Business, Politics, and Society: An Anglo-American Comparison

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How much power does business exercise in Britain and the United States? Are giant firms that operate on a global scale beyond the control of elected governments? Are political parties in the pocket of business interests?

All these questions go to heart of the modern democracy, and have been given increased urgency since the end of 2007 by the economic crisis that has reverberated around the world. Business, politics, and Society compare business and politics in two of the most important capitalist democracies: the United States and United Kingdom. it introduces the big analytical and moral issues involved in the study of business power; traces the historical origins of business politics in the two nations; examines the role of giant firms, and the relationship between business and political parties; describe the special politics of the small business sector; scrutinizes the changing social and cultural environment of business; and sums up by raising problems of legitimacy and reward that are now the stuff of public policy. Boxed features in each chapter also extend the range of book, to business politics in the European Union, and to national systems beyond the United States and the United Kingdom.

This book will be invaluable for students of business systems who now need to grasp the political setting of business, and to students of American and British politics, who now need to grasp the impact of business power on the workings of democratic government.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199202560
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/11/2009
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Moran is WJM Mackenzie Professor of Government at the University of Manchester, UK. He has written widely on the politics of the modern economy, and on politics in the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Table of Contents

List of Boxes 7

List of Abbreviations 9

Preface 11

Acknowledgements 15

1 Studying Business and Politics 1

Comparing business politics 1

Business power and democratic politics 3

Models of capitalism and business power 7

Policy issues and the power of business 11

Capitalism, democracy, and the power of business 16

2 The History of Business and Politics 18

Paths to the present 18

The United Kingdom: business, oligarchies, and democracy 20

The United States: business, Populism, and democracy 28

Varieties of capitalism and varieties of democracy 37

3 Organizing Business 40

Business collective action and the politics of the firm 40

The United Kingdom: fragmentation and firm autonomy 42

The United States: organizing business under decentralized government 50

Business lobbying and the crisis of the business system 59

4 Politics and the Giant Multinational Corporation 61

Why giant firms matter politically 61

The giant firm and politics in the United Kingdom: the transformation of a private political world 63

The giant firm and American politics: great strengths and great weaknesses 70

The giant firm and global economic lobbying: the problem of strategic cohesion 77

The essentially political character of the giant corporation 82

5 Small business and politics 83

Small business, collective action, and political innovation 83

Small-business politics in the United Kingdom: decline and revival? 86

The United States: small business in a benign environment? 95

Political innovation and political weakness in the small-business sector 104

6 Business Politics and Party Politics 106

Business, parties, anddemocracy 106

Business and party politics in the United Kingdom: the rise of a business-friendly party system 108

The United States: regulating the party-business connection 117

The travails of business-friendly parties 127

7 Business, Politics, and Society 129

Understanding the cultural setting of business 129

TheUnited Kingdom: the transformation of a hegemonic order 132

The United States: between Gramsci and Schumpeter 140

From hegemony to pluralism 149

8 Restless Democracy and Restless Capitalism 151

Economic change and the politics of business representation 151

Restless democracy and business politics 151

Restless capitalism and business politics 152

Business, democracy, and legitimacy 159

Business power and the Anglo-American model of capitalism 164

Bibliography 173

Index 191

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