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The Companies We Keep

The Companies We Keep

Corporate governance for a democratic society

By Allan C Hutchinson


A new corporate scandal seems to break every day. And not just in America: Canada has its Nortel, Bre-X, Livent, and Hollinger. In this book, Allan Hutchinson insists that a lasting solution to these ills requires more than a rooting out of particular miscreants. We must address the larger organisational structures and culture within which such roguery thrives. What currently passes as "good corporate governance" is a large part of the problem. Hutchinson argues that if we want good corporate citizens, then we must seek a sea change in how we think about corporations, how we constitute them, how we regulate them, and what we expect of them. In light of the enormous power and presence of corporations in Canadian society, there are few more pressing or important items on the contemporary political and social agenda.

The Companies We Keep offers an original and provocative challenge to turn corporations into civic sites for democratic advancement. The whole notion of "governance" implies a public and accountable aspect to the dealings of corporations which recognises continued wealth creation as well as greater popular participation.

The book situates the existence and activities of large corporations within a more encompassing social, political, and economic context. As well as offering a wide-ranging, comparative, and analytical examination of present governance structures, it offers a series of practical, focussed, and precise recommendations for reform. In short, this book is intended to be as much a detailed contribution to public policy and law reform as it is intended to be a general political and economic critique.


The Companies We Keep: An Introduction


Looking for Good Company: Bubbles and Blemishes
The Adventures of Company: History and Structure
Closing the Gap: The Democractic State We Are In
Size Matters: From Big to Bigger


On Behalf of Shareholders: Private Property and Social Wealth
The (In)Discipline of Markets: Prophets as Profiteers
A Democracy of Elites: Shareholders as Citizens
The Age of Institutions: Rise and Ruse?


Little Republics: From Corpocracy to Democracy
The Democratic Corporation: Limits and Liabilities
Board Games: Rights and Responsibilities
Calling the Shots: Matters of Membership
Beyond Form: Transparency and Accountability
The Companies We Want: A Conclusion

APPENDIX 1: The Top Sixty Public and Private Canadian Corporations, 2004

APPENDIX 2: A Comparison of Corporate Government in Capitalist Societies
APPENDIX 3: Chart Sources

Notes/ Index


Published December 2005
Publisher Irwin Law (Canada)
ISBN 9781552211168
Australian RRP $44.00
International Price $40.00
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Business / Finance

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