Critical Thinking Questions for the article:“The historical role of the corporation in society”

These questions are meant to check your understanding of the text and to motivate you to read the text carefully.

Part 2.

Question 1.
After reading the part about guilds in the Middle Ages, what is your opinion about the guilds? More specifically, were they a good thing? Why is Adam Smith unsympathetic to these guild institutions?

Question 2.
Explain how early corporations differ from contemporary corporations. (You don’t have to list the “attributes” of modern corporations. Say what is, according to the article, that one fundamental difference between the corporations say before the 19th century and what we have today.)

Question 3.
How did the idea of social purpose of the early companies change? Why did the early companies have social purpose in the first place?

Question 4.

Consider this quote on page 21 (37): “The corporation’s economic performance is no longer measured in jobs created, but in financial wealth generated for shareholders.”

Assuming that this is true, is this trend ethically problematic? Explain your thinking.

Question 5.
What are the problems with giant corporations (discussed in the article, starting on page 19)?

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