The Modern Corporation and American Political Thought: Law, Power, and Ideology / Edition 1

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Despite all that has been written about business and its role in American life, contemporary theories about the modern corporation as a social and political institution have failed to explain adequately the pervasiveness and complexity of corporate power in the twentieth century. Through an analysis of history, law, ideology, and economics that spans two centuries, Scott R. Bowman attempts to offer a complete interpretation of the way corporate power has achieved its dominant position in American society today.

In The Modern Corporation and American Political Thought, Bowman demonstrates how judge-made and statutory laws have structured and regulated the growth of corporate power while preserving corporate autonomy. The argument unfolds within a historical framework that reconstructs the evolution of the corporation with reference to its two dimensions of power: internal (within the enterprise) and external (in society at large). Bowman examines and revises Marxist, pluralist, and managerial theories to develop his own political theory about class conflict and corporate power and offers fresh interpretations of the political thought of Herbert Croly, Walter Weyl, Thorstein Veblen, Peter F. Drucker, Adolph A. Berle, and John Kenneth Galbraith. Ultimately, this book sets forth the first political theory that adequately accounts for the power of the modern corporation in all its dimensions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This is a valuable contribution to the understanding of the history of the corporation in the United States, and to the legal, political, and social questions bound up with that history. Bowman’s presentation of theoretical issues is lucid, and his own ideas are serious and important. Presenting a lucid grasp of the past, this book raises crucial questions about the present.”
—Paul Mattick, Jr., International Journal of Political Economy
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271014739
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 12/4/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott R. Bowman is a lecturer in Public Law and Political Theory in the Department of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

1 Corporate Power 1
2 Corporate Power and American Liberalism 5
3 Corporate Power and the Law 10
4 Corporate Power and Political Theory 14
2 The Rise of the Large Corporation: Law and Legal Theory 35
2 English Law and the Colonial Heritage 38
3 The Formative Era 41
4 Constitutional Law and the Rise of Corporate Power 53
5 The Early Development of Antitrust Law: Regulating Corporate Power in the Marketplace 61
6 The Progression Toward Corporate Autonomy 69
3 The Reconstruction of American Liberalism 75
1 Corporate Power and the Progressive Movement 75
2 Herbert Croly: The Liberal Faith and the Corporate Reconstruction of America 80
3 Walter Weyl: Plutocratic Power and the Politics of Affluence 91
4 Thorstein Veblen: Exploit Versus Efficiency - Corporate Rule and the Modern Industrial System 104
5 The Reconstruction of American Liberalism 121
4 The Consolidation of Corporate Power: Law and Legal Theory 125
1 The Consolidation of Corporate Power 125
2 The Legal Foundation of Corporate Oligarchy 130
3 Corporate Social Responsibility, the Law, and Politics 138
4 Regulating the Corporate Citizen: Wealth, Power, and the Political Marketplace in First Amendment Jurisprudence 154
5 Restructuring Corporate Power for the Global Marketplace 168
6 The Evolution of Corporate Individualism 180
5 The Managerial Theory of Corporate Power 185
1 The Managerial Thesis 185
2 Peter F. Drucker: Political Theorist of the Corporate Society 191
3 Adolf A. Berle: Corporate Power, Pluralism, and "The City of God" 203
4 John Kenneth Galbraith: Technology Unbound - Corporate Power and the Demiurge of Modern Society 218
5 Corporate Liberalism and Managerial Theory 230
6 Toward a Political Theory of the Corporation 237
2 Who Rules the Corporation? 238
3 The State of the Art: Theories of Corporate Power 246
4 A Class Analysis of Corporate Power 265
7 Looking Backward to the Future of Transnational Corporate Power 286
1 Transnational Enterprise in the Era of Postimperialism 286
2 The Modern Doctrine of Free Trade 291
3 The Corporate Reconstruction of the Global Political Economy 296
4 Looking Backward to the Future 303
Notes 305
Selected Bibliography 393
Table of Cases 415
Index 419
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