PRESS RELEASE: The mythology of business

Submitted by beth on Fri, 21/08/2015 - 09:04

21 August 2015

A new publication, “The Mythology of Business”, has been released by the Institute of Employment Rights (IER). It dispels some of the myths surrounding business and its supposed benefits.

The publication is authored by David Whyte, Professor of Socio-legal studies at the University of Liverpool, and released in conjunction with the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS).

According to the author, businesses influence public policy through the use of propaganda and dubious claims about their social contribution – claims that have no evidential basis. This publication seeks to shed some light on some of the myths and lies that are being used to deny workers and communities their rights and to diminish collective bargaining power in the workplace.

David Whyte, author of the report, said “If there is one thing that business organisations are particularly good at, it is deceiving us into thinking that they are indispensable to a healthy and developed society. But the social contributions that businesses make are always surrounded by propaganda claims and myths that are swallowed too easily by politicians and repeated ad nauseum in the press”.

The publication provides much needed counter-arguments to 10 frequently reproduced myths; including “the Trickle Down effect”, “Red Tape is restricting business” and “Privatisation works”.

Commenting on the publication, John Christensen from the Tax Justice Network said, “The Mythology of Business’ provides a short, accessible and compelling exposé of ten of the most popular zombie myths of these times…We have a duty to question these myths, to expose the lies that sustain them, and to challenge the politicians and opinion-formers (including zombie economists in academia) who mindlessly repeat these myths despite the lack of evidence that any of them hold any meaningful truth.”

IER director Carolyn Jones said, “Too often workers’ jobs, pay and conditions are governed by many of the myths exposed in this publication. How many times have we heard warnings about companies leaving for cheaper shores, or that health and safety measures have gone mad? How long must workers wait for the promised “trickle down effect” while watching inequality increase? Each of the myths outlined in this booklet are accompanied by comments from trade union general secretaries whose members experience the reality of working life under these zombie concepts”.


  1. Further information about the publication is available here. Books are £10 each with a £4 discount available to trade union members, further reductions are available to those who order in bulk. Contact the office for a price.
  2. The Institute of Employment Rights is a think tank for the labour movement and a charity. We exist to inform the debate around trade union rights and labour law by providing information, critical analysis, and policy ideas through our network of academics, researchers and lawyers. We were established in February 1989 as an independent organisation to act as a focal point for the spread of new ideas in the field of labour law.
  3. The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a thinktank established in 2012 to act as a centre for left debate and discussion. Originating in the labour movement, Class works with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies.
  4. David Whyte is Professor of Socio-legal Studies at the University of Liverpool. He has previously written several books on health and safety law for the IER and is an Executive Committee member of the Institute.
  5. For further information or to arrange an interview with the author, contact Carolyn Jones, IER Director, 07941 076245

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