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The Editors

Where Have All the Public Companies Gone?

Some businesses are staying private. Others are getting bigger. That’s not necessarily a problem.
Not right for every company.

Not right for every company.

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The people who supervise the U.S. stock market are grappling with what they see as a troubling trend: One of the great innovations of Western capitalism -- the public company -- appears to be losing ground.

Before deciding what to do, they should first ask whether this is a problem at all.