As a children’s and youth worker I am fascinated by how culture, media and business shapes our children, and so it was with interest that I read Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Ruthlessly Targets Children by Joel Bakan.
In many ways I felt like Bakan wrote in a similar way to Michael Moore, arguing that big business and governments that look the other way had created a society that instead of encouraging, developing and supporting children and young people actually feasts upon them. Using Nelson Mandela’s comment that:
‘There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.’
Bakan shows that we fail to protect our children, even though we profess to hold them close through things like in 1989, governments worldwide promising all children the same rights by adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The book explores education, pharmaceutical business, ecology, child labour and more in the USA showing that across industries business is targeting children putting profit first.
The book at times can be scary and feel overly dramatic, but I think it is a helpful cynical look at how business and children work together.