The Creative Economy

Which companies will thrive in the coming years? Those that value ideas above all else

Adam Smith, the arch-capitalist, didn't like corporations. He wrote in 1776 in The Wealth of Nations that they breed "negligence and profusion" and "scarce ever fail to do more harm than good." In his day, governments handed out corporate charters rarely and grudgingly. But a century later, as the required scale of enterprise grew, corporations came to the fore. They built railroads, steel mills, refineries, and other businesses of unprecedented size. In so doing, they played an indispensable role in what University of California at Berkeley economist J. Bradford DeLong calls the "central fact" in 20th century economic history: the greatest increase in material wealth ever.

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