Alternative Tracks: The Constitution of American Industrial Order, 1865-1917

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"Gerald Berk's Alternative Tracks is a lean but provocative, timely, insightful, and forcefully written challenge to the conventional wisdom about industrial America's political economy". -- Review of Politics

At the heart of Alternative Tracks is the historical relationship between democracy. and the modern corporation. Gerald Berk uses the case of the railroad industry to show that industrial centralization and corporate hierarchy did not follow a course solely determined by the efficiency imperatives of modern...

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Overview

"Gerald Berk's Alternative Tracks is a lean but provocative, timely, insightful, and forcefully written challenge to the conventional wisdom about industrial America's political economy". -- Review of Politics

At the heart of Alternative Tracks is the historical relationship between democracy. and the modern corporation. Gerald Berk uses the case of the railroad industry to show that industrial centralization and corporate hierarchy did not follow a course solely determined by the efficiency imperatives of modern technology. Rather, collective choice and the state had lasting influence on the development of corporate capitalism. Moreover, the role of government depended less on the exercise of interest-group or class power than it did on the protracted struggle over constitutional norms of fairness and justice relating to corporation and the market. Mediated through the court, Congress, and the bureaucracy, this struggle had profound effects on the organization of railroads, the pattern of urbanization, and the practice of business regulation.

"A very impressive work ... Offers the reader real insight into the technical factors and financial arrangements involved in the development of American railroads". -- Perspectives on Political Science

"Berk has offered some powerful questions for future scholars to keep in mind, and no student of railroad history or the history of business can afford to overlook this book". -- American Historical Review

"An ambitious effort to make sense of how the modern American state was fashioned". -- American Political Science Review

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Conventional wisdom has it that the industrial centralization of the US between the Civil War and World War I was driven by the efficiency imperatives of modern technology, with the state hanging onto the rear. Using the railroads as an example, however, Berk (government and international studies, U. of Notre Dame) argues that economic development could have gone in a number of directions, but was highly shaped by interactions with the several branches of government. A main concern of the government, he says, were the constitutional forms of justice relating to the corporations and the market. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Gerald Berk is associate professor of political science at the University of Oregon.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Toward a Constitutive Political Economy 1
Pt. I Corporate Entitlements and National System Building
2 Corporate Capital Markets Transformed 25
3 Reconstituting Fixed Costs 47
Pt. II Regional Republicanism
4 Regional Republicanism in Policy: Regulated Competition 75
5 Regionalism in Economic Practice: The Chicago Great Western Railway, 1883-1908 116
Pt. III The Corporate Liberal Basis of Group Politics
6 The Predicament of Regulated Monopoly 153
7 Beyond Corporate Liberalism 179
Notes 189
Bibliography 217
Index 235
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