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Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government--and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead [Kindle Edition]

David Rothkopf
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $8.89
You Save: $7.11 (44%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

The world’s largest company, Wal-Mart Stores, has revenues higher than the GDP of all but twenty-five of the world’s countries. Its employees outnumber the populations of almost a hundred nations. The world’s largest asset manager, a secretive New York company called Black Rock, controls assets greater than the national reserves of any country on the planet. A private philanthropy, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spends as much worldwide on health care as the World Health Organization.  

The rise of private power may be the most important and least understood trend of our time. David Rothkopf provides a fresh, timely look at how we have reached a point where thousands of companies have greater power than all but a handful of states. Beginning with the story of an inquisitive Swedish goat wandering off from his master and inadvertently triggering the birth of the oldest company still in existence, Power, Inc. follows the rise and fall of kings and empires, the making of great fortunes, and the chaos of bloody revolutions. A fast-paced tale in which champions of liberty are revealed to be paid pamphleteers of moneyed interests and greedy scoundrels trigger changes that lift billions from deprivation, Power, Inc. traces the bruising jockeying for influence right up to today’s financial crises, growing inequality, broken international system, and battles over the proper role of government and markets.

Rothkopf argues that these recent developments, coupled with the rise of powers like China and India, may not lead to the triumph of American capitalism that was celebrated just a few years ago. Instead, he considers an unexpected scenario, a contest among competing capitalisms offering different visions for how the world should work, a global ideological struggle in which European and Asian models may have advantages. An important look at the power struggle that is defining our times, Power, Inc. also offers critical insights into how to navigate the tumultuous years ahead.

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Davis Rothkopf's book Superclass:
''Rothkopf has written a serious and eminently readable evaluation of the superpowerful . . . An unsettling account of what the immense and growing power of this superclass bodes for the future.'' --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

DAVID ROTHKOPF is the internationally acclaimed author of Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making and Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power. He is the president and chief executive of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm, and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has also taught international affairs at Columbia University' s Graduate School of International and Public Affairs.

Product Details

  • File Size: 783 KB
  • Print Length: 449 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0374151288
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005N8Y6QS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,468 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! February 28, 2012
Appropriate balancing of public and private power is a central issue that helps determine the success of societies. About 15 years ago Americans celebrated the triumph of American capitalism and the defeat of state power by the focus of the marketplace - we'd shown that our balancing of the two was superior, if not optimum. Today, it is clear that our celebrating was premature. The freewheeling market model promoted by America is now reeling from self-inflicted wounds, while new models developed elsewhere (eg. China, Brazil, Israel, Singapore, the UAE) are providing better outcomes.

Author Rothkopf also points out this battle between Main Street and Wall Street is not unique to recent years, nor even to the U.S. - it has both raged years ago (Standard Oil vs. the trust-busters, Upton Sinclair/government vs. the filth, in-humaneness, and dangers of slaughterhouses, etc.) and across both oceans (England - 'Britain has the best democracy that money can buy;' China - moving from Mao's revolutions against businessmen to today's 'socialism with Chinese characteristics).

