Firm Commitment: Why the Corporation Is Failing Us and How to Restore Trust In It

Colin Mayer. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-19-966993-6
Given today’s distrust of big companies, it’s easy to overlook the importance of the corporation-as-institution in American daily life. Economist Mayer, former dean of Oxford University’s Said Business School, shines a light both approving and critical on the institution, exposing its the real impact on the American public. As he writes: “The corporation is becoming a creature that threatens to consume us in its own avaricious ambitions.” Mayer discusses how we arrived at our current state, how we’re now being failed by the corporate structure, and what can be done about it—including suggestions for policy makers. His approach is remarkably even-tempered, noting that if markets fail, we need more regulations and state engagement, but when state organizations fail, then privatization and more liberal markets are required. His knowledge is encyclopedic, and it’s a pity that his tone remains dry when discussing even the more sobering subjects—including acquisitions, corporate governance, and developing nations. Mayer makes a wholly convincing case for the need to restore ethics and trust in corporations, but the language puts this out of the reach of the layperson reader. (May)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 03/01/2013
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Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-19-871480-4
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