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corporate checks and balances?
I think there's a central but seldom-stated disagreement in arguments about markets and corporate power: to what degree do the interests of corporations coincide? I think most - well, most liberals anyway, would argue that the areas in which the majority of corporations share a common interest should be carefully watched in a democracy. Liberals that are extremely suspicious of corporations often appear to believe that firms' disagreements are superficial, and that on important issues they operate monolithically. Market-friendly liberals like me disagree, and while I could come up with examples in both directions, it seems like something that could be systematically addressed.


last timestamped: 03:12:53 27-Mar-2006
in categories:Commerce, Other/Politik

2 Comments

I'd like to see some of the examples. Better yet, terminology to classify the "areas" of coincidence or dissonance.

posted by nagu mail homepage

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Not sure on what terminology you're interested in, but: Examples of areas in which corporations pretty much agree: -Taxes. Hate 'em. -Immigration. Businesses that care about the issue at all are in favor of more relaxed policies, basically to up their labor supply. -Macroeconomic policy. Corporations like steady growth and low inflation. Examples of areas in which corporations disagree: -Health care. Many companies have a lot invested in the status quo, but health care is becoming more and more expensive to the companies paying for insurance (for those lucky enough to have it.) Reform, when it comes, might be backed by auto companies and airlines. -Patent law. Firms have started patenting everything, but even then they're not safe from something like the RIM / NTP hassle. Microsoft is going to make ActiveX controls "click to activate" to get around a 3rd-party patent. Lots of companies hate the current system, but they disagree on the remedy. -Copyright law. The copyright holders have money and incentive to use it, so they're swinging the biggest club, but there are plenty of firms that have zero interest in restrictive copyright laws - basically, any good that is a complement for copyrighted goods: tech, popcorn, ice cream, anything that gets consumed along with copyrighted work. As copyrighted work gets cheaper, their goods look relatively more attractive to consumers. Tech firms have kowtowed to the RIAA/MPAA on DRM because they don't think they can get the laws changed and they want to sell this stuff legally. -Foreign policy. The defense industry favors, um, an assertive America. But most companies, especially those that rely on trade, want stability more than anything else.

posted by Lukas

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