Ruling Canada

Corporate Cohesion and Democracy

By Jamie Brownlee  

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Ruling Canada critically examines Canada’s “economic elite”–a collection of the country’s richest and most powerful individuals, many of whom preside over Canada’s largest corporations. Brownlee argues that this corporate elite is increasingly unified and class conscious. As a direct result, a broad array of state policies and programs have been cut and/or implemented which serve the interests of this elite minority at the expense of most Canadian citizens. Business elite solidarity is possible because of a several unifying mechanisms: interlocking directorates, the structure of corporate ownership/control networks, the mass media, intersectoral policy organizations, business-oriented think-tanks and foundations, and corporate ties to the state and political system. In the face of formidable corporate domination and a growing threat to democracy in Canada, Brownlee emphasizes that existing relations are not inevitable and could be modified through networks of concerned citizens coming together to challenge the political and economic status quo.

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Contents

  • Part I: Elite Unity, Class Consciousness and Political Action
  • Part II: Economic Cohesion: The Structure of Corporate Capital
  • Part III: Organizational Cohesion: The Policy Formation Network
  • Part IV: Ties Between Elites in Different Spheres of Power

Authors

  • Jamie Brownlee

    University of Manitoba

    Jamie Brownlee is currently working on his dissertation at Carleton University in Ottawa. He is part of a new collaborative program where he will obtain a PhD in sociology with a specialization in political economy. This focus aligns with his research and teaching interests in Canadian and international political economy, political sociology, social theory and the sociology of education.

    Jamie obtained his Master of Arts at the University of Manitoba. His MA thesis research explored how the economic elite cooperate to control state and national policy, and was later revised and published as Ruling Canada: Corporate Cohesion and Democracy. His doctoral research, supervised by Dr. Wallace Clement, builds on this work through examining the influence of corporate power in the educational sphere. This research on the “corporatization of the university” will demonstrate the multiple and significant impacts of the elite agenda to reform Canadian universities to integrate them more closely with the priorities of Canadian capital.

    Jamie has received numerous academic awards, including SSHRC’s Canada Graduate Scholarship for doctoral students who have achieved academic excellence in their field. He has taught at the undergraduate level on corporate power and social movements, and has developed two research manuals for the University of Manitoba’s Global Political Economy program.