Beginning Monday, May 16, at 7:00 p.m. at the Mandolin Cafe and continuing for several weeks, UFPPC's book discussion series "Digging Deeper" will conduct a study circle on the corporation.  --  Five books are available for borrowing or purchase; there is no charge for participation. Please help us publicize the series by printing and distributing the .pdf-format flyer (link below).  --  Prior to beginning this study circle, Digging Deeper invites you to join in discussions of two recent best-sellers.  --  NOTE:  On May 2 at 7:00 p.m., there will be a discussion of Jim Wallis's God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005).  --  On May 9 at 7:00 p.m., there will be a discussion of Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Viking, 2004).  God's Politics and Collapse are available in most libraries and bookstores....

WHAT: A study circle on the corporation
WHO: Facilitated by members of UFPPC
WHEN: Mondays at 7:00 p.m. in May and early June (May 16, 23, 30 & Jun. 6)
WHERE: Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma

FLYER: (Please print and distribute.)

The UFPPC Study Circle
on the Corporation
A United for Peace of Pierce
County Book Discussion Series

Corporation, n. A legal entity that exists independently of the person or persons who have been granted the charter creating it and that is invested with many of the rights given to individuals: a corporation may enter into contracts, buy and sell property, etc. ―- Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th ed. (1999).

In the late twentieth century, in the aftermath of World War II, human societies began to make halting progress toward greater democracy and humanity.  But that progress has been reversed in the course of the last generation by a concerted and well-organized worldwide campaign organized in the name of freedom and prosperity but orchestrated by the partisans and beneficiaries of a single dominant institution: the corporation.  As a result, inequality has increased, “externalities” like climate change and war have been ignored or even exacerbated, and liberal and left conceptions of the public good have been stigmatized.  Digging Deeper V, UFPPC’s book discussion group, will conduct a study circle to investigate the nature of this institution, the character of its excesses, and the prospects for reform.

For economists, the corporation is a morally neutral, highly rational “firm.” As one economist writes, “The ‘firm,’ usually treated as an output-generating ‘blackbox,’ is a contractually related collection of resources of various cooperating owners.  Its distinctive source of enhanced productivity is ‘team’ productivity, wherein the product is not a sum of separable outputs each of which is attributable to specific cooperating inputs, but instead is a non-decomposable, non-attributable value produced by the group” (Armen A. Alchian, “Property Rights,” in The World of Economics, edited by John Eatwell, Murray Milgate, and Peter Newman [New York & London: W.W. Norton, 1991], p. 585).  But in the social and political realm — the real world — the corporation is anything but a “blackbox.” The corporation is the institutionalization, through state charter, of an obligation to pursue unbridled self-interest. Goodyear CEO Sam Gibara summed it up: “If you really did what you wanted to do . . . you’d act differently. But as a CEO you cannot do that” (Joel Bakan, The Corporation [New York: Free Press], p. 51).

Beginning on May 16, 2005, you are invited to participate in a study circle to discuss five recent books about the social and political aspects of the dominant institution of our time, the corporation:

  • The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, by Joel Bakan (Free Press, 2004)
  • Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy, by Ted Nace (Berret-Koehler, 2001)
  • Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, by P.W. Singer (Cornell University Press, 2003)
  • Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business, by Roland Marchand (University of California Press, 1998)
  • Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins (Back Bay Books, 2000)

    UFPPC has copies of these books available for borrowing or purchase (contact Mark Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 253-756-7519, or Ted Nation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 253-983-8997). Participants will read one or more of these five books in the course of the month. Monday evening meetings will consist of brief reports from participants on their reading and discussion of points of difference and convergence that emerge. There is no charge for participation, but a purchase from the Mandolin Café, which supports this activity, is kindly requested.

    Four additional books are also recommended:

  • The Selling of Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism, 1945-1960, by Elizabeth A. Fones-Wolf (University of Illinois Press, 1994)
  • When Corporations Rule the World, 2nd ed., by David C. Korten (Berret-Koehler, 2001)
  • You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For: The Economics of Privatization, by Elliott D. Sclar and Richard C. Leone (Cornell University Press, 2001)
  • Dismantling Democratic States, by Ezra N. Suleiman (Princeton University Press, 2003)

    MEETING SCHEDULE ―- Mondays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in May and June (May 16, 23, 30 & Jun. 6) at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma.

    Digging Deeper, UFPPC’s book discussion series, has been meeting weekly since July. We have considered these books bearing on matters related to UFPPC’s mission statement: "We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy": Kevin Phillips, American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush (Viking, 2004); Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties (Scribner, 2004); Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (Simon and Schuster, 2004); Evan Wright, Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War (Putnam, 2004); Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies (Free Press, 2004); David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (Interlink, 2004); James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet (Viking, 2004); Dana Priest, The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military (Norton, 2003); Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (Metropolitan Books, 2004); Joel Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (Free Press, 2004); Catherine Lutz, Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century (Beacon, 2001); Robert McChesney, The Problem of the Media: US Communication Politics in the Twenty-First Century (Monthly Review Press, 2004); Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Columbia, and Indochina (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003); Rahul Mahajan, Full Spectrum Dominance: US Power in Iraq and Beyond (Seven Stories Press, 2003); Anonymous [Michael Scheuer], Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror (Brassey's, 2004); Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power (Simon & Schuster, 1991); Michael T. Klare, Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (Metropolitan Books, 2004); Ross Gelbspan, Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists and Activists Are Fueling the Climate Crisis -– and What We Can Do to Avert Disaster (Basic Books, 2004); Thom Hartmann, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Waking Up to Personal and Global Transformation (Three Rivers Press, 1999); Richard Heinberg, The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (New Society, 2003); Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage (Princeton UP, 2001); Amory Lovins et al., Winning the Oil Endgame: Innovation for Profit, Jobs, and Security (Rocky Mountain Institute, 2005); Mark Lynas, High Tide: The Truth about Our Climate Crisis (Picador, 2004); Brian M. Fagan, The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization (Basic Books, 2004); Patrick J. Michaels, Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media (Cato Institute, 2004); Richard B. Alley, The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future (Princeton University Press, 2002); T.E. Graedel and Paul J. Crutzen, Atmospheric Change: An Earth System Perspective (W.H. Freeman, 1992); Spencer R. Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming (Harvard University Press, 2003); Douglas V. Hoyt & Kenneth H. Schatten, The Role of the Sun in Climate Change (Oxford University Press, 1997); Jim Wallis, God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005); Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Viking, 2004).


    Regular meetings of UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY are held on 1st & 3rd Thursdays at First United Methodist, 423 MLK Jr. Way, at 7:00 p.m. ―- See UFPPC’s web site for more information. -―