Over the last 150 years the corporation has risen from relative obscurity to become the world's dominant economic institution. Eminent Canadian law professor and legal theorist Joel Bakan contends that today's corporation is a pathological institution, a dangerous possessor of the great power it wields over people and societies.
In this revolutionary assessment of the history, character, and globalization of the modern business corporation, Bakan backs his premise with the following observations:
The corporation's legally defined mandate is to pursue relentlessly and without exception its own economic self-interest, regardless of the harmful consequences it might cause to others.
The corporation's unbridled self-interest victimizes individuals, society, and, when it goes awry, even shareholders and can cause corporations to self-destruct, as recent Wall Street scandals reveal.
Governments have freed the corporation, despite its flawed character, from legal constraints through deregulation and granted it ever greater authority over society through privatization.