The Rise of Planning in Industrial America, 1865-1914
Routledge – 2011 – 260 pages
Central economic planning is often associated with failed state socialism, and modern capitalism celebrated as its antithesis. This book shows that central planning is not always, or even primarily, a state enterprise, and that the giant industrial corporations that dominated the American economy through the twentieth century were, first and foremost, unprecedented examples of successful, consensual central planning at a very large scale.
"There is much in this book to like. It is carefully argued. The theory is nuanced. The author has clearly thought deeply about the issues addressed for some time. The book is very interdisciplinary, weaving together elements of economics, business history, legal history, cultural history, and more. The book is easily accessible - Richard Adelstein provides hypothetical illustrations throughout his theoretical arguments - and yet should be of interest to any scholar interested in not just history but the role that corporations play in today's world." - Rick Szostak, University of Alberta
Introduction: The Tripod of Power Part 1: Islands of Conscious Power 1. Organizing Production 2. Planning 3. Contracts in Performance. Interlude: Choosing the Future Part 2: Redwoods in the Garden 4. Taylor's Bargain 5. Antitrusts 6. Deciding for Bigness 7. Contracts at Liberty. Epilogue: 'War is the Health of the State'
Richard Adelstein is Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics at Wesleyan University, USA.