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American Capitalism: Business and Corporations

This is a two part project. Part A leads into part B.

A) Below you will find the directions for this assignment.

It requires that you construct an annotated bibliography.

Getting Ready

Formulate a concrete research question in the area of American business enterprise. It might be a very broad question, or something much more focused. Either way, be certain that your question is precise. Here are a few examples of questions that one might come up with for a research assignment.
How has tariff policy affected American industry?
What invention has contributed most to American prosperity?
How does the company I work for fit into the development of American industry?
Can government regulation offset the collapse of control through free competition?
What protections and security have developed for industrial workers?
Begin your Written Assignment by writing a short paragraph in which you (a) state your question, and (b) explain how your assigned reading generated your interest in this question.
Note: You are not writing a research paper that answers this question, but developing a set of resources that you think should be consulted by someone if they were to write such a paper.

B) This essay should include a general discussion of the material on modern corporations and present-day business conditions that you have studied in Blackford & Kerr (Business Eneterprise in American History) and should be combined with a topic that interests you, that is acceptable to your instructor, and is one for which you might have access to appropriate research materials. Your paper should be 10 pages in length, double spaced, and you should cite your sources and annotate carefully, using parentheticals, endnotes, or footnotes. In addition to this, you should attach an appropriate bibliography in appropriate form.

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
Hello. As promised, the solution below should get you started. Part 1 & 2 reach about 15 pages which should get you started (see attached paper). Thank you for using Brainmass, Good luck with your studies!

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Part 1 - Research Question & Inspiration

I am interested in looking at the relationship, instances and tendencies of successful American entrepreneurs and business throughout the years in relation to and in the commitment of larcenous and illegal activities for the purpose of wealth creation and gaining an advantage over the competition. Essentially, the question I am going to ask in my paper is this - Is competitive American capitalism and the promise of wealth attractive to and reason enough for fraud and crime?

Capitalism is about competition and in the heady days of a pre-Great Depression America, capitalists created fortunes in the blink of an eye due to the expansion of industry. Wealth creation was an opportunity that was not limited to a few - everyone had the chance even the poorest of the poor with the drive and idea. Immigrants, ordinary workers, bastard sons - they all had a chance at making wealth and creating small business empires that it was considered the era of great fortune-making. But in such a competitive world where the risks taken can either be boom or bust, advantages are necessary to ensure returns. Business Ethics and particular regulatory standards still not in place, the most successful and the wealthiest's activities bordered or was even right smack in the domain of illegality, hence then they were branded not only as captains of industry but as 'robber barons'. But over the years even before the time of American Industrialisation and after it through the 60's, 80's and the present, seeking a business advantage in a capitalist society can drive the most ambitious to fraud and crime. I believe that this view that I have is supported by history and the nature of American capitalism. This paper was inspired by our class readings on 'Robber Barons' like Carnegie, Vanderbilt & Rockefeller'. I believe however that capitalism can bring about the worst in some men as the lure of wealth and power can be too much for some to resist. This paper explores that.

Part 2 (Paper)

Self-Interest & Competition in Capitalist America

Leland Stanford is among those whom we number as a distinguished American Capitalist in gilded years of American history - the age of Industrialisation before the Great Depression. He was ambitious, driven, visionary and cunning. He established rail-roads and ran railways lines under the South Pacific Company and also was one of the 4 tycoons who owned and ran the Central Pacific Raildroad company. Also a politician he was a California statesman and was the 8th governor of the state. Additionally, he also founded California's Stanford University. The thing was, to advance his own interest, Stanford was not averse to using his own political position to gain an advantage. Via his political connections, he achieved a monopoly on the Californian Rail System whereby competing against his rail-roads became illegal. Many refer to him as a political entrepreneur before referring to him as a tycoon. What Stanford had done can now be labelled as abuse of power and one under the banner of corruption but back then what he did didn't come under fire or even at notice by then watchdogs who deem which behavior was ethical and which wasn't. It was just assumed by the general public and his competitors that Stanford was far more influential and luckier than his competitors thus allowing him the advantage. Stanford was not alone and unique in his political entrepreneurship. Essayist M. Weinberg propose that (2003), 'American capitalists had almost a free hand in gaining control of a country unimaginably rich in natural resources'. The riches of America in the throes of development was, German economist Werner Sombart declared (1906) 'the Canaan of capitalism, its promised land'. Capitalism and free enterprise is standard practice synonymous to American identity. While control systems and regulations have emerged over the years side by side with every lesson brought by recessions, depression and socio-economic disasters, America's image as the 'Canaan of Capitalism' still hasn't changed.

As the world's biggest economy, the riches and development of America into the powerhouse that it is now affected the rest of the nations - the markets - that it trades with. As a result the strength and stability of partner economies is affected by the economic situation that America is in. Consider 2008's ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a comprehensive tutorial module that aims to help students doing research on American Business Enterprise history. It is a 2-part solution. Part 1, written from a first person perspective presents a topic of interest for research and the inspiration behind it, part 2 is a sample paper based on the ideas presented in part 1. It is a 2,607-word narrative that discusses the idea of capitalism and competitive business in America from the time of the robber barons to the present, focusing on the tendency towards larcenous and questionable practices fueled by growth and greed. Recent events like the 2007 recession and its causes as well as effects are included. References are listed as expanded bibliography. An MS-word version is attached for easy download and printing.