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Seminar on Corporate Domination

I planned to teach this course in Spring 1997.

The course was cancelled.

This is what I had in mind.

Course announcement

This multidisciplinary seminar will examine the origin, nature, and consequences of corporate domination of politics, economics, law, and culture. Topics include:

  • the legal fiction that the corporation is a "person"
  • issues such as corporate crime, environmental damage, community abandonment, and worker displacement
  • obedience and conformity in hierarchical organizations
  • psychological consequences of living in a corporate society
  • the prospects for legally mandated "corporate responsibility"
  • the significance of alleged changes in corporate culture and the development of multinational corporations
  • resistance to corporate domination

The course should interest students majoring in legal studies, sociology, psychology, political studies, economics, and other fields of study.

Students will be required to do a lot of work, including projects outside class. I am considering asking the class to devise a Web site that will examine the corporate interconnections in "Corporate Springfield," but the final project will be determined in class.

This new course grows out of my own interest in the nature and consequences of corporate society as reflected in a recent article and column of mine.


Tentative Readings

Tentative readings and resources for a course originally scheduled for Spring 1997.

Required Reading

Barnet, Richard J. & Cavanagh, John (1994). Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Coleman, James S. (1982). The Asymmetric Society. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Grossman, Richard L. & Adams, Frank T. (1993). Taking Care of Business: Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation. Cambridge, MA: Charter, Ink.

Daily Newspaper

Recommended Reading

(Group Project Possibilities)

Aron, Nan & Moulton, Barbara (1993). Justice for Sale: Shortchanging the Public Interest for Private Gain. Washington, DC: Alliance for Justice.

Hawken, Paul (1994). The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability. NY: HarperCollins.

Hudson, Michael (Ed.) (1996). Merchants of Misery: How Corporate America Profits From Poverty. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.

Soley, Lawrence C. (1995). Leasing the Ivory Tower: The Corporate Takeover of Academia. Boston: South End Press.

Additonal Reading for Related Projects

Bagdikian, Ben H. (1990). The Media Monopoly (2nd ed.). Boston: Beacon Press.

Bender, Leslie (1993). Feminist (Re)Torts: Thoughts on the Liability Crisis, Mass Torts, Power, and Responsibilities. Duke Law Journal, 1990, 848-912.

Bonsignore, John J. (1994). Law and Multinationals: An Introduction to Law and Political Economy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Brenner, Philip, Borosage, Robert, & Weidner, Bethany (1974). Exploring Contradictions: Political Economy in the Corporate State. New York: David McKay.

Chomsky, Noam & Barsamian, David (1994). Keeping the Rabble in Line. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.

Dembo, David, Morehouse, Ward, & Wykle, Lucinda (1990). Abuse of Power: Social Performance of Multinational Corporations: The Case of Union Carbide. New York: New Horizons Press.

Fox, Dennis R. (1995). The Law Says Corporations are Persons, but Psychology Knows Better. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 14, 339-359.

Gabaldon, Theresa. A. (1992). The Lemonade Stand: Feminist and Other Reflections on the Limited Liability of Corporate Shareholders. Vanderbilt Law Review, 45, 1387-1456.

Greenberg, Edward S. (1985). Capitalism and the American Political Ideal. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

Greenberg, Edward S. (1989). The American Political System: A Radical Approach. (5th ed.). Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman.

Grieder, William (1992). Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Hans ,Valerie P. (1990). Attitudes Toward Corporate Responsibility: A Psycholegal Perspective. Nebraska Law Review, 69, 158-189.

Hills, Stuart L. (Ed.) (1987). Corporate Violence: Injury and Death for Profit. Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield.

Houch, John W. & Williams, Oliver F. (Eds.) (1996). Is the Good Corporation Dead? Social Responsibility in a Global Economy. Lanham, MD. Rowman & Littlefield.

Houseman, Gerald L. (1993). Questioning the Law in Corporate America: Agenda for Reform. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Kelman, Herbert C., & Hamilton, V. Lee (1989). Crimes of Obedience: Toward a Social Psychology of Authority and Obedience. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Korten, David C. (1995).When Corporations Rule the World. West Hartford, CT & San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers & Kumarian Press.

Millon, David (1993). New Directions in Corporate Law: Communitarians, Contractarians, and the Crisis in Corporate Law. Washington & Lee Law Review, 50, 1373-1390.

Mitchell, Lawrence E. (1995). Cooperation and Constraint in the Modern Corporation: An Inquiry into the Causes of Corporate Immorality. Texas Law Review, 73, 477-538.

Nader, Ralph & Smith, Wesley J. (1996). No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America. New York: Random House.

Palmer, Bryan D. (1994) Goodyear Invades the Backcountry: The Corporate Takeover of a Rural Town. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Pring, George W. & Canan, Penelope (1996). SLAPPS: Getting Sued for Speaking Out. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Samuels, Warren J. & Miller, Arthur S. (Eds.) (1987). Corporations and Society: Power and Responsibility. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Schwartz, Michael (Ed.) (1987). The Structure of Power in America: The Corporate Elite as a Ruling Class. New York: Holmes & Meier.

Seabrook, Jeremy (1990). The Myth of the Market: Promises and Illusions. Devon, UK: Green Books.

Simon, David R. (1996). Elite Deviance (5th ed). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Simon, William H. (1990). Contract versus Politics in Corporation Doctrine. In David Kairys (Ed.), The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique (rev. ed.) (pp. 387-409). New York: Pantheon.

Sklar, Holly (1995). Chaos or Community? Seeking Solutions, Not Scapegoats for Bad Economics. Boston: South End Press.

Swidorski, Carl (1994). Corporations and the Law: Historical Lessons for Contemporary Practice. New Political Science, 167-190.

Wachtel, Paul L. (1983). The Poverty of Affluence: A Psychological Portrait of the American Way of Life. New York: Free Press.

Wells, Celia (1993). Corporations and Criminal Responsibility. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.

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