From bank bailouts and corporate scandals to the financial panic of 2008 and its lingering effects, corporate governance in America has been wracked by crises. Amid a weakening system of checks and balances in which corporate executives have little incentive to protect shareholder interests, US corporations are growing larger and more irresponsible at the same time. But dependence on corporate profit was crucial to the early republic's growth, success, and security: despite protests that incorporated business was an inefficient and potentially corrupting system, US state governments chartered more corporations per capita than any other nation - including Britain - effectively making the United States a "corporation nation". Drawing on legal and economic history, Robert E. Wright traces the development and decline of corporate institutions in America, connecting today's financial failures to deteriorating corporate law.
Bolstered with archival and original data, including the first complete count of American business corporations before the Civil War, Corporation Nation makes a compelling argument for improved internal governance and more effective external government regulation.
The book is published by University of Pennsylvania Press.
"Drawing from newly collected data, Corporation Nation offers a provocative perspective on the history of the American business corporation and argues for reforms that would improve the governance of modern business enterprises." (Eric Hilt, Wellesley College)
"An engaging and well-written narrative of the development of corporate governance practices in American corporations." (Dan Wadhwani, Eberhardt School of Business)
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Essential USA business history
- Phil O.