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Public trust in corporations plummeted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, when ?Lehman Brothers? and ?General Motors? became dirty words for many Americans. In Corporate Dreams, James Hoopes argues that Americans still place too much faith in corporations and, especially, in the idea of ?values-based leadership? favored by most CEOs. The danger of corporations, he suggests, lies not just in their economic power, but also in how their confused and undemocratic values are ...
Public trust in corporations plummeted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, when “Lehman Brothers” and “General Motors” became dirty words for many Americans. In Corporate Dreams, James Hoopes argues that Americans still place too much faith in corporations and, especially, in the idea of “values-based leadership” favored by most CEOs. The danger of corporations, he suggests, lies not just in their economic power, but also in how their confused and undemocratic values are infecting Americans’ visions of good governance.
Corporate Dreams proposes that Americans need to radically rethink their relationships with big business and the government. Rather than buying into the corporate notion of “values-based leadership,” we should view corporate leaders with the same healthy suspicion that our democratic political tradition teaches us to view our political leaders. Unfortunately, the trend is moving the other way. Corporate notions of leadership are invading our democratic political culture when it should be the reverse.
To diagnose the cause and find a cure for our toxic attachment to corporate models of leadership, Hoopes goes back to the root of the problem, offering a comprehensive history of corporate culture in America, from the Great Depression to today’s Great Recession. Combining a historian’s careful eye with an insider’s perspective on the business world, this provocative volume tracks changes in government economic policy, changes in public attitudes toward big business, and changes in how corporate executives view themselves.
Whether examining the rise of Leadership Development programs or recounting JFK’s Pyrrhic victory over U.S. Steel, Hoopes tells a compelling story of how America lost its way, ceding authority to the policies and values of corporate culture. But he also shows us how it’s not too late to return to our democratic ideals—and that it’s not too late to restore the American dream.
Part I. The Corporate American Dream at Its Height and in Its Origins
1. The Corporate American Dream
2. Corporate and National Character
3. From Public Purpose to Private Profit
4. Corporations as Enemies of the Free Market
Part II. Corporate Failure and Government Fix
5. Corporate Crashes
6. Managers versus Markets
7. Corporations Blow Their Chance to End the Depression
8. Roosevelt's Confused Anticorporatism
Part III. The Corporation Strikes Back
9. The Right to Manage
10. Corporations Recover Their Moral Authority
11. Killing the Unions Softly
12. Creating Reagan and His Voters
Part IV. What Manner of Man(ager)?
13. Masking the Arrogance of Power
14. Responsibility versus Profit at General Motors
15. Critics of Managerial Character
16. JFK's Pyrrhic Victory over U.S. Steel
Part V. The Corporation in the Wilderness Again
17. McNamara and the Staffers
18. The False Confidence of the Anticorporatists
19. Corporate America Loses World Supremacy
20. Laying the Groundwork for the Corporation's Cultural Comeback
Part VI. Leadership
21. Managing by Values
22. Creating the Concept of Corporate Culture
23. Inventing the Leadership Development Industry
24. Reagan Aids Corporations by Bashing Government
Part VII. Entrepreneurship
25. Supply-Siders versus the Big Corporation
26. Reengineering the Corporation
27. George W. Bush, Enron, and the Great Recession
28. Can the Corporate American Dream Be Saved?