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For Profit: A History of Corporations

William Magnuson

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Economics

The first 2000-year history of corporations and the way they have shaped our lives.

We have long been suspicious of corporations recklessly pursuing profit and amassing wealth and power.

But the story of the corporation didn't have to be like this. For most of history, they were not amoral entities, but public institutions designed to promote the societies that granted them charter. Magnuson reveals how the corporation has evolved since its beginnings in the ancient world. What happens in this next chapter of the global economy depends on whether we can return to their public-minded spirit, or whether we have sunk irrevocably into the swamp of high profit at all costs.

Epic and compelling in scope, For Profit illuminates the roles corporations played, for good and evil, in the making of the modern world.

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William Magnuson

William Magnuson is an associate professor at Texas A&M Law School. Previously he taught law at Harvard, worked as an associate in Sullivan & Cromwell, and as a journalist in the Rome bureau of the Washington Post. He is the author of Blockchain Democracy: Technology, Law and the Rule of the Crowd, and has written for numerous leading publications including Harvard Business Law Review, Stanford Journal of Law, Business and Finance, and the Wall Street Journal.

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