“Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA” tells the story of the political mobilization of American business in the 1970s and 1980s.

The book traces the rise and efforts to unify the business community and promote a fiscally conservative, antiregulatory, and market-oriented policy agenda to Congress and the country at large. Arguing that business’s political involvement was historically distinctive during this period, the book engagingly illustrates the changing power and goals of America’s top corporate leaders.
Examining the rise of the Business Roundtable and the revitalization of older business associations such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Benjamin C. Waterhouse (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) takes readers inside the mind-set of the powerful CEOs who responded to the crises of inflation, recession, and declining industrial productivity by organizing an effective and disciplined lobbying force. By the mid-1970s, that coalition transformed the economic power of the capitalist class into a broad-reaching political movement with real policy consequences. Ironically, the cohesion that characterized organized business failed to survive the ascent of conservative politics during the 1980s, and many of the coalition’s top goals on regulatory and fiscal policies remained unfulfilled. The industrial CEOs who fancied themselves the “voice of business” found themselves one voice among many vying for influence in an increasingly turbulent and unsettled economic landscape.
Placing the politics of business in the context of a rapidly shifting economic and cultural landscape between the late 1960s and the early 1990s, the book tells the story of how businesspeople got themselves mobilized, what their mobilization created, how economic and political powers interact in the American democratic system

To the book (open access to the Introduction chapter)

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