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Capitalism Takes CommandThe Social Transformation of Nineteenth-Century America$
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Michael Zakim and Gary J. Kornblith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226451091

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226977997.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Capitalism and the Rise of the Corporation Nation

Capitalism and the Rise of the Corporation Nation

(p.145) 6 Capitalism and the Rise of the Corporation Nation
Capitalism Takes Command

Robert E. Wright

University of Chicago Press

Corporations are a well-established and the most prevalent economic institution in America. Incorporation was an effective method for coordinating physical capital, human capital, and money capital that made it possible to take advantage of economies of scale and influence prices. In addition, it is central to the development of a credit base for financing the market system in general. However, these “economic” advantages became a political liability. Critics translated effective control over capital into a risky concentration of power and influence. Due to popular protest, the existing rules of incorporation were replaced with general procedures so that everyone was now entitled to the special privileges traditionally enjoyed by corporations. Yet the result was a rise in competition that renewed the focus on management techniques, which in turn shielded the corporation from public oversight and accountability. Financial capital did not give rise to capitalism. Rather, its appearance and proliferation were caused by capitalism.

Keywords:   corporations, America, incorporation, capital, competition, management techniques, accountability, financial capital, capitalism

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