Socializing Capital: The Rise of the Large Industrial Corporation in America

Princeton University Press
Free sample

Ever since Adolph Berle and Gardiner Means wrote their classic 1932 analysis of the American corporation, The Modern Corporation and Private Property, social scientists have been intrigued and challenged by the evolution of this crucial part of American social and economic life. Here William Roy conducts a historical inquiry into the rise of the large publicly traded American corporation. Departing from the received wisdom, which sees the big, vertically integrated corporation as the result of technological development and market growth that required greater efficiency in larger scale firms, Roy focuses on political, social, and institutional processes governed by the dynamics of power.

The author shows how the corporation started as a quasi-public device used by governments to create and administer public services like turnpikes and canals and then how it germinated within a system of stock markets, brokerage houses, and investment banks into a mechanism for the organization of railroads. Finally, and most particularly, he analyzes its flowering into the realm of manufacturing, when at the turn of this century, many of the same giants that still dominate the American economic landscape were created. Thus, the corporation altered manufacturing entities so that they were each owned by many people instead of by single individuals as had previously been the case.

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About the author

William G. Roy is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He specializes in large-scale political and economic transformations.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 1, 1999
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Pages
360
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ISBN
9781400822270
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Big business has been the lever of big change over time in American life, change in economy, society, politics, and the envelope of existence--in work, mores, language, consciousness, and the pace and bite of time. Such is the pattern revealed by this historical mosaic.
--From the Preface

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A saga of freedom and domination, success and failure, creativity and conformity, entrepreneurship and monopoly, high purpose and low practice, Colossus is a major historical achievement.
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This groundbreaking work by the Nobel Prize-winning economist argues that much of what we understood about the 1990s' prosperity is wrong, that the theories that have been used to guide world leaders and anchor key business decisions were fundamentally outdated. Yes, jobs were created, technology prospered, inflation fell, and poverty was reduced. But at the same time the foundation was laid for the economic problems we face today. Trapped in a near-ideological commitment to free markets, policymakers permitted accounting standards to slip, carried deregulation further than they should have, and pandered to corporate greed. These chickens have now come home to roost.

The paperback includes a new introduction that reviews the continued failure of the Bush administration's policies, which have taken a bad situation and made it worse.
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Roy explores how the People's Songsters envisioned uniting people in song, but made little headway beyond leftist activists. In contrast, the Civil Rights Movement successfully integrated music into collective action, and used music on the picket lines, at sit-ins, on freedom rides, and in jails. Roy considers how the movement's Freedom Songs never gained commercial success, yet contributed to the wider achievements of the Civil Rights struggle. Roy also traces the history of folk music, revealing the complex debates surrounding who or what qualified as "folk" and how the music's status as racially inclusive was not always a given.


Examining folk music's galvanizing and unifying power, Reds, Whites, and Blues casts new light on the relationship between cultural forms and social activity.

Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?

Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Korea, to take just one of their fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest on earth while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the richest. The south forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities.

The economic success thus spurred was sustained because the government became accountable and responsive to citizens and the great mass of people. Sadly, the people of the north have endured decades of famine, political repression, and very different economic institutions—with no end in sight. The differences between the Koreas is due to the politics that created these completely different institutional trajectories.

Based on fifteen years of original research Acemoglu and Robinson marshall extraordinary historical evidence from the Roman Empire, the Mayan city-states, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa to build a new theory of political economy with great relevance for the big questions of today, including:

- China has built an authoritarian growth machine. Will it continue to grow at such high speed and overwhelm the West?

- Are America’s best days behind it? Are we moving from a virtuous circle in which efforts by elites to aggrandize power are resisted to a vicious one that enriches and empowers a small minority?

- What is the most effective way to help move billions of people from the rut of poverty to prosperity? More philanthropy from the wealthy nations of the West? Or learning the hard-won lessons of Acemoglu and Robinson’s breakthrough ideas on the interplay between inclusive political and economic institutions?

Why Nations Fail will change the way you look at—and understand—the world. 
Universal basic income. A 15-hour workweek. Open borders. Does it sound too good to be true? One of Europe's leading young thinkers shows how we can build an ideal world today.
"A more politically radical Malcolm Gladwell." --New York Times
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Rutger Bregman's TED Talk about universal basic income seemed impossibly radical when he delivered it in 2014. A quarter of a million views later, the subject of that video is being seriously considered by leading economists and government leaders the world over. It's just one of the many utopian ideas that Bregman proves is possible today.

Utopia for Realists is one of those rare books that takes you by surprise and challenges what you think can happen. From a Canadian city that once completely eradicated poverty, to Richard Nixon's near implementation of a basic income for millions of Americans, Bregman takes us on a journey through history, and beyond the traditional left-right divides, as he champions ideas whose time have come.

Every progressive milestone of civilization-from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy-was once considered a utopian fantasy. Bregman's book, both challenging and bracing, demonstrates that new utopian ideas, like the elimination of poverty and the creation of the fifteen-hour workweek, can become a reality in our lifetime. Being unrealistic and unreasonable can in fact make the impossible inevitable, and it is the only way to build the ideal world.

An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944—when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program—The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

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