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Critically analyze Joel Bakan's argument in the book The Corporation - Essay Example

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Critically analyze Joel Bakan's argument in the book The Corporation

In supporting his views, he builds upon the claims that, corporations are allowed by legal principles, to elevate their interests above those of others, which encourages them to exploit others without regard for moral or legal directives (Bakan 56). Further, he bases his views on the claim that the corporation’s unchecked self-interest abuses the rights of shareholders, individuals, and exploits the environment – which could cause the self-destruction of the corporation. Other claims presented by Bakan include that governments have renounced the need to control the corporation, regardless of its defective character – by allocating it freedom from legal restraints – through the processes of deregulation and privatization. Bakan views that privatization offers the corporation immense authority over the society (Bakan 72-73). In conclusion, Bakan argues that the structural failures in many corporations can be remedied through far-reaching reform – through imposing democratic control and legal regulation (Bakan 79). Discussion The basic premise of the book holds that, the corporation, which is considered a legal person under legal standards, can only be a psychopath, as evident from its characteristics and the personality it projects. In supporting the view that the corporation can only qualify to be a psychopath, Bakan argues from a psychologist’s perspective that the legal person of a corporation can be attributed to a number of personality traits (Bakan 56). First, the corporation would be irresponsible, as it subjects other entities: shareholders, individuals and the environment at risk, throughout the pursuit for its goals. Bakan’s idea that the corporation is irresponsible is supported by Coors and Winegarden (2005), where they point out that focusing on pleasing all stakeholders will drive the corporation out of business. Bakan, also points out that the corporation is manipulative, as it manipulates the different stakeholders, during the pursuit for the goals it sets to realize. Bakan argues that the corporation is reckless, as it does not assume responsibility for its own actions, especially when the actions are negative. Coors and Winegarden (2005) support Bakan’s ideas, arguing that the corporation is simply a reflection of the priorities and the demands of its consumer population, some changes in its outlook results from a change of the demands of its consumers. This shows that the corporation manipulates its stakeholders and the environment, to ensure that their interests conform to its struggle to meet the changing consumer needs. The recklessness of the corporation is depicted by Coors and Winegarden (2005), who argue that all CSR efforts are merely corporate advertising that seeks to increase consumer knowledge of the corporation’s products. Bakan presents the argument that the corporation is remorseless, as it does not show any remorse, in the cases where it has done something that is perceivably wrong (Bakan 80). Moreover, corporations are grossly remorseless, from the case of Shell Nigeria, which is releasing uncontained poisonous gases into the atmosphere, making it one among the worst pollution-causing agents in the world. The remorselessness of the co ...Show more
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Summary

The corporation is a book authored by Joel Bakan, a filmmaker, author and a law professor at the University of British Columbia, the book was published in February 2004; it explores the political, economic, and the social facets of corporations. The book is an account of reform – guided by deep and wide research – giving insider views and authoritative pointers about the entity of the corporation…
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