The Divine Right of Capital

The Divine Right of Capital

Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy

Book - 2001
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Baker & Taylor
The author challenges ascendancy of corporate power and argues for dismantling the current economic system and the economic aristocracy that hoards power and wealth. 30,000 first printing. Original.

Book News
Kelly (publisher, Business Ethics ), noting that corporations have virtual sovereignty over our economic and political systems, argues that the systematic reason for this state of affairs is an ethic of wealth aristocracy that is enshrined within the mechanisms ruling corporate structures. Maintaining a belief in (a presumably more democratic) market economy, she identifies six aristocratic ideals currently at work in the corporate system. She then proposes new ideals, modeled on the political ideals of the American Revolution, which she believes can depose the "divine right" of wealth. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Ingram Publishing Services
In this radical critique of the corporate economy--newly updated with information on Enron and other business scandals--the cofounder and editor of ""Business Ethics"" questions the legitimacy of a system that gives the wealthy few disproportionate power over the many.

Wealth inequality, corporate welfare, and industrial pollution are symptoms-the fevers and chills of the economy. The underlying illness, says Business Ethics magazine founder Marjorie Kelly, is shareholder primacy: the corporate drive to make profits for shareholders, no matter who pays the cost.

In The Divine Right of Capital, Kelly argues that focusing on the interests of stockholders to the exclusion of everyone else's interests is a form of discrimination based on property or wealth. She shows how this bias is held by our institutional structures, much as they once held biases against blacks and women.

The Divine Right of Capital exposes six aristocratic principles that corporations are built on, principles that we would never accept in our modern democratic society but which we accept unquestioningly in our economy. Wealth bias is a holdover from our pre-democratic past. It has enabled shareholders to become a kind of economic aristocracy. Kelly shows how to design more equitable alternatives-new property rights, new forms of corporate governance, new ways of looking at corporate performance-that build on both free-market and democratic principles.

We think of shareholder primacy as the natural law of the free market, much as our forebears thought of monarchy as the most natural form of government. But in The Divine Right of Capital, Kelly brilliantly demonstrates that it is no more "natural" than any other human creation. People designed this system and people can change it.

We need a change of mind as profound as that of the American Revolution. We must question the legitimacy of a system that gives the wealthy few-the ten percent of Americans who own ninety percent of all stock-a disproportionate power over the many. In so doing, we can fulfill the democratic principles of our nation not only in the political sphere, but in the economic sphere as well.

Publisher: San Francisco, CA : Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., c2001
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781576751251
Characteristics: xvii, 231 p. ; 25 cm


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Aug 15, 2013

Outstanding book and it should be yelled again and again from the mountain tops: The greatest entitlement program of all is the divine right to create the money!


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