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Corporate Crime, Corporate Welfare and Other Abuses:
A Reading List

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Also be sure to check out the Corporate Crime Reporter's list of 50 movies about corporate crime.

General Corporate Crime

Corporate Crime and Violence (1988) by Russell Mokhiber, the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter. The introduction includes a list of 50 reforms, many of which still read like fresh proposals.

Corporate Predators (1999) and On the Rampage (2003) by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman is a wide-ranging collection of columns from the editors of the Corporate Crime Reporter and Multinational Monitor. Subscribe online to their column here.

Corporate Crime (1980) by Marshall B. Clinard and Peter C. Yeager has been described as the single best published volume on white collar crime. Explains why and how corporations commit antitrust violations and other crimes, and shield top executives from accountability. Also includes a useful review of the corporate bribery scandals that led to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

White Collar Crime (1949) by Edwin Sutherland is widely acknowledged as the book that pioneered the study of corporate crime. Includes a great chapter on war profiteering, but Sutherland has been criticized for blurring legal distinctions between crimes and other misdeeds.

Where the Law Ends (1975) by Christopher Stone exposes the damage that treating a corporation as a "person" can do when it comes to sanctioning lawbreaking activities by businesses. Stone suggests that for institutional crimes, in effect the law must "reach into the corporation" and restructure the process of decision-making (e.g. by appointing public trustees from outside to the board).

Wealth by Stealth by Harry Glasbeek is the Canadian law professor's exploration of how the corporate law and the corporate form shield individuals from accountability.

Trusted Criminals by David Friedrichs (2006) is a great course text on the topic.

The People's Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy (2004) by Lee Drutman and Charlie Cray has a chapter on corporate crime.

The Encyclopedia of White-Collar and Corporate Crime by Lawrence Salinger (2005) is an expensive but comprehensive survey of most issues, scandals, etc. 2 volume set. Make sure your local or university library has it.

License to Steal: How Faud Bleeds America's Health Care System by Malcolm Sparrow

Corporate Bodies and Guilty Minds: The Failure of Corporate Criminal Liability by William Laufer explores why the law cannot adequately deter corporate crime. Recommended for policymakers and others interested in the law. He examines how courts and legislatures have failed to design rules that fairly attribute blame for organizations and analyzes the evasions and deflections corporations use to deflect criminal responsibility. His main complaint is that there is no single constituency or interest group that strongly and consistently advocates the importance and priority of corporate criminal liability.

Financial Crime, Accounting Fraud, etc.

The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry by William K. Black. One of the books on the S&L Crisis, its causes and consequences by one of the lead investigators. Black places the blame for “control fraud” (i.e. the looting of companies for personal profit) upon many of the same causes that led to Enron and the other recent accounting fraud scandals: a weak regulatory environment. Another great book about the S&L scandals is Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans by Stephen Pizzo et al. (1993).

Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets (2003) by Frank Partnoy is the definitive book about derivatives -- how they have created new levels of financial risk and complexity and how they could be regulated. By a law professor and former Wall Street salesman. Makes this difficult topic accessible to anyone.

Other People's Money: The Corporate Mugging of America (2004) by Nomi Prins is an insider's view of how deregulation allowed the greedy Wall Street "supermarket" banks to scam investors. Entertaining and insightful.

The Number: How the Drive for Quarterly Earnings Corrupted Wall Street and Corporate America (2003) by Alex Berenson is the New York Times business reporter's analysis of the corporate crime wave. He focuses on the "cult of the number" -- the corrosive financialization of corporate management, explores the weaknesses of SEC oversight and how investors have had few alternatives to sell-side research.

Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption are Undermining America (2003) by Arianna Huffington A scorching and hilarious explorations of the corporate scandals of recent years by one of the nation's leading political pundits.

"The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost" and "Plundering America" by William Lerach explore the role that tort "reform" played in Enron and other major accounting fraud cases.

Den of Thieves by James Stewart is a superbly written exploration of the insider trading scandals of the mid-1980s.

Dirty Cash: Organized Crime in the 21st Century (2002) by David Southwell explores the globalization of organized crime through the use of sophisticated banking and other strategies.

Corporate Crime: Company Histories

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM): Rats in the Grain: The Dirty Tricks and Trials of Archer Daniels Midland, Supermarket to the World by James B. Lieber (2000) and The Informant: A True Story by Kurt Eichenwald (2000) both examine the ADM price-fixing scandal.

Dow Chemical: Tresspass Against Us: Dow Chemical and the Toxic Century

Auto Companies: There are a number of good books on the auto industry, including Ralph Nader's classic, Unsafe at Any Speed,, and John Delorean's memoir, On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors. One of the best recent books is Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives. Other notable exposes on the auto industry include Jack Doyle's Taken for a Ride: Detroit's Big Three and the Politics of Pollution, Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take it Back (1997) by Jane Holtz Kay, High and Mighty, SUVs: The world's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way by Keith Bradsher, and Goodyear Invades the Backcountry: The Corporate Takeover of a Rural Town by Bryan D. Palmer.

Enron: Pipe Dreams by Robert Bryce (2003) is the most entertaining (and yet well-researched) book about what happened at Enron of them all. Other good Enron books include The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind (2003) the Fortune reporters who first discovered something was awry at the company. (The Enron movie is based on their book). One of the best surveys of the variety of factors that led to Enron is Enron: Corporate Fiascos and Their Implications by Nancy Rapoport and Bala Dharan. Theirs appears to be intended for use as a textbook. (2004)

IBM: IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black is the dark history of Big Blue's early collaboration with the Nazis. "IBM, primarily through its German subsidiary, made Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission the company pursued with chilling success," writes Black, a son of Holocaust survivors. Other books that explore corporate fifth columnists include American Axis, Max Wallace's exploration of Henry Ford as a Nazi sympathizer and Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of "The Good War" (2000) by Mickey Z.

An Air That Kills by prize-winning investigative reporters Andrew Schneider and David McCumber is the history of how the Asbestos industry poisoned Libby, Montana.

Corporate Welfare

Cutting Corporate Welfare (1999) by Ralph Nader is the most concise exploration of this subject available.

The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation by Greg LeRoy describes how corporations dangle all sorts of promises about job creation and other community benefits in order to get states and local governments to give them tax exemptions and subsidies.

Take the Rich off Welfare by Mark Zepezauer.

Related Topics

The Tyranny of the Bottom Line: Why Corporations Make Good People Do Bad Things (1996) by Ralph Estes explores how the "bottom line" approach to measuring corporate performance harms employees, customers, and other stakeholders. Strong emphasis is placed on increased disclosure requirements. Estes has further elaborated how through The Stakeholder Alliance and the Corporate Sunshine Working Group.

Corporate Irresponsibility by Prof. Lawrence Mitchell of George Washington U. Law School describes certain fiscal and tax policies that might be used to mitigate against the legal and structural constraints that make it difficult for managers to make moral judgments and be held accountable for their actions.

Greed and Good by Sam Pizzigati is the definitive book on CEO pay and economic justice.

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