A 1976 Wall Street Journal article gets credit for first use of the catch phrase, “taming the beast”, based on a quote of an unnamed Reagan staffer.[1] Critics of both big government and mega corporations reflexively go Biblical when viewing what they view as the ungodly.[2]

Taming the beast has also been used more recently. In a 2014 article, “Taming the Corporate Beast,” Marianne Hill offered a business version of the apocalypse, supported by Colin Mayer, former deal of Oxford University, who offered the following “scathing attack on corporations,

The corporation is becoming a creature that threatens to consume us in its own avaricious ambitions. We need to address its failings as a matter of urgency, not only to avert its damaging effects on our prosperity, social cohesion, and the environment, but also because it offers the lifeline out of (today’s economic) constrictions.[3]

Ms. Hill suggested that “business experts across the United States echo Mayer’s sentiments. USC Professor Edward Lawler stated

For corporations to perform well financially, socially and environmentally … they need a fundamental change in their goals and how they achieve them … a DNA change that must begin at the top. [This means] major changes in how corporate boards are structured and operated. [4]

According to some, Wall Street and the financial sectors are beasts in need of taming. [5][6]

The “Smart” Corporation identifies the Elizabethan-era corporation the military-commercial hybrid that European expansion and led to the creation of modern states.  For the environment, local cultures and existing states, there was a downside that is, by now, evident.   Creating more civilized versions of the Anglo-American corporation is already happening.   Employee-owned enterprises, benefit corporations, two-board Aktiengesellschaften and co-ops are just a few responses to calls to tame, or at least housebreak, the Beast.

References:

[1] Bartlett, Bruce, “’Starve the Beast’ – Origins and Development of a Budgetary Metaphor,” The Independent Review, Dec. 1, 2001, www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_tir_12_01_01_bartlett.pdf

[2] Rev. 13:1-10.

[3] Hil, Marianne, “Taming the Corporate Beast, Dollars and Sense, July / August 2014, www.dolarsandsense.org/archives/014hill.html

[4] Id.

[5] See, Light, Larry, Taming the Beast: Wall Streets Imperfect Answers to Making Money, Wiley, New York, 2011.

[6] –, “Taming the Beast,” The Economist, Oct. 9, 2008, http://www.economist.com/node/1237374