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Corporate IrresponsibilityAmerica`s Newest Export$
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Lawrence E. Mitchell

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300090239

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300090239.001.0001

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The Perfect Externalizing Machine

The Perfect Externalizing Machine

(p.49) Chapter 2 The Perfect Externalizing Machine
Corporate Irresponsibility

Lawrence E. Mitchell

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses specific ways in which the laws governing the American corporation and the social thinking from which they arise can lead to corporate irresponsibility, revealing that while it is true that corporations are widely thought of as treating their employees better today, there is some evidence that the reality is otherwise. It argues that many of the American corporations behave so badly much of the time because managers are trapped or feel trapped and succumb rather than gnawing their legs off to free themselves. The trap is largely created by the financial and legal structures of the corporation, which are grounded in the legal and social ethic. The chapter also argues that American companies, in contrast to European corporations, are “mere cash flow machines” which are obsessed with short-term profit.

Keywords:   corporate irresponsibility, legal structures, short-term profit

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