Corporate Power, American Democracy, and the Automobile Industry

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This book offers a critical history of government policy toward the US automobile industry in order to assess the impact of the large corporation on American democracy. It offers the first book-length treatment of the power of the nation's largest industry. Drawing together the main policy issues affecting the automobile industry over the past forty years - occupant safety, emissions, fuel economy and trade - the work examines how the industry established its hegemony over the public perception of vehicle safety to inhibit federal regulation and the battle for federal regulation which succeeded in toppling this hegemony in 1966; the subsequent efforts to include pollution emissions and fuel economy under federal mandates in the 1970s; the industry's resurgence of influence in the 1980s; and the mixed pattern of influence in the 1990s. The analysis seeks to uncover factors that enhance corporate political influence, and those that constrain corporate power, allowing for public interest forces to be successful.