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Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracyby Ted Nace
Synopses & Reviews
From its roots in 17th-century Britain to its modern incarnation in Enron and WorldCom, the modern corporation — restless, autonomous, and self-perpetuating — has gained potency. Designed to seek profit and power, the corporation has pursued both objectives with endless tenacity, steadily bending the framework of the law and incurring destruction in its path. Where did the corporation come from? How did it get so much power? What is its ultimate trajectory? Considering the importance of such questions, it is surprisingly difficult to find answers.
Using cutting-edge research from academic historians, sociologists, political scientists, and legal scholars, ""Gangs of America attempts to answer these questions in a unique, riveting narrative. The book recounts the settlement of America by corporations, details the surprising impetus for the Revolutionary War, then traces the expansion of corporate rights onto the global stage — culminating in an assessment of current struggles over such issues as media control and campaign finance reform. Part of the ""BK Currents series, the book promotes positive social change.
Book News Annotation:
This is a synthetic historical account of the rise of the corporation and its gradual consolidation of political, legal, and economic power in the United States and globally. Written for a general audience, the narrative traces the development of corporations from their earliest beginnings in the English craft and merchant guilds through the political and legal battles that allowed them to gain their current position of global power at the expense of democratic controls. Unlike other works on the topic, the author valuably extends the discussion of the development corporate rights beyond the infamous Supreme Court decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad to identify three stages in the creation of corporate rights: legislative creation of corporate quasi-rights (1820-1900), judicial creation of corporate-constitutional rights (1886-1986), and trade agreement creation of corporate global rights (1987-present). For this new edition, he has added a chapter on alternatives that points to the European Union's corporate model. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Surpassing even the state and the church, the corporation has become the core institution of the modern world, exercising might and muscle without regard to the often destructive effects on individuals, the environment, society, and the world. How did this happen? In this compelling expose, noted entrepreneur and activist Ted Nace scrutinizes the legal framework of the corporation and untangles questions about how and why the corporation evolved as it did. Nace traces the evolution of this institution through the behind-the-scenes figures who shaped it, including Thomas Scott, an obscure genius who invented the holding company; Stephen Field, the Supreme Court judge who developed corporate personhood rights; and many others. Including the latest research by historians, sociologists, political scientists, and legal scholars, this book is a dramatic narrative, an invaluable reference, and a blueprint for regaining control before it's too late.
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