Does America Still Work?


The People vs Business. Throughout the past century, the relationship between Corporate America and society has swung between hostility and harmony.


TIMELINE






Reprinted with permission by BusinessWeek
Copyright 1996 The McGraw-Hill Company Inc.
All Rights Reserved


    DATA: ALFRED D. CHANDLER JR.
    AND RICHARD S. TEDLOW. THE COMING
    OF MANAGERIAL CAPITALISM; BUSINESS WEEK


    1880-1900

    photo of machinery Rapid industrialization in sugar refineries and elsewhere challenges an economy rooted in agrarianism and individual enterprise. Big monopolies are born. A raft of anti-Big Business literature appears.



    photo of Andrew Carnegie

    1892

    While unions expand, 12 men are killed as steelworkers strike the Homestead Steel Works, owned by Andrew Carnegie (center). Labor violence spreads to railroads and mining.



    photo of Woodrow Wilson

    1912

    Woodrow Wilson is elected with an antibusiness mandate. Two years later, he creates the Federal Trade Commission to regulate "unfair" business practices.



    photo of a sign that reads: COALWOOD, UNINCORPORATED

    1920s

    The "welfare capitalism" movement induces employers to provide their workers with housing, such as Coalwood in West Virginia, as well as education, pensions, and stock.



    photo of Franklin D. Roosevelt signing bill

    1930s

    The Depression rocks faith in business, and union membership triples. Franklin Roosevelt regulates securities markets and banks; signs bills strengthening workers' rights.



    photo of an automobile

    1950s

    The Postwar boom. Employment and workers' wages rise steadily along with corporate profits. America's love affair with consumerism- and the automobile-begins.



    photo of a sign that reads: HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS

    1960s

    Unprecedented merger activity marks the "go-go" years. But the government steps up environmental and social regulation, sparked by such episodes as Love Canal.



    photo of Mike Milken

    1980s

    Mike Milken cometh. Hoping to ward off hostile bids, employers start to slim down, asking workers to sacrifice in return for a later payback. Workers generally accede.



    photo of Pat Buchanan

    1990s

    The payback never arrives. Instead, globalization stokes the restructuring of American industry. Pat Buchanan and others ride the new antibusiness wave.



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