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The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

Joel Bakan

3 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, Business ethics & social responsibility

The book is published to coincide with the theatrical release in the UK of The Corporation, a documentary feature co-produced by the author and based on this book.

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What would the world be like if its ruling elite was insane?


The most powerful class of institution on earth, the corporation, is by any reasonable measure hopelessly and unavoidably demented. The corporation lies, steals and kills without remorse and without hesitation when it serves the interests of its shareholders to do so. It obeys the law only when the costs of crime exceed the profits. Corporate social responsibility is impossible except insofar as it is insincere.


At once a diagnosis and a course of treatment, The Corporation is essential reading for those who want to understand the nature of the modern business system. It is a sober and careful attempt to describe the world as it is, rather than as corporate public relations departments would have us believe it to be. It reveals a world more exotic and more terrifying than any of us could have imagined. And although a billion dollar industry is trying to convince you otherwise, the corporations that surround us are not our friends. Charming and plausible though they are, they can only ever see us as resources to be used. This is the real world, not science fiction, and it really is us or them.

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Praise for The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power

  • The Corporation is Farenheit 9/11 for people who think. - The Independent

  • This fine book was virtually begging to be written. With lucidity and verve, Joel Bakan unveils the history and the character of a devilish instrument that has been created and is nurtured by powerful modern states.

  • ..one of those rare books that opens up a new world. It's message is compelling-- and more important now than ever.

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Joel Bakan

Joel Bakan is professor of law at the University of British Columbia. A Rhodes Scholar and former law clerk to Chief Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada, he holds law degrees from Oxford, Harvard and Dalhousie Universities. An internationally renowned legal authority, Bakan has written widely on law and its social and economic impact.

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