The co-op bookstore for avid readers
Book Cover for: The Profiteers: How Business Privatizes Profits and Socializes Costs, Christopher Marquis

The Profiteers: How Business Privatizes Profits and Socializes Costs

Christopher Marquis

An exposé of how society pays for corporations' "free lunch" and the cost of environmental damage, low wages, systemic discrimination, and cheap goods.

In an age when business leaders solemnly profess dedication to principles of environmental and social justice, Christopher Marquis's provocative investigation into the real costs of doing business reveals the way that leaders of the corporate world gaslight to evade responsibilities by privatizing profits and socializing costs. "Who pays?" for the resulting climate and environmental damage, racism, low wages, and cheap goods: the average citizen and the taxpayer.

By bringing to light ideas that today are on the fringe but rapidly making their way into the mainstream, Marquis outlines a new regenerative paradigm for business in society. He tells of a group of pioneers trying to not just reform but transform the way business is conducted all over the world. By taking novel actions to reimagine business operations in responsible ways, minimize their negative impacts, and create new ways for business to properly absorb their hidden costs, these leaders provide blueprints to move the needle on vexing social and environmental issues.

What's in it for leaders of the corporate world? The model of reform presented provides clear guidance on how to get ahead of the curve as an emerging economic order is formed. No business can lead from the front if it is morally-backward looking. History has shown time and again that those who get out in front of emerging changes in our social and environmental landscape protect themselves from inevitable eclipse.

Book Details

  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publish Date: May 14th, 2024
  • Pages: 352
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.80in - 5.70in - 1.40in - 1.20lb
  • EAN: 9781541703520
  • Categories: Free Enterprise & CapitalismPolitical EconomyEnvironmental Economics

About the Author

Christopher Marquis is the Sinyi Professor at the University of Cambridge Judge School of Business. Prior to Cambridge he spent seventeen years at Cornell, Harvard Business School, and the Harvard Kennedy School. He writes a regular column for Forbes and his work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Fortune, TIME, Foreign Policy, The Hill and Harvard Business Review as well as many academic journals ranging from the Academy of Management Journal, American Sociological Review, to Stanford Social Innovation Review. He is active on the lecture circuit at venues ranging from the National Association of Corporate Directors and SOCAP Global to the Conference Board, Young Presidents Association, and the Business of Purpose Conference. His previous books, Better Business: How the B Corp is Remaking Capitalism and Mao and Markets, a Financial Times "Best Book of 2022," were published by Yale University Press.

Praise for this book

"Powerful, passionate, and persuasive. Christopher Marquis argues that business is both a principal cause of our current troubles and perhaps the most important cure. Drawing on fresh examples, he demonstrates both how business has profited from destroying the natural world and the structure of our societies, and how business leaders--working in concert with investors and other key stakeholders--can be powerful agents of change."
--Rebecca Henderson, McArthur University Professor, Harvard University
"A profound call to action for businesses to take responsibility for their environmental and social footprints. The Profiteers shows us that a better business model isn't just possible, it's imperative."
--Paul Hawken, cofounder, Smith & Hawken, and author of Regeneration
"Timely and full of sharp insight on the devastating impacts of business as we've known it--a critical read for anyone who wants to understand how the deep design of business itself can and must be transformed."
--Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics
"Marquis has delivered a brilliant critique of today's dangerous corporate practice that dumps social and environmental costs onto society in search for ever greater profits. TheProfiteers is a wake-up call to businesses everywhere to reevaluate these shameful practices."
--Jeffrey Hollender, cofounder, Seventh Generation
"At a time of great division, The Profiteers underscores that there is no partisan divide on the idea that business should make money the right way, by treating their workers, communities, consumers, and the environment with respect, and that it's unfair and wealth-destroying when companies profit at the expense of others. The Profiteers identifies practical ways all of us--as individuals and as a society--can forge a more sustainable and responsible capitalism."
--Leo E. Strine Jr., former chief justice and chancellor of Delaware
"A forceful argument for genuine business accountability."
--Kirkus Reviews
"[An] impassioned exposé... Marquis enrages readers with his accounts of corporate chicanery, but he injects some hope by highlighting individuals and organizations working to change flawed economic incentives... a galvanizing call to rein in corporate malfeasance."--Publishers Weekly
"Everyone must pull their weight to meet our responsibilities in these difficult times: government, civil society, and--the most nimble, resourceful, and culpable of the three--business. Chris Marquis in the Profiteers makes the case that making a living while doing the right thing is as good for business in the long run as it is for the larger society and the natural world." --Vincent Stanley, director of philosophy at Patagonia and co-author of The Future of the Responsible Company