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What is the purpose of the corporation? For nearly forty years, the consensus among Anglo-American economists and lawyers was that corporations exist to maximize financial returns to their shareholders. By implication, the purpose of the state was conceived in negative terms—states should minimize their interference in the internal affairs of corporations for risk of destroying financial value. This view has begun to unravel as security officials have entered the fray, envisioning the corporation as a potent source of state power. While their account of corporate purpose finds limited support in legal and economic theory it has influenced a rapidly growing body of policy and regulation. Because these rival images of the corporation are difficult to reconcile, geostrategic competitors have begun to decouple from one another. This paper identifies emerging dynamics in the relations between firms and states in the era after globalization.More information