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The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn't What It Used to Be by Moisés Naím

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CHAPTER THREE

HOW POWER GOT BIG

An Assumption’s Unquestioned Rise

TAKE YOUR PICK AS TO WHEN THE STORY BEGINS. WAS IT 1648, WHEN the Peace of Westphalia ushered in the modern nation-state, in place of the post-medieval order of city-states and overlapping principalities? Was it 1745, when a French aristocrat and commercial administrator named Vincent de Gournay is said to have coined the term bureaucracy? Or perhaps it was 1882, when a constellation of small oil firms in the United States were melded into the gigantic Standard Oil—amid the rise of new large-scale industries, and foreshadowing a great wave of mergers one decade later that would end the heyday of small, local, family-firm capitalism and install a new order based on giant corporations? ...

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