'There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.' Nelson Mandela
Joel Bakan, author of the international bestseller, The Corporation, takes Nelson Mandela's words as the moral starting point of his new book. In Childhood Under Siege he throws a brilliant light on the ruthless manipulation of children by big business - and on society's failure to protect them.
Children, he argues, are now perceived as a resource to be mined for profit. He takes us on a dystopian journey through a world of cynical exploitation, callous neglect, ill-informed parents and governments that look the other way. He tells the chilling - and sometimes darkly humorous - story of how children are being transformed into obsessive and narcissistic mini-consumers, media addicts, cheap and pliable workers, and pharmaceutical industry guinea pigs.
We are witnessing a winner-takes-all battle for children's hearts, minds and bodies - a hostile takeover of childhood itself. Large corporations are spending vast sums in order to render parents and governments powerless to protect children from calculated and unrelenting commercial assault.
Joel Bakan makes it disconcertingly clear that society is betraying what it purports to cherish most. As the world reels from economic turmoil, ecological devastation, terrorism and war, it is these societal failings that may turn out to be the most destructive of all.