Issue #34

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The People's Business

Lee Drutman and Charlie Cray

360 pages
© 2004

It is a fact so true as to be almost a cliché: we live in a time where more than ever before, large corporations wield a hugely excessive influence over most aspects of our society - economic, political, social, cultural and environmental. The vast political influence of large corporations at every level of society has imperiled our ideals of a citizen-based democracy. The polarization of wealth and the resulting gross economic inequality that corporations have helped to foster has undermined our faith in a shared sense of prosperity and national unity. Our corporate-driven consumer culture has driven millions of Americans into ruinous personal debt and alienated millions more by peddling the false notion that happiness is just a purchase away. The damage to our culture and our economy already done by these large corporations may in some ways be irreversible. As these large corporations become more and more powerful, the problems associated with their dominant position and unsustainable policies can only grow more acute.

The People's Business is a book about what citizens can do to fight corporate dominance in their lives. Authors Lee Drutman and Charlie Cray pull together the recommendations of the Citizen Works Corporate Reform Commission to present a synthesis of the thinking of some forty leading scholars and activists. The result is a cogent plan of action to restore citizen control over corporations. Bolstered with relevant history and examples, The People's Business is a lively book that will appeal both to deeply-committed long-time activists looking for a coherent approach in the struggle for corporate accountability as well as thoughtful citizens everywhere who may be looking for immediate measures that serve as efective means of corporate reform.

Drutman and Cray sort through many approaches to curtail excessive corporate power, considering a wide spectrum that extends from fundamental shifts in the creation and operation of corporations, to minor adjustments in corporate governance and regulatory fixes that directly address specific harms to our communities. The People's Business shows that all of these approaches share the fundamental premise that strengthening democracy itself is the strongest antidote to excessive corporate power.

The People's Business addresses the growing concerns about excessive corporate power and what to do about it, serving as a reference point for years to come for anybody who wanting to combat the destructive power of large corporations over our society.

"The People's Business goes directly to the central political and economic issue of our times. It is a book that deserves, even demands, the attention of every American regardless of their political views or values. This is a debate that must be revisited and soon, or the survival of our republic is most certainly in jeopardy." - Robert W. McChesney, author of The Problem of the Media

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