Taming the Octopus

Audiobook Details

Author:

Kyle Edward Williams

Narrated By:

Jon Vertullo

Length:

9 hrs and 2 mins

File Type:

.m4b

Release Date:

02-20-24

File Size:

260.01 MB

Audiobook Summary

The untold story of how efforts to hold big business accountable changed American capitalism.

In this vivid and surprising history, we meet twentieth-century activists, investors, executives, and workers who fought over a simple question: Is the role of the corporation to deliver profits to shareholders, or something more? On one side were “business statesmen” who believed corporate largess could solve social problems. On the other were libertarian intellectuals such as Milton Friedman and his oft-forgotten contemporary, Henry Manne, whose theories justified the ruthless tactics of a growing class of corporate raiders. But Kyle Edward Williams reveals that before the “activist investor” emerged as a capitalist archetype, Civil Rights groups used a similar playbook for different ends, buying shares to change a company from within.

As a rising tide of activists pushed corporations to account for societal harms from napalm to environmental pollution to inequitable hiring, a new idea emerged: that managers could maximize value for society while still turning a maximal profit. This elusive ideal, “stakeholder capitalism,” still dominates our headlines today. Williams’s necessary history equips us to reconsider democracy’s tangled relationship with capitalism.

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