Chapter 11: Conclusion: fairy-tales, facts, foci and futures
The business corporation is a work of genius. It has harnessed material resources, technology and organisation, mobilised by human imagination and innovation, to create wealth and mass prosperity unimaginable to earlier generations. In the process it has unleashed less attractive aspects of human ambition including greed, dominance and a lust for status, but at least these baser impulses have operated through peaceful commerce. Its sheer success means that it has become a constituent feature of contemporary political life, omnipresent, often unremarked, but powerful enough to dictate political choices. The opening chapter concluded that we do not have adequate theories or frameworks to assess the influence of the corporation over contemporary politics. In response to that lack, the book argues that we should regard the large corporation as a governing institution which has become part of the governance of society and which therefore affects democratic process, political choice and the design and implementation of public policy. Until recently the power of the corporation was held in balance. Since the late 1980s that balance has been overturned; an argument that has been made in various settings in earlier pages. During the time this book has been researched and written, the extent of the contemporary imbalance has become clearer and more worrying.
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