Chapter 8: Corporations, culture and accountability
Up to this point the book has looked at the origins of corporate power and at its exercise, in the UK and globally. The case has been made that corporate political power is substantial and has undergone a transformation since the late 1980s. The result has been the development of a new institutional basis for the state and the consolidation of power by a corporate elite allied with a political elite. In itself power is acceptable if it can be made legitimate, which is another way of saying that it is tolerable if it can be made accountable. These next three chapters therefore examine the accountability of the corporation and the degree to which processes of accountability render its power legitimate. Accountability is one of the magic ingredients of successful societies with an instant ethical appeal, but it involves a complex set of ideas and processes with an ambiguous relationship to democracy. In respect of corporations there are important modes of accountability but also some indefensible shortcomings.
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