COMPANIES are the building blocks of the modern world. America has some 6m of them employing 120m people and controlling $30 trillion-worth of assets. Emerging markets are catching up: the number of Chinese companies increased by 80% in 2004-08. Globally 3m new firms are registered each year.
But are companies so good for the world? Enron and Lehman Brothers were not. Corporate debacles have scorched the global economy: the IMF calculates that the financial crisis produced total bank losses of $2 trillion. They have also led to a collapse of trust in business: a recent survey of trust in the professions found that businessmen and bankers came last, along with politicians.
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