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Industrial-Strength Denial

Industrial-Strength Denial

Publisher University of California Press
Year 01/05/2020
Edition First
Pages 352
Version hardback
Readership level General/trade
Language English
ISBN 9780520296282
Categories Social, group or collective psychology
$36.72 (with VAT)
135.00 PLN / €30.10 / £25.86
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Book description

How corporate denial harms our world and continues to threaten our future. Corporations faced with proof that they are hurting people or the planet have a long history of denying evidence, blaming victims, complaining of witch hunts, attacking their critics' motives, and otherwise rationalizing their harmful activities. Denial campaigns have let corporations continue dangerous practices that cause widespread suffering, death, and environmental destruction. And, by undermining social trust in science and government, corporate denial has made it harder for our democracy to function. Barbara Freese, an environmental attorney, confronted corporate denial years ago when cross-examining coal industry witnesses who were disputing the science of climate change. She set out to discover how far from reality corporate denial had led society in the past and what damage it had done. Her resulting, deeply-researched book is an epic tour through eight campaigns of denial waged by industries defending the slave trade, radium consumption, unsafe cars, leaded gasoline, ozone-destroying chemicals, tobacco, the investment products that caused the financial crisis, and the fossil fuels destabilizing our climate. Some of the denials are appalling (slave ships are festive). Some are absurd (nicotine is not addictive). Some are dangerously comforting (natural systems prevent ozone depletion). Together they reveal much about the group dynamics of delusion and deception. Industrial-Strength Denial delves into the larger social dramas surrounding these denials, including how people outside the industries fought back using evidence and the tools of democracy. It also explores what it is about the corporation itself that reliably promotes such denial, drawing on psychological research into how cognition and morality are altered by tribalism, power, conflict, anonymity, social norms, market ideology, and of course, money. Industrial-Strength Denial warns that the corporate form gives people tremendous power to inadvertently cause harm while making it especially hard for them to recognize and feel responsible for that harm. "An exhaustive chronicle of white-collar true crime." * Los Angeles Review of Books * "A detailed look at how corporations faced with evidence that they're ruining the earth have found a way to distort the truth and pump out propaganda that supports their business." -- Joe Rogan, * Joe Rogan Experience *

Industrial-Strength Denial

Table of contents

Introduction: A Dangerous Phenomenon

1. A "More Pleasing Representation": The Alternate
Reality Crafted by the Slave Lobby
2. "A Wonderful Stimulant": Radium, Risk, and
3. "The Nut behind the Wheel": Carmakers Avoiding
Blame for Highway Deaths
4. "How Wrong One Can Be": Bias, Tribalism, and
Leaded Gasoline
5. "Our Free Enterprise System Is at Stake": CFCs,
Ideology, and Manipulated Uncertainty
6. "Psychological Crutches": Tobacco's Mass Production
of Denial
7. "Bottom Line. Nothing Else Matters": The Financial
Crisis and a Culture of Exploitation
8. A "Deceitful, Hysterical, Out-of-Control Rampage":
Fossil Fuels, Climate Denial, and Distrust Building

Conclusion: Shifting the Social Norm toward
the Public Interest

Major Works Cited in Notes

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