The relationship between the public and private spheres has raised questions of legitimacy in America. The origins of this dilemma and of the adversarial relationship between business and government lie in the unusual institutional makeup of American society. Because big business came earlier in America than did big government, it progressed faster here than in other countries, but at the same time was assumed to be less legitimate. This historical background casts modern proposals for deregulation, reprivatization, and other shifts of authority from the public to the private spheres in a different light, and suggests a series of pillars helpful to achieving legitimacy in the mixed economy of the 1980s.
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