The Public Interest

Power in America

Richard A. Posner

Fall 1971

WHEN you pick up a book entitled America, Inc. and subtitled “Who Owns and Operates the United States,” and the first sentence of the publishers blurb is, “This well-documented exposé reveals the incorporated rulers of the United States and, indeed, much of the world,” you may suspect that the New Left has struck again. When you then read Ralph Nader’s introduction lamenting that “there is no list of the ten most wanted corporations,” you are likely to be confirmed in your suspicion. But you will be wrong. The packaging of America, Inc. may reflect the tone of shrill and lacerating self-criticism that today characterizes so much discussion of American society, but the body of the book is the product of a much older current in social criticism: the Populist-Progressive-second New Deal attack on big business.

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