Santa Monica, CA --- Corporations are out to steal more than your money, according to a new book published today that reveals the growing cultural power of corporations over the last twenty years is an historical anomaly that needs to be correced.
In Corporateering: How Corporate Power Steals Your Personal Freedom ... And What You Can Do About It (Tarcher/Putnam), consumer activist Jamie Court makes the case that corporations routinely and quietly (or not so quietly) rob us of our personal freedoms, including personal privacy, personal security, the right to legal recourse, and more.
Court, who, according to Publisher's Weekly is "keeping the muckraking tradition alive," also traces the withering of the free press under commercial pressures, a trend accelerated today by the FCC's expected vote to allow greater media consolidation.
"The FCC decision today threatens to be a fatal blow to the Founding Father's notion of the free press as a servant of the public interest rather than commercial interest," said Court, executive director of the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "With fewer local news stations, the public will receive less information and the diversity of voices will shrink.
Yet the public owns the airwaves and leases them to broadcasters rents free. Unfortunately, the selling of the free press and public interest is only one way corporations put their commercial gain over the individual's and society's, yet we do not even have word to describe the phenomenon."
Indeed, "corporateering"--the act of prioritizing commercial gain over individual, social, or cultural gain--is everywhere in our lives, whether we know it or not. A pioneer of HMO patients' bill of rights, Court seeks to put the word "corporateering" into our popular discourse, and ultimately the dictionary, in order to give us--the public--a way to articulate inappropriate corporate intrusions in our lives.
Today, for example, Court revealed in a column in the Los Angeles Times that in his consumer group's crusade for greater privacy protections he has bought California Governor Gray Davis' s social security number and other personal and financial information to demonstrate that everyone's private information is at risk.
Court provides a practical agenda for individuals to fight corporateering in their lives--at both the personal and policy-making levels.
Readers will learn how to collect $500 for every errant junk fax and telemarketing call; how to protect their private financial information; which questions to ask corporations to determine their integrity; a new vocabulary to talk about corporate abuses; and mailing back unsolicited business reply envelopes empty to make corporations pay for junk mail.
At a policy level, Court calls for, among other things, national standards requiring corporations to pay for excessively wasting the individual's time, to disclose their record of customer responsiveness, to protect whistleblowers, and to be independently audited.
Court's consumer group is sponsoring the nation's first "Corporate Three Strikes" law in the California legislature, requiring a company to lose its license to do business after three criminal convictions, as well as a bill for the nation's first 1-800 whistle blower hotline in the Attorney General's office.
Publisher's Contact: Ken Siman (212) 366-2519, [email protected]
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