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How do the interests of corporations conflict with the public's interest - Essay Example

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Date Free Market Dilemma: The Contention between Corporate and Public Interests The historical development of the free market paradigm of laissez faire economy and independent trade has led to the growth of modern corporations and giant, consolidated business, which, in the current age of globalization and IT boom, have emerged as the major controlling powers of the world economy…
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How do the interests of corporations conflict with the publics interest
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How do the interests of corporations conflict with the public's interest

(Lydenberg 9) The main aim of my paper is to address the question that while global corporations have become the foundation of world economy, do they act in the interest of the general population. I have made use of the highly resourceful and entertaining book by Joel Bakan, The Corporations, among other sources, where the author examines the ‘pathological pursuit of profit and power’ with a deep insight into dominant problems of the current market paradigm. He compares private corporate industry, amusingly as well as disturbingly, to a clinical psychopath whose obsessive self-indulgence does not admit human considerations of common public welfare. Aided by government-sanctioned laws, functioning to further business interests, these great corporations act with absolute impunity, pursuing the single object of meeting their own financial targets. While much of the prevailing argument is negative, one must admit the capacity of public good that Corporate Welfare truly holds and can contribute to society. Market productivity can propagate, even ensure, general innovations in terms of technology and finance. However, whether that immense power is actually employed for its real purpose is another question altogether. Several current discourses and studies are now addressing these areas. Many works seek to confirm the validity of a number of activities falling under the broad category of Corporate Social Responsibility and aims at the behavioral analysis of the related philanthropic aspects of the said initiations. (Keim 1) Other researchers openly criticize the entire concept of corporate social welfare, deeming it an empty facade that merely masks the ugly face of self-interested private enterprises, driven only by and towards profit and power, as superbly exemplified in Bakan’s excellent book. The recent atmosphere of public distrust and doubt towards the corporations are quite evident given the frightening economic crashes in the past few years. The on-going debates over public vs. corporate interests have intensified following the emergence of the market trend of privatizing and industrialization of social services. (Lydenberg 10) In The Corporations, Bakan gives a comprehensive outline of the process of corporate growth from the 17th to the early 20th century, citing the first major incidents of economic disasters, almost as cautionary tales of corporate greed. He goes on to present a non-ambivalent and direct criticism of the US jurisprudence for supporting the ultimately counter-productive business claims of large companies for the temporary gain of profits. The de-regularization of legalities concerning corporate functions have handed over too much freedom to these industries, causing a capitalist power center that controls much of the socio-political scenario. However, I must highlight, that efforts have been made in the recent past to correct this oversight and gain back some government control over the companies. Contemporary readings, I believe, must involve an examination of both ‘the market and the public sphere models’ (Crocteau and Hoynes 38). The past three decades show the development of several strategies to counter corporate exploitation of public ... Read More
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