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Written in nontechnical terms, this book explains how the dynamics of big business have influenced national and international economies. A path-breaking study, it provides the first systematic treatment of big business in advanced, emerging, and centrally-planned economies from the late nineteenth century, when big businesses first appeared, to the present. Large industrial enterprises play a vital role in developing new technologies and commercializing new products in all of the major countries. How such firms emerged and evolved in different economic, political, and social settings constitutes a significant part of twentieth century world history. These essays, written by internationally-known historians and economists, help one understand the essential role and functions of big business.