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Progressive BusinessAn Intellectual History of the Role of Business in American Society$
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Christian Christiansen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198701033

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701033.001.0001

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The New Man Wants Your Soul

The New Man Wants Your Soul

Critiquing Managerial Capitalism (1945–1960s)

(p.104) 3 The New Man Wants Your Soul
Progressive Business

Christian Olaf Christiansen

Oxford University Press

As World War II faded into the background, ideas of progressive and ethical business were soon met with criticism from a diversity of economic and political stances, especially concerning the raison d’être of the corporation. Did it serve the interest of shareholders, or of managers? If it did (or did not) simply maximize profits, should it? What where the consequences of the new power technology associated with applied industrial psychology? Was the new idealized relationship between organization and employee as an intimate bond not at odds with ideals of independency and of contractual relations? Through the writings of people such as John Kenneth Galbraith, William H. Whyte Jr., Milton Friedman, Erich Fromm, Clark Kerr, Reinhard Bendix, Paul Baran, and Paul Sweezy, this chapter demonstrates how the new, managerialist image of the “soulful corporation” was contested from a range of different perspectives, from Marxism to social-liberalism to neoliberalism.

Keywords:   John Kenneth Galbraith, Milton Friedman, Paul Baran, Paul Sweezy, Erich Fromm, William H. Whyte Jr., Clark Kerr, Reinhard Bendix, contract, bond

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