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Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government--and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  103 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The world’s largest company, Wal-Mart Stores, has revenues higher than the GDP of all but twenty-five of the world’s countries. Its employees outnumber the populations of almost a hundred nations. The world’s largest asset manager, a secretive New York company called Black Rock, controls assets greater than the national reserves of any country on the planet. A private phil...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published February 1st 2012)
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Everyone who has a political position, an interest in business, or an interest in his or her economic well being should read this thought-provoking book. Power, Inc. has downsides, such as some repetitiveness. Yet the information conveyed is well worth these annoyances.

Rothkopf traces about 800 years of the relationship of corporations and governing bodies, including churches, states, and semi-states. He starts in Sweden where the first corporation that still exists today had its beginnings. Gov...more
I finally finished this book on the day it was due! It was a long hard slog. I would not have even bothered to finish it except that I was entranced by the ideas presented. Rothkopf discussed his ideas about the balance of power between private interests (corporations) and public interests (national government) from an historical perspective. He begins in the eleventh century with the forming of one of the earliest corporations that is still in existence- originally a copper mine in Sweden. He e...more
David Rothkopf's Power Inc. is an outstanding primer on the evolution of the relationship between states and corporations. Starting in 13th century Sweden with the foundation of a state mining company, Stora, and continuing through the present day, Power Inc. demonstrates how the corporation, which was once an instrument of the state, has, thanks to the legal developments of corporate immortality, limited liability, and artificial personhood, transcended national boundaries, eroded state soverei...more
This book is a very thorough history of the power struggle between all the structural elements of governance, religions, and economies. The historical perspective is very thorough and well worth the read. The book can be slow at times, but does ebb and flow. I expected a more thorough suggestion for forward progress from our current situation, but the author knows history too well to make a prediction like that. Nonetheless, I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in how we got w...more
Historians of western civilization are used to viewing its late medieval and early modern period through the lens of a church versus state battle; the reformation owes as much to the desire for German princes to be free of the Roman pontiff’s command as it does belief in theological purity. Concurrent with the battle between Crown and cathedral, however, was another war; one between the crown and commerce. In Power, Inc, Alexander Rothkopft gives a history of the modern world, of the economic ti...more
scary stuff about public vs private interests and how this has been part of who we are since man first began sitting around a fire. gives insight into why people feel strongly about each side. well written for the lay person, but so depressing to see that maybe there is little hope, and "survival of the fittest" is totally about who dies with the most toys.
Although, the author seems to indicate that the book is leading to a comparative view of the leading alternative capitalist models v. the Anglo-American model, the book is truly about the rise of the modern nation-state and the modern corporation (or the struggles between public and private power). Very well researched, the author examines the core conflicts that arose in the development of corporations and the attempts to develop the state. The creation first of royal charters and then the mode...more
It's a rich man's world! Have we arrived yet? I welcome the author's impartial contribution to the debate on the important issue of the roles of government and big business in modern society. I particularly liked the specific referencing of legal case precedents in one part of the book. I also really like the author's idea of weaving a corporate history through the book, although at times it seemed like an historical supplement to a corporate annual report. While the book is, for the most part,...more
This was a great read on the history of the state and the emrgence of corporate power. I believe I read this author's book on the National Security Agency a few years ago. I absolutely lvoed the deep hisory of this work, which went bakc to the founding of the Stora mining company in 1180 orso. Fortunately, I'd just read Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror" so much of the followeing history made even more sense. I got up on July 4th, determined to go back to bed around 5:30, but picked this up and read t...more
This historical treatment (with much of its focus on the 19th century and prior) examines the development of the relationship between government and the corporation. Rothkopf's analysis is mostly at the macro level - how does government relate to very big business and vice versa - and does not talk about individual businesses and how they relate to the public sector in individual communities. His "go to" example is a Swedish copper company named Stora Kopparberg, incorporated in the 11th century...more
Terry Earley
I heard just a snippet of an interview on Diane Rehm show:

Big business is as big a threat to our economy as "big government". Rothkopf explains why.

This was an important followup to Rothkopf's last book, "Superclass". it is a must read for those who are convinced that big business needs a free hand in the world market. Somehow, the market will magically "regulate" itself. Walmart, Exxon, Goldmann Sachs, --and if they still had a share of the game, Enron, w...more
Patrick L.
This is an excellent and very detailed history of the interplay between public and private power over the last 1000 years or so. It is a must read for anybody who is serious about understanding not only the past and present but where we may be heading in the future as well.
Michael Beaton
This is an excellent book with expansive survey of the development of the notion and fact of corporations. Beginning at the beginning it is an interesting angle to read the history of something so essential to our current world.
In some critical way the story of corporation, and its power, and its relationship to the state... another "idea" that was just gaining foothold in those days... is necessary to the fraught questions we are wrestling with today. Hobby Lobby? Citizens United? Health Care?...more
Rob Bencini
Exceptional book. Must reading for anyone interested in the how today's economies came to be. Tells the story of the historical interaction between government and business. Filled with interesting stories, the author does an excellent job of weaving the history of how our economy came to be and what the future holds for us.
This author knows his stuff. Almost too much stuff. I loved his ideas but found it hard to keep trudging through chapter after chapter of history but the knowledge was there so it was worth it to push on. After this book you will have more talking points about corporate power then you ever thought was possible.
Luke Lanciano
Excellent historical overview of the rise of private power, and the coming challenges of integrating this new loci of power into a rules-based, legitimate global social framework.
Brian Katz
Very interesting read about Power, the church, the state and private enterprise and how all of these groups have fought for Power over the centuries.
Some interesting perspectives but often dry and hard to follow.
Jeremy Poh
Deep book suitable for political science students.
Mills College Library
322.3 R8466 2012
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David Rothkopf is the internationally acclaimed author of Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, March 2008), now available in over two dozen editions worldwide, and Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power (PublicAffairs, 2005), hailed by The New York Times as "the definitive his...more
More about David Rothkopf...
Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Governmentand the Reckoning That Lies Ahead National Insecurity: American Leadership in an Age of Fear The Price of Peace: Emergency Economic Intervention and U.S. Foreign Policy

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