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View Diary: Who are the "Makers" and the "Takers"? (99 comments)

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  •  Economic history is key to understanding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katiec, Dustin Mineau

    our present situation. And one of the big problems in modern economics is a lack of focus on economic history. It would be like having generals who did not study Napoleon, Grant, Lee, Bradley, Sherman, Rommel, Julius Caesar, etc. It leaves them intellectually handicapped.

    May I suggest a great book on this topic: The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times And Ideas Of The Great Economic Thinkers, Seventh Edition. Heilbronner does a masterful job of explaining the history of economics in an approachable way. It should be mandatory reading in any Econ 101 class.

    •  Thanks for the suggestion. I'd also like to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dustin Mineau

      read something on the history of the corporation.  Any suggestion?

      •  Rather a specific book about the theory of the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        firm, which can be highly technical you might want to read some corporate biographies. Sorkin's To Big to Fail is good if a little slanted into making the Masters of the Universe into heroes. There are some really good books about the history of Apple computer. Roy E. Disney's biography of his father Roy Disney, Walt Disney's older brother and manager of the Disney company is another good one. Manchester's history of the Krupp corporation is massive but really illustrative.

        What the Dormouse Saw is a really good book on the early days of the personal computer revolution. There is a book called Bad Samaritans which is a history of trade and globalization from an international point of view.

        There is an old book called The Peter Principal from the 70s which still resonates with an examination of the way corporations and large organizations work.

        All of these are meant for the general reader and not technical.

        •  I'm thinking more along the lines of how corps (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dustin Mineau

          arose, how they became immortal, etc.

          •  Do you mean generally as a trend? Then look to the (0+ / 0-)

            history of the railroad industry in the 19th century. Any good American History book will do. Howard Zinn's History of the American People is a good place to start. There are a number of good books about the Robber Barons. Including a few that are titled The Robber Barons.

            I do not trust Wikipedia as a completely trustworthy source but a search for Robber Barons should give you a start. Also any biography of IBM will give you good insight as IBM started in the mid 19th century.

            The idea of the corporation started in early 19th century Britain. It was a way to keep investors who lost everything on a risky investment out of debtors jail. The legal risk of losses was shifted from the individual investors to the corporation. That way your losses were limited to only what you invested in the corporation.

        •  Another Classic (0+ / 0-)

          Wreck of the Penn Central is another classic.  It describes a bankruptcy that held the biggest-bankruptcy record for several years, and led to the establishment of Conrail and Amtrak.

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