Unfortunately, since 1980 any semblance of proper balance between big government and big business has been lost - undermining our economy, politics, and international legitimacy. What drives this ongoing conflict? Markets find and exploit scale economies; scale economies, in turn, ease access to political and economic power. Another factor - confusing efforts to reign in alleged overreaching government power with supporting personal freedom. Reality, is that instead these 'victories' simply allow power to accrue to even less accountable private institutions whose interests do not align with those of most people. (Eg. Higher auto manufacturers' profits via emphasizing poor-mileage SUVs.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A MUST READ. The author is a master of explaining complex and important global policies and "plans" that affect us all, in a way that are both entertaining and enlightening. Frankly, if I hadn't read "Running The World" or "Superclass", I wouldn't have anticipated this next book with the same zeal. Fact is, I was looking forward to this (his) latest effort because there's always a tremendous amount of timely and vital information that is interspersed with humor--sometimes, even in a layman's lingo -- that hits home to the core of the issues and to the soul of the reader. That may sound corny, but it's very effective as a way of communicating the thoughts and concepts, and something I need in a book like this to keep me engaged. The author Pulls-No-Punches and shows no ambiguity whatsoever in his descriptions of the subject matter. Some of the scenarios I've already shared with colleagues and friends include the bankruptcy of GM and Saab, and the revelations I garnered from Rothkopf's evaluations of the way things happen differently between governments and businesses here in the US and in Sweden (and other stories from around the world, some approaching time immemorial). There are a lot of real, and dynamic perceptions that make you want to say, "HUH?"... information that will keep you hooked. From human rights issues to corporate hocus-pocus and everything in between, historically documented. Funny? Maybe. Scary? Potentially. Accurate? I think, absolutely. Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
David Rothkoph has written what should be a "must read" for anyone in a public policy position, journalist, and any voter who wants to be well educated on the balance of government, personal freedom, and business. In Power Inc, he shows the 1000 years of history of the relationships of corporations as we know them today to governments.

In fact, he makes a compelling case that when seen through the lens of corporations and money, many of the religious wars of the last 1000 years, religious changes, and the important debate of religion's relationship to government take on a whole new depth. He also offers a good reminder that the current balance of power in the world with the US as the leading democracy and leading economy are extremely different than the majority of history which saw two much more populous countries in China and India as the world's dominant economies for centuries.

His historical ramp-up is at times a bit overwhelming but well worth the effort. As he makes the connection between the power and privilege enjoyed by the British East India Company centuries ago to the power exercises by money managers and multinationals today, you'll appreciate the historical context. You'll also see how much power governments worldwide but especially in the US has been ceded to corporate interests in the last few hundred years. You'll understand how money managers who control investments larger than the reserves of any nation on earth can have a larger impact on the global economy than anyone in government and yet be largely unknown.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it
Great book!
Published 3 months ago by Camila Nader
5.0 out of 5 stars Consequences of imbalance between the state and the "have's".
This book provided a clear picture of the consequences of "unregulated / unguided / careless" decision making by private business. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ntime Samson Mokhine
2.0 out of 5 stars Northern Lights on an Age-Old Dilemna
In “The Mines of Falun”, German author E.T.A. Hoffmann tells the story of a young Swedish miner who gets trapped and buried alive in a mine accident. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Etienne ROLLAND-PIEGUE
2.0 out of 5 stars Did Not Finish
An excellent example of liberal ethno-western nonsense. This is the kind of distorted thinking that gives aid and comfort to the worst crazies in the Tea Party.
Published 12 months ago by S. Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
tells it like it is what can I say, read it (nine more words required) just get the book and read it
Published 13 months ago by Running Man
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful work
David Rothkopf is a rare genius, transcending the partisan acrimony of current political debate to reveal the incestuous relationship between the corporation and the state. Read more
Published 14 months ago by PeterP
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great--yet Incomplete--Book About The Evolution of Power...But Not...
I want to start out by pointing out what this book is not: Power, Inc. cannot be characterized as being about the reckoning that lies ahead between corporations and governments. Read more
Published 16 months ago by E. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Who knew the biggest rivalry in history was governments vs. big...
The biggest rivalries in the world include some of the most recognizable names/brands. Coke vs. Pepsi. iPhone vs. Android. Redskins vs. Cowboys. Read more
Published 16 months ago by David Gaines
2.0 out of 5 stars Middling
This book has some good analysis (a good chunk of which he admits is heavily indebted to others), and some not-so-good analysis (writing the prescription without adequately... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jeremy Patterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Power inc: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and...
I enjoyed his historical beginnings of capitalism and how capitalism has changed and is changing when viewed over historical context of then and now. Well written... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jim Stimpfle
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