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The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy (BK Currents)

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Marjorie Kelly tells the real story behind the recent corporate scandals—the story that the mainstream media won’t touch. It’s not the story of a few bad-apple CEOs, but of an economic system designed to do what it did: to enrich a few at the expense of the many. The few are the financial elite. CEOs are part of it, but they answer to Wall Street. Together they constitute an aristocracy. Making them rich is what our economy is designed to do.

CEOs have been indicted for pushing the limits in getting share prices up. But in the past they were fired for doing anything less. Excesses arise inevitably from a system that sees success as a rising share price. There is outrage today about the illegitimacy of CEO gains. But nowhere will you find outrage about the illegitimacy of shareholder gains, for that is the sun around which the system revolves. To question this is to question the divine right of capital.

This book questions the idea that achieving a 15 percent return for a billionaire is more important that paying employees a living wage, or protecting a community’s water. The Divine Right of Capital shows how to fundamentally redesign the system—using the founding ideals of America.

About the Author

Marjorie Kelly is the cofounder and editor of Minneapolis-based Business Ethics, a national publication on corporate social responsibility launched in 1987. For fourteen years, Business Ethics has been the core publication of the movement to bring greater ethics into business. It offers news and analysis of ethical scandals, corporate best practices, social investing, and social activism.

Kelly’s writing has appeared in publications such as The Utne Reader, The Progressive Populist, Earth Island Journal, Hope magazine, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Her work has been anthologized in a half-dozen books, including The New Entrepreneurs and The New Paradigm in Business.

Kelly is a regular speaker and commentator on business ethics and corporate social responsibility—featured in The Wall Street Journal, quoted in the New York Times, and interviewed frequently on NPR and other radio programs. She has been profiled on the cover of Minnesota Corporate Report, in the book Women’s Venture, Women’s Visions, and in other books and articles.

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