Translations of this material:
- into Russian: Большой бизнес. Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by anarchofront 06.07.2011
Big Business is a term used to describe large corporations, in either an individual or collective sense. The term first came into use in a symbolic sense subsequent to the American Civil War, particularly after 1880, in connection with the combination movement that began in American business at that time. Organizations that fall into the category of "big business" include ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, Google, Microsoft, General Electric, General Motors, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
History, Post World Wars
The relatively stable period of rebuilding after World War II led to new technologies (some of which were spin-offs from the war years) and new businesses.
The new technology of computers spread worldwide in the post war years. Businesses built around computer technology include: IBM, Microsoft, Apple Inc. and Intel.
Miniaturization and integrated circuits, together with an expansion of radio and television technologies, provided fertile ground for business development. Electronics businesses include JVC, Sony (Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita), and Texas Instruments (Cecil H. Green, J. Erik Jonsson, Eugene McDermott, and Patrick E. Haggerty).
Nuclear power was added to fossil fuel as the main sources of energy.
Criticism of big business
The social consequences of the concentration of economic power in the hands of those persons controlling "Big Business" has been a constant concern both of economists and of politicians since the end of the 19th century. Various attempts have been made to investigate the effects of "bigness" upon labor, consumers and investors, as well as upon prices and competition. "Big Business" has been accused of a wide variety of misdeeds that range from the exploitation of the working class to the corruption of politicians and the fomenting of war.
Influence over government
Corporate concentration can lead to influence over government in areas such as tax policy, trade policy, environmental policy, foreign policy, and labour policy through lobbying. In 2005 the majority of Americans believed that big business has "too much power in Washington".
Human rights and working conditions
German industry collaborated with their Nazi government during the Third Reich, thus exploiting the working class in the interest of productivity and efficiency. 
Hitler's order offered German capitalists, badly hit by the great recession, the prospects of huge profits. German workers did, admittedly, enjoy full employment, but, as William Schirer has said, this was at the cost of being reduced to serfdom and poverty wages. It was not long before these conditions became the lot of the whole of occupied Europe.
* Big Chocolate
* Big government
* Big Oil
* Big science
* Big Tobacco
* Small business
This article is originally based on material from Dictionary of American History by James Truslow Adams, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940
1. Timothy P. Carney (2006-07-21), Big Business and Big Government
2. Frederic F Clairmont (January 1998), "Volkswagen's history of forced labour", Le Monde
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