The American Corporation Today

By Carl Kaysen | Go to book overview

13
The Corporation as a Political Actor

JAMES Q. WILSON

In the quarter century between the early 1950s and the mid-1970s, the American corporation changed dramatically the manner in which it engaged the political process. Most of these changes were born of necessity: declining success in Congress with respect to matters of fundamental importance to corporate management, a profound alteration in the ways in which money and information could be converted into political resources, the resurgence of intellectual opinion favorable to markets with respect to some transactions and unfavorable to them with respect to others, and a steady erosion in the prestige of business executives and the legitimacy of the large corporation.

After the end of World War II, the status of American business was high and its prospects bright. The corporation had fully recovered from the criticisms spawned by the Great Depression. And even these criticisms had never taken the form of a fully developed, popularly supported attack on the legitimacy of capitalism or a market economy. Though there were Marxist parties in this country, they never had the electoral appeal of their counterparts in France and Italy. The legendary feats of wartime production coupled with the rapid economic growth experienced by a nation spending to compensate for years of deferred consumption made the business executive a popular figure and photographs of belching smokestacks a symbol of progress. This is not to say that business interests always prevailed in Washington. Business won decisively on some important matters and lost on others. It scored a major victory with the passage of the Taft-Hartley

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The American Corporation Today
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Contributors ix
  • 1 - Introduction and Overview 3
  • Appendix 20
  • 2 - The Rise and Transformation of the American Corporation 28
  • Notes 67
  • 3 - How American is the American Corporation? 74
  • Notes 97
  • 4 from Antitrust to Corporation Governance? the Corporation and the Law: 1959-1994 102
  • Notes 122
  • 5 - Financing the American Corporation: the Changing Menu of Financial Relationships 128
  • References 178
  • 6 - The U.S. Corporation and Technical Progress 187
  • References 231
  • 7 - The American Corporation as an Employer: Past, Present, and Future Possibilities 242
  • References 267
  • 8 - The Corporation Faces Issues of Race and Gender 269
  • Notes 290
  • 9 - Corporate Education and Training 292
  • References 319
  • 10 - The Modern Corporation as an Efficiency Instrument: the Comparative Contracting Perspective 327
  • Notes 354
  • Notes 356
  • 11 - The Corporation as a Dispenser of Welfare and Security 360
  • Notes 379
  • References 380
  • 12 - Almost Everywhere: Surging Inequality and Falling Real Wages 383
  • Notes 409
  • 13 - The Corporation as a Political Actor 413
  • Notes 433
  • 14 - Architecture and the Business Corporation 436
  • Notes 470
  • Index 487
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