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POLS 3470 (14)
Tim Mau (14)

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Political Science
POLS 3470
Tim Mau

The study of business and Politics – Article - 1920, 30, 50s literature/research ignored politics and public policy - now substantial literature on relationship between business and US government - study of business not a distinctive subfield within political science - triumph of capitalism has made corporations the most important non-gov institutions globally - now dependant on business/gov to address critical issues/problems the changing research agenda - increase in research relations in last 25 years - factors: - ongoing debate over business power - substantial increase in business political activity - expansion of political agenda to include more policy areas that affect business - changing patterns of interest-group representation - globalization of American economy - heightening public expectations of business the power of business - power of America began during late 1960s-early 70’s in both political science and sociology - business not simply another interest-group, competing with other organized and unorganized interests for political access and influence - business was unique: its needs and interests dominated those of all other institutions and organizations in American society, including government - close social and ideological ties between economic and political elites, the dependence of the state on ‘business confidence’, and the ability of business to define and this limit the terms of public debate made a mockery of American pluralism - debate over the sources and extent of business power in capitalist societies revised 1977 with Charles Lindblom’s politics and markets business political activity - study of business by political scientists also affected by significant changes in business political activity since early 1970’s - 1970s political activity of American business at federal level increased substantially - corporations became highly visible and sophisticated participants in the political process - hired large number of lobbyists and lawyers - opened Washington offices - established and funded political actions committees (PACS) - expanded size of their government relations staffs - developed sophisticated strategies for influencing public opinion - learned how to mobilize the “grass roots” - now permanent feature of contemporary American politics - business more powerful now – since 1980s campaign finance - increased availability of detailed information on corporate campaign spending - changes in federal campaign contribution laws - 1970s first time public access to detailed information on business contributions to candidates and political parties expansions of political agenda - 30 years ago most firms affected by relatively few federal policies - trade policy remains extremely important and continues to be extensively studied by political scientists - now represents only one of many areas of federal policy in which business firms have an important stake - major expansion of government regulation – health, safety, environment - major changes in nature and scope of economic regulations - tax, energy, technology also more prominent place on political agenda interest group representation - number of interest groups increased - political agenda expanded and became more unstable - interest groups developed new strategies to influence public policy comparative political economy - increasing salience of economic issues within both international and domestic politics - globalization of American economy changing public expectations - management educations - late 1960’s significant changes in social and political environment of business - large corporations under intense public criticism: accused of promoting/condoning racial discrimination, neglecting their inner cities, supporting repressive regimes from Latin America to South Africa, despoiling the environment, profiting from the war in Vietnam - newly formed public interest movement began to press for more gov regulation - caught most managers by surprise - the standards which the public evaluated the performance of business appeared to have suddenly changed, managers seemed to be unsure as to how to respond to these new expectations and pressures - new area of management research and teaching: the interdisciplinary field of ‘business, government and society’ and related field of business ethics - describes and critically evaluates the responses of firms to the economic and political pressures of their various constituencies or “stakeholders” - explored the meaning of corporate social responsibility and the social and political significance of corporate philanthropy approaches to business-government-society relations - focus on 3 broad topics: 1) distinctiveness of American business-government relations - need to place analysis of contemporary developments of business-government relations in an appropriate historical context 2) contemporary political and social environment of business - value of comparative research - study of business-government relations in America stands to benefit significantly from the extent to which scholars also examine parallel developments in other capitalist nations 3) nature of business political power - importance of interdisciplinary research that forges a link between the study of business by political scientists with the study of business, government and society by students of management America in comparative perspective - 1974-75 - hostility from economic environment of the mid-1970s - US in most severe economic down-turn of post-war period - substantial increase in Democratic representation following ’74 election - distrust and suspicion of public authority since 1840’s - 2 distinctive features of political economy in US – limited role of the federal government in shaping the pattern of American economic development and the relative openness of the American political system to demands from non-business constituencies - literature on American “exceptionalism” represents a large and diverse corpus - persistence of an “adversary relationship” between business and government - doesn’t suggest the absence of important areas of cooperation between business and government in US - doesn’t ignore the existence of conflicts between business and government in other capitalist societies - it is to argue that compared to other capitalist nations – there has been less cooperation and more mistrust between economic and political elites in US - American political economy as a “new industrial state” – close cooperation between ‘big business’ and ‘
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