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Corporate America has always played a weighty, often determining role in our political life. And toward the turn of the twenty-first century corporate influence in our politics began to take on a new form. Nowadays, we’ve grown accustomed to the sight of business tycoons, lacking a scintilla of political experience, offering themselves up as “public servants” and for the highest offices. And they do so brashly, suggesting that it’s precisely their lives as entrepreneurial autocrats commanding their own business empires that makes them best qualified to set things right in the political arena.
Here, we offer three considerations of this phenomenon. In the May 2018 issue of New Labor Forum, Lily Geismer explores how this peculiarity of the business mogul as political leader came to be and why it is such an authoritarian threat to democracy. And New Labor Forum Editor-at-Large Steve Fraser examines the emergence of the business mogul as both policy maker — in the form of the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Bill Gates, and the Walton family, to name a few — and as elected official, with our 45th President as only the most flagrant example. We also offer a review essay by Andrew Elrod of two recent books by Gordon Lafer and Nancy MacLean exploring the wildly successful work of corporate chieftains to propose and pass legislation of their liking.
Table of Contents
- Napoleons in Pinstripes: The Rise of the Business Mogul as Politician/ Lily Geismer, New Labor Forum
- Playing God/ Steve Fraser, TomDispatch.com
- Book Review: Property Supremacy/ Andrew Elrod, New Labor Forum