Friday, November 25, 2005

Pitfalls of Corporate Responsibility

Empires of Profit: Commerce, Conquest and Corporate Responsibility
Litvin, Daniel B.

Pitfalls of Corporate Responsibility

I thought this book was as fine a read on the dynamics, the revolutions, and evolutions of multicorporate growth and reductionism across the planet as any. The method of focus on each particular case is unique among his peers, and Litvin readily details the re-occurring growth and diminished power of some of the world's most outstanding or illustrious corporations.

He makes an entertaining and perceptive review of current and past global leviathans.

Yet he does not turn this wonderful eye upon his own former employer, Rio Tinto. I believe that this omission is as useful a gauge of his seriousness and dedication to the craft of corporate responsibility as is his eloquent review of global business practices.

Is he merely muzzled or observing a self-imposed silence on what would surely be his best elucidation ...that of Rio Tinto's safety records and affairs within the borders of his first hand knowledge and accounting?

That is what is missing from Litvin's well-written discourse on global trade and the mistakes which are often made.

While I cannot agree that MNCs set about dominance of vertical or horizontal integration by accident or by virtue of patrimonious oligopoly, sometimes I had the feeling that is what Litvin would like readers to believe.

Then again it would depend on the reader and what is being written. And with Litvin, what is not.

His silence on his former employer's actions may be more than professional discretion. A good read on the tactics corporations use to silence opposition either to their products or methods is well detailed by Judith Richter in, "Holding Corporations Accountable : Corporate Conduct, International Codes, and Citizen Action."

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