Magazine article The Futurist

Whose Economy Is It, Anyway?

Magazine article The Futurist

Whose Economy Is It, Anyway?

Article excerpt

Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government--and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead by David Rothkopf. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2012. 414 pages. $30.

Public-sector versus private-sector interests--it's a power struggle that has been waged through history, only to enter a whole new stage in recent years, according to Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar David David Rothkopf Rothkopf.

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The earliest nation-states gave rise to commercial markets and then strove over centuries to nurture them while restraining entrepreneurial greed. Over the centuries since, Rothkopf notes, governments erred by going either too far or not far enough in their oversight of markets. By the same token, societies suffered when government and business leaders became too close and protected each other instead of the public good.

The stakes have been rising since the 1970s, Rothkopf argues. The power of private interests has grown while that of governments has shrunk to smaller than ever before. Corporations effectively shape lawmaking through lobbyists or evade national laws altogether by going multinational.

Meanwhile, major corporations hold bigger financial reserves than most countries' GDPs. …

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