs of a family of four. Moreover, with each new mega-merger, more capital, power and control are concentrated in these already mammoth institutions.These are just a few of the statistics sited in the book, but When Corporations Rule offers more than statistical analysis. With laser precision, Korten assays economic and political history, uncovering the reasons for these global trends: including the illusion of growth, the loss of governmental oversight in the affairs of corporations, the rise of the Newtonian mechanical worldview and its subsequent deval

A well written proponent of Democratic Pluralism

David C. Korten does a fine job mixing both analysis with history. This well referenced book cites the inherent flaws found within both the systems of Marxism and Free-Market Capitalism. The author clearly demonstrates a repulsion for these two "extremist ideologies."Korten puts forth a well stated argument for Democratic Pluralism, while criticizing the inherent flaws of western societies growing economic system. Ironically, Korten uses Adam Smith (among many others) to support the ideas of a "regulated-market economy." An idea which recognizes the important roles that the Civic sector, Government sector and the Market sector all play in operating society. Korten propose a way to improve the quality of life for majority (not he minority) of people on this planet.While doing so he repeatedly stresses the importance of creating economic sustainability, through ecological sustainability. The reviewer frmokehee 's comments regarding Korten as a communist, and his long drown out environmental criticism seem blatantly unfounded with in the texts of this book. Although his review seems to have some facts straight (regarding the environment), in regards to this book he does not. Whether or not this individual has even read this book or anything about it, aside from some negative reviews, seems questionable.
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