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For Profit

On sale

10th November 2022

Price: £25

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399805209

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‘Brilliantly conceived and enlightening at every turn’ Lawrence Wright

We have long been suspicious of corporations recklessly pursuing profit and amassing wealth and power.

But the story of the corporation didn’t have to be like this. For most of history, they were not amoral entities, but public institutions designed to promote the societies that granted them charter. Magnuson reveals how the corporation has evolved since its beginnings in the ancient world. What happens in this next chapter of the global economy depends on whether we can return to their public-minded spirit, or whether we have sunk irrevocably into the swamp of high profit at all costs.

Epic and compelling in scope, For Profit illuminates the roles corporations played, for good and evil, in the making of the modern world.


Lawrence Wright, author of 'The Plague Year'
Brilliantly conceived and enlightening at every turn, For Profit is a thrilling history of an institution that has shaped all our lives - for better and for worse
Adam Winkler, author of 'We the Corporations'
In this lively and informativehistory of the corporation, William Magnuson shows that corporations were born to serve the public interest-only to be used and abused time and again to maximize profits for shareholders and executives. A must-read for any student of the world's most influential form of economic organization
The Economist
A magnificent history of corporations . . . Private enterprises have produced some of humankind's greatest achievements. But often the most dazzling overstep the mark, leaving a trail of debris and distrust behind them
Martin Vander Weyer, The Spectator
I can pay Magnuson no higher compliment than to say that For Profit is a book I would be proud to have written
Bloomberg Opinion
A historical tour de force
Financial Times
Corporations have a lengthy and valuable history as social institutions . . . The book makes a useful contribution to a fundamental debate