History of the Corporation
by Scott D. Haring
HTML conversion by Michael P. Owen, March 2000
1880s -- The heyday of the "robber barons." Rich men -- and their corporations -- did whatever they wanted, to whomever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, and later, the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, greatly curtail corporate abuses.
1920s -- Anti-Big Business sentiment remains high; Labor unions on the rise. Increasing labor violence forces federal government to step in aud impose compromises that end the most onerous corporate abuses (unsafe working conditions, child labor, 12-hour days) in exchange for labor peace.
1980s -- A new era of deregulation begins to reverse, ever so slowly, decades of government control of business practices. Consumer protection still alive and well (if underfunded), but environmental abuses and interference in foreign governments is ignored.
1993 -- The Oil Crash. As a result of new reports of the
near-total depletion of world oil reserves, oil company stocks
drop to an average of 7% of their pre-Crash value in just three
days. The multinational corporations that diversified survive;
the others disappear. Destitute oilmen complain about
"government overregulation." A nervous Congress,
looking at millions of angry unemployed former oil workers,
sweeping deregulation measures, virtually freeing business from all government control.
2000s -- The Secession Wars, like all wars, give a big boost to U.S. business. Many corporations develop their own "security forces" to protect corporation plants and offices from invading troops. Thousands sign up when service is ruled to be a legal alternative to military enlistment. Many of these groups converted to standing, private armies after the wars end.
2009 -- Randall Enterprises brings new meaning to the word "hostile takeover" when Alabama manufacturing concern uses its private army to secure a competing steel plant and claim it for its own. Former owners of the plant, taken completely by surprise, later "sell" the plant to Randall for $1 -- and the return of a number of corporate wives and children.
2010s -- A bloody era in American free enterprise, as companies fmd new, violent ways to get an edge on the competition. Assassination of business rivals becomes widespread; combat skills become as useful for executives as MBAs. Long-hated by authorities, the corporate private armies prove invaluable during the Food Riots, keeping mob damage to a minimum.
2020s -- Use of private armies in direct assaults drops off as business leaders realize that destroying a plant while trying to take it over is counterproductive, to say the least. Corporate assassinations also on the decline, especially with the introduction of Gold Cross. An expense-account clone becomes the #l corporate "perk" of the 21st Century.
2028 -- Private armies once again prove their usefulness when Orange County Agricultural Enclave forces push back Mexican invaders.
Today -- Most industrial plants are so well-defended that armed attacks are no longer cost-effective; business, ever-attentive to the bottom line, has noticed. Still, corporate private armies are necessary to defend private property, and occasionally perform socially useful functions.