In this call to arms, Canadian academic Henry Mintzberg cites American revolutionary Thomas Paine with no shortage of rebellion and urgency. Mintzberg argues that corporate capitalism has become too greedy for the common good. He calls for an end to rampant commercialism and short-term profiteering. Mintzberg, a best-selling management writer, makes a compelling case that US capitalism is out of kilter. His diagnosis is clear, but his cures for the problem seem murky. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends his intriguing, avid treatise to business leaders, policy makers and activists seeking a strong contrarian view of US society.
The Collapse of Communism
For many policy makers and business leaders, the collapse of the Soviet empire ended the decades-long debate over how best to run an economy. The communists lost, the capitalists won – or so goes the conventional interpretation. In fact, much of the developed world misinterpreted the fall of communism to mean that unbridled capitalism is unequivocally good. As a result, many nations have careened “out of balance,” allowing their private sectors to seize too much power and leaving public sectors marginalized and maligned. Most societies ignore the “plural sector” – the nonprofits, religious organizations and cultural groups that tie societies together.
Communism created at least “a modest constraint” on the profit-driven excesses of capitalism. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, precisely 200 years after the American Constitution took effect, lifted any constraints on capitalism. People concluded that if communism was corrupt and ineffective, then unbridled competition and unfettered consumption must be inherently good. The end of communism brought about an “end of thinking” – after capitalism triumphed, pundits no longer pondered the long...