The Political Constitution of the Corporation
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The Political Constitution of the Corporation

A Management Studies View

Alexander Styhre

In this insightful book, Alexander Styhre examines how corporations, often understood primarily as economic entities or legal devices, seek to influence and shape the market and the wider society in which they operate. Given the scope of such activities in most advanced economies, Styhre argues that corporations are political agents in their own right and that they must be critically analyzed in these terms.
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Chapter 4: The market for political influence

Alexander Styhre


The chapter examines the market for political influence that has developed from the mid-1970s’ neoconservative and neoliberal campaign to enforce a free market economy. The consequences of a flourishing lobbyism industry, think tank punditry, and private foundation patronage have been, inter alia, an increased degree of regulatory capture. For commentators who approve these changes, legal reforms, regulatory liberalization, and free-market self-regulation on the basis of credit rating and other market-based practices maximize economic efficiency, and thus benefit all constituencies. For its critics, incomplete and law regulatory control results in soaring systemic risks, which impose costs on tax-payers as market actors externalize such costs in the event of market meltdowns. In either perspective, the market for political influence is problematic in relation to current corporate legislation and extant regulatory control, based on other premises than those advocated by free-market theorists.

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