Friday, May 5, 2017

"Corporations and American Democracy"

Here's an important new collection of essays from the Harvard University Press, Corporations and American Democracy, edited by Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Yale University, and William J. Novak, University of Michigan Law School:
Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United and other high-profile cases have sparked passionate disagreement about the proper role of corporations in American democracy. Partisans on both sides have made bold claims, often with little basis in historical facts. Bringing together leading scholars of history, law, and political science, Corporations and American Democracy provides the historical and intellectual grounding necessary to put today’s corporate policy debates in proper context.

From the nation’s founding to the present, Americans have regarded corporations with ambivalence—embracing their potential to revolutionize economic life and yet remaining wary of their capacity to undermine democratic institutions. Although corporations were originally created to give businesses and other associations special legal rights and privileges, historically they were denied many of the constitutional protections afforded flesh-and-blood citizens.

This comprehensive volume covers a range of topics, including the origins of corporations in English and American law, the historical shift from special charters to general incorporation, the increased variety of corporations that this shift made possible, and the roots of modern corporate regulation in the Progressive Era and New Deal. It also covers the evolution of judicial views of corporate rights, particularly since corporations have become the form of choice for an increasing variety of nonbusiness organizations, including political advocacy groups. Ironically, in today’s global economy the decline of large, vertically integrated corporations—the type of corporation that past reform movements fought so hard to regulate—poses some of the newest challenges to effective government oversight of the economy.
TOC after the jump
Corporations and American Democracy: An Introduction [Naomi R. Lamoreaux and William J. Novak]
I. Corporate Origins

    1. Early American Corporations and the State [Eric Hilt]
    2. Corporations and Organizations in the United States after 1840 [Jessica L. Hennessey and John Joseph Wallis]

II. The Turn to Regulation

    3. The Dissociation of Incorporation and Regulation in the Progressive Era and the New Deal [Daniel A. Crane]
    4. The Public Utility Idea and the Origins of Modern Business Regulation [William J. Novak]
    5. Corporate Taxation and the Regulation of Early Twentieth-Century American Business [Steven A. Bank and Ajay K. Mehrotra]

III. The Changing Corporate Form

    6. From Fiscal Triangle to Passing Through: Rise of the Nonprofit Corporation [Jonathan Levy]
    7. The Supreme Court’s View of Corporate Rights: Two Centuries of Evolution and Controversy [Margaret M. Blair and Elizabeth Pollman]
    8. Corporations and the Fourteenth Amendment [Ruth H. Bloch and Naomi R. Lamoreaux]

IV. Modern Corporate Challenges

    9. Two Cheers for Vertical Integration: Corporate Governance in a World of Global Supply Chains [Nelson Lichtenstein]
    10. Citizens United, Personhood, and the Corporation in Politics [Adam Winkler]