Joel Bakan

A Quote by Joel Bakan on google, evil, and corporation

I think Google's founders are both a couple of guys with some high ideals which have been to some degree reflected in the way the company has been run in terms of its having a very good workplace and good employee programs, and now that they're going public they want in some ways to be able to ensure that that kind of approach continues. So they've effectively put in place this notion of "Don't Be Evil".

Now I think there are number of problems with that. The first one is: what is evil and who is going to be deciding what evil is? You can go a long way in terms of putting in various kinds of relatively normal employment practices without it being evil. Obviously if you're paying people slave wages and whatnot that would be evil, so that's the first question, but the second and I think the more profound question is: how is that idea of "Don't Be Evil" going to fit with the legally-compelled mandate of the directors and of the managers of that company to serve the best interest of the shareholders of that company? And that I think is where the problem lies. "Don't Be Evil" is a nice kind of phrase, kind of mission statement, kind of notion. But ultimately there's a legal duty and a legal obligation on the part of the company's directors and managers to do whatever needs to be done to ensure that the best interest of the shareholders are served, and that means the best financial interest of the shareholders.

Joel Bakan

Source: Interview with Joel Bakan author of The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power: http://www.urbanvancouver.com/article/interviews/joel-bakan

Contributed by: ~C4Chaos

A Quote by Joel Bakan on corporation

In the mid 1990s when I was working as a law professor at UBC, I realized that we were entering a new era in terms of corporate power largely because of the dynamics of globalization, de-regulation and privatization. I thought that it was interesting that the corporation was not just a sort of business entity making widgets and providing goods and services, it is really becoming a governing institution in the world and yet we know very little about it, as citizens. Lawyers, however, do know a lot about it. I thought it would be important to share what is almost a Masonic secret as to what the true nature of the institution is.

Joel Bakan

Source: Interview with the Corporation's Joel Bakan: http://viewfromcbu.blogspot.com/2008/02/interview-with-corporations-joel-bakan.html

Contributed by: ~C4Chaos

A Quote by Joel Bakan on corporation

I’m not a utopian and I’m not really even a radical. I’m not saying we have to overthrow corporate capitalism and create a completely new system. That’s just not realistic, even if it were desirable. I am interested in talking about what people can do tomorrow, or next week, not in the possibility of some utopian future. And what I think people can get activated over as citizens, today and tomorrow, is trying to regain our sense of responsibility and power to actually create a reasonable balance between the creation of financial wealth in society, through corporations and their activities, and broader public interests

Joel Bakan

Source: Counter Thoughts: An Interview with Joel Bakan of The Corporation: http://www.themetropolitan.ca/story_jennchrumka_ticounterthoughtstle.php

Contributed by: ~C4Chaos

A Quote by Joel Bakan on business, corporation, and google

I think Google's founders are both a couple of guys with some high ideals which have been to some degree reflected in the way the company has been run in terms of its having a very good workplace and good employee programs, and now that they're going public they want in some ways to be able to ensure that that kind of approach continues. So they've effectively put in place this notion of "Don't Be Evil".

Now I think there are number of problems with that. The first one is: what is evil and who is going to be deciding what evil is? You can go a long way in terms of putting in various kinds of relatively normal employment practices without it being evil. Obviously if you're paying people slave wages and whatnot that would be evil, so that's the first question, but the second and I think the more profound question is: how is that idea of "Don't Be Evil" going to fit with the legally-compelled mandate of the directors and of the managers of that company to serve the best interest of the shareholders of that company? And that I think is where the problem lies. "Don't Be Evil" is a nice kind of phrase, kind of mission statement, kind of notion. But ultimately there's a legal duty and a legal obligation on the part of the company's directors and managers to do whatever needs to be done to ensure that the best interest of the shareholders are served, and that means the best financial interest of the shareholders.

Joel Bakan

Source: Interview with Joel Bakan author of The Corporation: http://www.urbanvancouver.com/article/interviews/joel-bakan

Contributed by: ~C4Chaos

A Quote by Joel Bakan on corporations, business, and government

The whole difficulty I think that that we're facing now is the question of who is going to ensure that corporations are accountable. The problem with leaving it to activists and non-governmental organizations—even with the tool of the Internet at their disposal—is that those organizations and those people don't have the legal right to compel corporations to disclose information, and that is something that governments can do. Governments can can send inspectors to companies. Governments can put legal requirements in place to disclose information that consumers and workers and other interested people need. Non-governmental organizations don't have that legal power and to me, that's what imposes substantial limitiations on how far we can go with trying to keep corporations accountable though non-governmental measures.

Joel Bakan

Source: Interview with Joel Bakan author of The Corporation: http://www.urbanvancouver.com/article/interviews/joel-bakan

Contributed by: ~C4Chaos

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