The Capitalist and the Activist: Corporate Social Activism and the New Business of Change (Hardcover)

The Capitalist and the Activist: Corporate Social Activism and the New Business of Change By Tom C.W. Lin Cover Image

The Capitalist and the Activist: Corporate Social Activism and the New Business of Change (Hardcover)


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This is the first in-depth examination of the important ongoing fusion of activism, capitalism, and social change masterfully told through a compelling narrative filled with vivid stories and striking studies.

Today, corporations and their executives are at the front lines of some of the most important and contentious social and political issues of our time, such as voting rights, gun violence, racial justice, immigration reform, climate change, and gender equality. Why is this sea change in business and activism happening? How should executives and activists engage one another to create meaningful progress? What are potential pitfalls and risks for each side? What can they learn from each other? What first principles should guide leaders moving forward?
The Capitalist and the Activist offers an engaging and thoughtful look at the new reality of corporate social activism—its driving forces, promises and perils, and implications for our businesses and personal lives. Weaving deep research and fascinating stories that span business, entertainment, history, science, and politics, Tom Lin provides an insightful road map for how society arrived here and a practical compass for moving forward. Drawing together examples from the civil rights movement, campaign finance litigation, gun regulation, Black Lives Matter, the Confederate flag controversy, the Trump presidency, and other historical events, Lin brilliantly reveals and charts the course for a changing society of capitalists and activists seeking both profit and progress.
The Capitalist and the Activist is a must-read for anyone trying to understand the emerging future of activism, business, and politics.
Tom C. W. Lin is an award-winning law professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. He is also an academic fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Law, Economics & Finance. He is an expert in business organizations, corporate governance, and financial regulation. His scholarship has been published in many leading academic law journals. His expertise has been featured in major media outlets like Bloomberg News, CNN, Fortune, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. His research has also been cited by courts and regulators around the world.
Product Details ISBN: 9781523091997
ISBN-10: 1523091991
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publication Date: January 11th, 2022
Pages: 240
Language: English
“There simply couldn’t be a more timely and instructive treatment of the melding of the traditions of corporate capitalism with the spirit of social activism. Employing compelling narratives and arguments, Lin ushers us into a stunning recognition of the implications of this vitally important fusion for our political future.”
—Robert Cialdini, New York Times bestselling author of Influence and Pre-Suasion
“Filled with insight. The Capitalist and the Activist is essential reading for anyone trying to understand and navigate this era of profound change in business and society. Through well-crafted narratives and thought-provoking analysis, Tom Lin reveals the larger forces influencing the decisions of executives, politicians, and citizens.”
—Jonah Berger, New York Times bestselling author of Contagious and The Catalyst
“Should corporations use their power to influence politics? Should warriors for racial, gender, and environmental justice treat corporations as foes or instead as sources of effective strategies? Have corporations become a vital check and balance given out-of-control or paralyzed politicians? With vivid stories and sensible analysis, Tom Lin traces the emergence of new border crossings between American money-making and social change–making enterprises. Offering a striking perspective on our times, this book provides wise principles to navigate the shifting borders of public, private, politics, and profits.”
—Martha Minow, former Dean, Harvard Law School, and author of Partners, Not Rivals
“If the promise of our nation’s highest ideals are to be better realized, we must have a business community that recognizes that companies only succeed because of their workers, the communities in which they operate, and the support that taxpayers provide in so many ways, direct and indirect. Professor Lin’s provocative and timely new book spells out a road map for business leaders to follow if they truly want to create sustainably profitable businesses that treat all their stakeholders well.”
—The Honorable Leo E. Strine, Jr., former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court
The Capitalist and the Activist is an invaluable read for business executives, investors, entrepreneurs, and anyone trying to understand contemporary business and social activism. With wonderfully written analysis and compelling stories, Tom Lin masterfully examines and explains the new fault lines of business, politics, and activism.”
—Lawrence A. Cunningham, bestselling author of The Essays of Warren Buffett and Berkshire beyond Buffett
“Corporate management and boards must consider the interests not only of shareholders but also those of employees, customers, suppliers, communities, the environment, and other constituencies that are critical to the long-term sustainable success of the corporation. The pursuit of wealth maximization for shareholders as the sole purpose of corporate governance has been a principal accelerant of short-termism and socioeconomic inequality that is undermining our constitutional democracy. This timely book gives insight into the problems and the avenues for redress through an engaging discussion of modern stakeholder governance.”
—Martin Lipton, founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
“Tom Lin mixes analysis and inspiration to light a pathway forward for stakeholders inside and outside of the corporate world who want the engines of capitalism to help drive sustainable social reform.”
—Donald Langevoort, Thomas Aquinas Reynolds Professor of Law, Georgetown University
“Engrossing book…. A well-researched, absorbing, and balanced case for corporate-activist partnerships.”
Kirkus Reviews
“This is an ambitious and uplifting book. In a world that is plagued with injustice, racism, inequity, and inequality, Tom Lin lucidly lays out why and how activists and corporations can work together to fulfill our collective moral obligations to our communities and our planet. The Capitalist and the Activist shows us that we can seek social as well as financial returns to benefit humanity. It is brimming with hope and insight, and is an affirmation of all those who already collaborate.”
—Sister Nora M. Nash, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

“Lin has written a nuanced, thoughtful, and thorough book about the most important issue in corporate law right now: do corporations have social responsibilities and how effective are corporate initiatives that attempt to confront the most vexing social issues? This book is a must-read for policymakers, corporate managers, and citizens who want an unbiased and accurate discussion of the law and the state of play. Lin uses case studies of recent campaigns by corporations who have mobilized to confront wide-scale social movements like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, climate justice, and voting rights. This is an important book that makes for a riveting and enlightening read.”
—Mehrsa Baradaran, author of The Color of Money and How The Other Half Banks