CORPORATE CORRUPTION: The Abuse of Power by Marshall B. Clinard

CORPORATE CORRUPTION: The Abuse of Power

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sociologist Clinard (coauthor of Corporate Crime, 1980) is back at the same old stand, whaling away at the presumptive venality of big business, American style. Relying mainly on secondary sources, Clinard targets the automotive, energy, drug, and defense industries as leading violators of ethical canons. By the Naderite author's jaundiced account, neither customers nor employees, host communities, and stockholders are safe from the misconduct of top US enterprises. Offering largely anecdotal evidence in support of this stand, Clinard cites twice-told tales of fraudulent cost overruns at Pentagon suppliers, illegal contributions to political campaigns, price-fixing, defiance of health/safety regulations, dumping of toxic wastes, bribery, and allied abuses of the public trust. Not too surprisingly, he has a little list of reform recommendations, which include tougher enforcement of extant laws, protection for socalled whistleblowers, federal chartering of consequential corporations, controls on the size of large companies, and means to the end of curbing cutthroat competition. Clinard's charges make an impression by virtue of appearing in one place--but, unfortunately, the author is given to unsubstantiated pronouncements and innuendo. Cases in point: the allegation that pharmaceuticals houses have used their marketing muscle to hook American consumers on prescription drugs and the arguable contention that military contracts afford higher margins than commercial work. In the context of a prospering domestic economy, moreover, Clinard's polemic raises an unintended issue, i.e., not whether multinationals are guilty of wrongdoing (as many obviously are), but what standards of proof may legitimately be used to impeach their collective as well as individual records. A hatchet job with a blunt instrument.

Pub Date: May 30th, 1990
Publisher: Praeger