GREED - What some people are able to do for money. (For Lazy Readers Book 1)
And, less benevolently, by the starting of foreign wars, which require repairs, for which we provide contractors, whose profits return to us.
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This new wave is not powered by any single ideology. But this odd combination of Social Darwinism and laissez-faire is a soil mixture that produced the explosive capitalism and empire-building at the turn of the last century, and it will work again. I say odd combination because these two theories are actually contradictory. Libertarians should look over their shoulders. Sociobiologists say even the functioning of our societies is constrained by our genes, so the idea of us choosing to expand our liberties is hilarious to them.
These two theories were also contradictory a hundred years ago. Turn on the television and watch our national leaders talk policy. They explain we are bringing our way of doing business to foreign lands because capitalism brings democracy. We are the bringers of fortune, uplift, goodness, opportunity and freedom for all - the best destiny humanity has to offer. Just because this argument is delivered from a podium bathed in rotating lights does not make it true. It is also broken logic.
One of the main events in capitalism is the creation of inequality. We recall that the two basic values of democracy are freedom and equality.
They are the two wings on which that exalted bird flies. And we notice these official speeches on foreign policy promise freedom, but they never promise equality. We cannot export equality. Second, a point always omitted from these speeches is that capitalism comes in different species. One type is authoritarian capitalism and it is decidedly undemocratic.
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A governing power, sometimes a military dictator, promises businessmen they will make astonishing profits if they just follow his orders. This - the melding of business and state - happens to be one of the elements of fascism. Another defining element of fascism is that inequality is a virtue. But free market economics are being built everywhere. This is so powerful, it has the face of a titan.
So we cannot do it any harm, analyzing it. We have plenty of time to pull up our chairs, and at our leisure examine its beating heart. The major musculature of our modern free markets is corporations. They deserve attention. Corporations are collections of people doing business. Other types of business entities exist, sole proprietorships and partnerships, but corporations are surely the largest.
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Some corporations are more wealthy than some countries. They inspire joy in some people, fear in others. Corporations have been harshly attacked in several books by investigative reporters. As a rule, they lack transparency. And they seem invulnerable surrounded as they are by walls of lawyers 38, Many corporations hire their own economists so they are also difficult to comprehend.
But these attacks have made no difference. One book, however, written by a lawyer, may make a difference. It translates the stygian legalese and economics into common language. The book is no less frightening. The author reveals the corporate Achilles heel. Bodies in Two Parts. From the start corporations were peculiarities, being bodies that are split into two parts. Directors and managers run the firms, but stockholders own them. And the stockholders are an ever shifting bunch, being owners today, sellers tomorrow. Most stockholders have no interest in how the firm does business.
They only look at the daily value of the stock. Since the only business of a corporation is to make profit, this is a recipe for corruption, because the stock's value can fluctuate on rumor and reputation, and a firm might grow wealthy on lies, or by overcharging, or by selling a dangerous product, or by not doing anything except issuing promises, and the stockholders are just as delighted. And then return to do it again.
Most of what we know as morality and humanity are externalities. This breakage can have enormous effects on the world. Corporations are externalizing machines, says Bakan. Yes, there are some corporation CEOs who exercise morality and judgment.
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But they are not supported by Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, who believes the only moral duty of the corporation is to put profit over social and environmental goals and business guru Peter Drucker thinks likewise. Bakan goes further. He likens corporations to psychopaths sociopaths. For his book he interviewed Dr.
The Many Faces of Greed
Robert Hare, a psychologist and expert on psychopathy, to get a list of personality traits that psychopaths exhibit no empathy, asocial behaviors, manipulativeness, no conscience, no remorse and then tries those out on corporations. They fit. For instance corporations return repeatedly to make profits from things they know are lethal and that strew grief - cigarettes, cars that catch fire in crashes, drugs with devastating side effects - because the money is there.
In corporate culture there is an emerging social order that is wide and dangerous, as dangerous as any fundamentalism, Bakan states. I will return to this point in the later section on remedies Odd Folks.
Tens of millions of regular folks work in corporations, of course, which gives them the surface look of well fed averageness. But because of their aggressive business agenda, they also attract some odd personalities. Suave and charming, manicured starters of conversations, many look like they come from the pages of GQ. There are plenty of lissome women sociopaths too. Consummate actors, you melt when they talk to you.
They are smooth as glass. They exhibit a tapered arrogance. In corporate maneuvering they have no loyalty, virtually no emotion, and no conscience. Promiscuous in friendships as in sex, they start instantly and leave an alliance instantly it creates advantage. Their specialty is stirring and steering feelings in others without being touched themselves. Usually the epitome of self control, they are capable if cornered of sudden viciousness.
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Few will challenge them, sensing that underneath is their calculated enjoyment of the destruction and humiliation of others. This is not a new type of personality. But in modern culture, where success has become separated from honor, they thrive. The sole passion they have is to win.
The particular combination of sociopathy and high intelligence is a prototype for business success. You may have one at your picnic; there was one in your classroom at school; at one time you probably tried to date one. Stout sketches a prototype sociopath growing up. He came from a privileged city family and stole from his parents.
He was so intelligent he cruised through college almost without studying and, graduating with an MBA, he was quickly hired by a large corporation, where he proved he could sell anything. He makes many millions of dollars for the company and enjoys his female subordinates as sexual plunder. Stout explains that the brains of sociopaths work differently. High Mating Effort. Stout also says there is a genetic base.