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Making the World Work Better: The Ideas That Shaped a Century and a Company by Jeffrey O’Brien, Steve Hamm, Kevin Maney

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Becoming Global

The idea of a global economy is hardly new—but being global as a business organization has meant different things over the course of the modern era.

For Europe’s empires in the seventeenth century, it meant the establishment of new arms of the state: “corporations” such as the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company carried out their governments’ colonial ambitions. Their employees roamed the world by ship and horseback, importing raw materials to feed their countries’ industries and exporting finished products to their colonies. This work was not simply trade. The great mercantile corporations of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries settled down where they did business and, for a time, governed large swaths ...

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