CONTROL OF BUSINESS
Historical Perspective on Public control of Business
GOVERNMENT ROLE IN BUSINESS:
Most businesses need to register with a state government to operate. The government’s role in business includes protecting the consumer or customer. When a vendor fails to honor the guarantee, the purchaser has recourse in the law. Likewise, when a product causes harm to an individual, the courts may hold the vendor or manufacturer responsible. Labeling is another requirement the government imposes on marketers. Many foods, for example, must display nutritional content on the packaging. The U.S. has been making advances in consumer rights for decades. However, the consumer movement still needs considerable development to protect the public. Many state and federal agencies work to protect the rights of employees. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration, for example, is an agency under the Department of Labor. Its mission is to ensure a safe and healthful work environment. The Equal Opportunity Commission protects employees from discrimination. When a marketing transaction impacts a third party--others besides the marketer and purchaser--the effect is called an “externality.” The third party is often the environment. Thus, it is the government's role to regulate industry and thereby protect the public from environmental externalities. Whether the government is effective in this role is a matter of much discussion. The Gulf oil spill of 2010 has been cited as evidence of lax oversight. Governments at all levels tax businesses, and the resulting revenue is an important part of government budgets. Some revenue is taxed at the corporate level, then taxed as personal income when distributed as dividends. This is in no way inappropriate, since it balances the tax burden between the company and individual and allows the government to tax more equitably. Government mandates that companies make financial information public, thereby protecting the rights of...
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