The Impact of the Modern Corporation

The Impact of the Modern Corporation

The Impact of the Modern Corporation

The Impact of the Modern Corporation

Excerpt

Whether large corporations have a beneficial, pernicious, or neutral social and political impact has long been hotly contested. Since almost the beginning of the industrial revolution, fears about, and praises of, corporate size have uneasily coexisted. Without question, large corporations play a critical role in our economic, social, and political lives. They produce and deliver most of the goods we depend upon, and they are highly visible participants in our social and political processes. Economic growth, community welfare, worker satisfaction, environmental protection, consumer safety, and numerous other measures of our economic and social well-being are, in the view of many, closely intertwined with the performance of large corporations. Moreover, while large corporations have been widely recognized as the primary engines of our industrial economy, concerns about the concentration of economic, political, and social power in these entities have frequently been voiced. It is little wonder, then, that the "corporate size issue" has engendered so much disparate and passionate debate.

For a long time, the public debate over corporate size was primarily focused on economic questions. The policy dialogue centered upon competing perceptions of the impact of corporate size and concentration on prices, profits, inflation, and employment. This "economic impact issue" was the subject of a two-day conference organized by the Faculty of Law of Columbia University in 1973, which resulted in the publication of Industrial Concentration: The New Learning, which was the first major project of Columbia's Center for Law and Economic Studies.

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