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For Profit: A History of Corporations

by William Magnuson

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1023268,157 (4)2
A history of how corporate innovation has shaped society, from ancient Rome to Silicon Valley. Americans have long been skeptical of corporations, and that skepticism has only grown more intense in recent year. Meanwhile, corporations continue to amass wealth and power at a dizzying rate, recklessly pursuing profit while leaving society to sort out the costs. In For Profit, law professor William Magnuson argues that the story of the corporation didn't have to come to this. Throughout history, he finds, corporations have been purpose-built to benefit the societies that surrounded them. Corporations enabled everything from the construction of ancient Rome's roads and aqueducts to the artistic flourishing of the Renaissance to the rise of the middle class in the twentieth century. By recapturing this original spirit of civic virtue, Magnuson argues, corporations can help craft a society in which all of us--not just shareholders--benefit from the profits of enterprise.… (more)
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Showing 3 of 3
Anyone who thinks that corporations and capitalism have only ruined the world should read this book. Likewise, anyone that thinks corporations and capitalism can do no wrong should read this book. This book is filled with brilliant insights into the what, why and how of corporations throughout history. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the yet to come. Highly recommended. ( )
  Cantsaywhy | Dec 7, 2023 |
An excellent history of the corporation. Magnuson reviews the ways in which corporations have evolved and then provides an analysis of the purpose of a corporation in the past, now, and in the future. ( )
  SamGustafson | Apr 14, 2023 |
This book by William Magnuson is exceptional. Mr. Magnuson has accomplished something fabulous in this book by giving us a history of corporations via concepts - like 'the stock holding company,' 'the monopoly,' 'the raiders,' etc. He has taken a concept in every chapter and has illustrated the principle with a detailed case history of one company.
In doing so, he walked a fine line and delivered the contents without passing judgment. Too many people fall into this trap.

This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the corporations, and wants to have an idea of what lies ahead. ( )
1 vote RajivC | Jan 25, 2023 |
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A history of how corporate innovation has shaped society, from ancient Rome to Silicon Valley. Americans have long been skeptical of corporations, and that skepticism has only grown more intense in recent year. Meanwhile, corporations continue to amass wealth and power at a dizzying rate, recklessly pursuing profit while leaving society to sort out the costs. In For Profit, law professor William Magnuson argues that the story of the corporation didn't have to come to this. Throughout history, he finds, corporations have been purpose-built to benefit the societies that surrounded them. Corporations enabled everything from the construction of ancient Rome's roads and aqueducts to the artistic flourishing of the Renaissance to the rise of the middle class in the twentieth century. By recapturing this original spirit of civic virtue, Magnuson argues, corporations can help craft a society in which all of us--not just shareholders--benefit from the profits of enterprise.

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