Saturday, June 15, 2013

"What We Need Is a Change in Incentives for Corporate Elites"

"'It is ironic that I would be writing about the postwar American corporate elite as a model for responsible leadership,' he admits. “I spent the early part of my career characterizing these people as the "bad guys," and there certainly was plenty about which to complain.'
"But he doesn’t pursue the truly unexpected and uncomfortable paradox his historical study reveals. When America’s postwar corporate elites were sexist, racist company men who prized conformity above originality and were intolerant of outsiders, they were also more willing to sacrifice their immediate gain for the greater good. The postwar America of declining income inequality and a corporate elite that put the community’s interest above its own was also a closed-minded, restrictive world that the left rebelled against—hence, the 1960s. It is unpleasant to consider the possibility that the personal liberation the left fought for also liberated corporate elites to become more selfish, ultimately to the detriment of us all—but that may be part of what happened. The book sidles up to but doesn’t confront head-on the vexing notion that as the business elite became more open and meritocratic, it also became more selfish and short-termist."

Chrystia Freeland in Democracy reviews Mark Mizruchi's The Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite.

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