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date: 25 July 2021

(p. v) Preface

(p. v) Preface

Business is one of the major power centers in modern society. The state seeks to check and channel that power so as to serve broader public policy objectives. However, if the way in which business is governed is ineffective or over burdensome, it may become more difficult to achieve desired goals such as economic growth or higher levels of employment. In a period of international economic crisis, the study of how business and government relate to each other in different countries is of more central importance than ever.

These relationships have been studied from a number of different disciplinary perspectives—business studies, economics, law, and political science—and all of these are represented in this Handbook. The first part of the book provides an introduction to the ways in which five different disciplines have approached the study of business and government. The second part, on the firm and the state, looks at how these entities interact in different settings, emphasizing such phenomena as the global firm and varieties of capitalism. The third part examines how business interacts with government in different parts of the world, including the United States, the EU, China, Japan, and South America. The fourth part reviews changing patterns of market governance through a unifying theme of the role of regulation. Business–government relations can play out in divergent ways in different policy and the fifth part examines the contrasts between different key arenas such as competition policy, trade policy, training policy, and environmental policy. The volume provides an authoritative overview with chapters by leading authorities on the current state of knowledge of business–government relations, but also points to ways in which this work might be developed in the future, for example, through a political theory of the firm.

In preparing this volume, we owe our greatest debt to the contributors. They have all been superbly professional in delivering drafts and final chapters. We could not have asked for a more cooperative group of scholars and colleagues. We also owe a huge debt to David Musson and Mathew Derbyshire at Oxford University Press for their support and patience in waiting for the final version to arrive. Finally, David would like to thank the Fulbright Foundation and the Center for Business and Government at the Kennedy School Harvard University for their support and providing a home in the final days of editing with Graham in Boston.

The final editing of this volume, like its subject, was a truly global event with meetings in Boston, Brussels, and London and email exchanges from Australian airports. Somehow in all this international exchange we managed to coordinate (p. vi) thirty‐seven leading business government scholars as well as, somewhat harder, the three of us. Events in “the real” world as the book was nearing completion served to remind us of both the unpredictability of politics and the importance of the topic. If anyone in 2006 when we started this project had predicted that President George W. Bush would have ordered major US banks to sell stock to the government they would have been thought insane. On the other hand, the real problems that people were experiencing around the world reminded us of the importance of this topic for the futures of our children Adam, Alexandria, Sophia, Rosalind, and Amelia and we dedicate this book to them and our wives Gina, Maggie, and Natasha.