Here are links to articles about Illinois businesses and industries, about the people who run and regulate them, about the relationship between business and labor, about the economic aspects of production, pollution, and regulation, about the business aspects of broader topics from energy and agriculture to urban development and government regulation, and commentaries and reviews of books about the same as they affected mainly Springfield and Chicago.
I worked for more than thirty years as a contributing editor to the fine monthly magazine published by The Conference Board, the New York-based information organization that was an intellectual servant to the nation’s Fortune 100 companies. I did a little of this for them and a little of that, but mainly I supplied feature stories (usually covers) in which I tried to elucidate the mysteries of the world to the men and (a few) women who ran our nation's biggest companies.
For all that, I never considered myself a business reporter. Only a series of editors at the Conference Board—Lewis Bergman, Howard Muson, Al Vogl, and Matthew Budman—who took the wide view of their magazine’s responsibilities to its readers (and to its patron organization) would have allowed me onto their pages. Only two of those many piece appears in this archives, none of the rest of them having an Illinois focus. The work did however give me a grounding in business issues.
During my Chicago years I wrote regularly for a similar magazine, a monthly titled Chicago Enterprise, which was published by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, another, albeit local, big-company organization. (See Publications for more about Chicago Enterprise.) I again wrote less about businesses and businesspeople than I did about the conditions—economic, social, and geographical—that affected business, this time in and around Chicago. Several of those pieces appear here.
Of course, business intrudes on the life of the commonwealth in a hundred ways, and while I seldom wrote about business per se for my other publications, business was an aspect of a great many Illinois topics, and thus of the articles listed below.
See also "Public enterprise: Development and relocation incentives" on the Politics & government page.
Click on the title for the full article.
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A feature article about one of Illinois labor's lost causes
Illinois Issues April 1980
Private vs. public in the transportation marketplace
Illinois Issues October 1981
Chicago’s steel-making Finkls
Family Business Spring 1993
On converting Illinois corn to motor fuel
Illinois Issues January 1981
A “typical” family farmer of central Illinois in the 1970s
Across the Board September 1978
Designing buildings for fun and not much profit
Crain's Chicago Business June 14, 1993
Applauding the 1990s restoration of Chicago’s Rookery building
Crain’s Chicago Business August 3, 1992
Sears, Roebuck, and Co.
Small-town America's retailer goes home again
Chicago Times September/October 1989
A history of Sears, Roebuck as big as a catalog
Across the Board December 1987
Local Boys Make Good
Why Sears became America’s corner store
Reader November 13, 1987
The State of Illinois makes a bad bet on Sears
"Dyspepsiana" Illinois Times January 26, 2012
Paying Sears to move is a bad deal for Illinois
“Prejudices” Illinois Times August 17, 1989
A lengthy reconsideration of the man and his plan
Reader June 18, 1993
How—gasp!—development might save Chicago's lakefront
Chicago Enterprise March 1990
On the fraud of corn-based motor fuels
Illinois Issues October 2007
Field’s flagship store unveils a new old feature
Crain’s Chicago Business August 5, 1991
The baleful effects of federal ag subsidies
Illinois Issues November 2001
Chicago's economic and environmental past, synthesized
Illinois Times December 11, 1991
The iconography of building decoration explained, sort of
Crain's Chicago Business April 5, 1993
Designing a better Illinois economy
"Prejudices" Illinois Times October 8, 1992
Great buildings need great developers
Chicago Enterprise November 1992
A review of Cronon’s Nature's Metropolis
Chicago Enterprise October 1991
How to heal a scarred landscape
Illinois Issues December 1984
Can Chicago become a global city—again?
Illinois Issues February 1997
How state government devours the capital city
"Prejudices" Illinois Times February 22, 1980
Science for public interest, private profit
“Prejudices” Illinois Times May 19, 1983
Marshal Field’s fading glory
“Prejudices” Illinois Times December 7, 1990
Planting a global seed corn business
“Prejudices” Illinois Times June 14, 1990
Trying to make a good country weekly very good
Illinois Times August 12, 1977
Economic colonization and the loss of the local
“Prejudices” Illinois Times July 13, 1979
It's every town for itself in this fight
“Politics & Policy” Chicago Enterprise June 1991
Chicago merges tourism with economic development
Chicago Enterprise May 1990
Of the developers, by the developers, and for the developers
“Prejudices” Illinois Times January 11, 1980
The interests of a City and a city often are at odds
“Prejudices” Illinois Times February 25, 1977
Bare-knuckled capitalism on LaSalle Street
Reader July 5, 1985
Too much of a good thing on Chicago's Miracle Mile
Reader September 27, 1991
Pennies and Nickels
ADM is asking a broke Illinois for money
"Dyspepsiana" Illinois Times October 10, 2013
Local entrepreneurs bite the hand that feeds them
"Dyspepsiana" Illinois Times December 26, 2013
Tinkerers make Illinois safe for farming
See Illinois (unpublished) 2002
The economics of risk
Illinois Issues June [?] 1986
A history of coal mining in Sangamon County
Sangamon County Historical Society 1975
What are those things in the cornfields?
See Illinois (unpublished) 2006
Business in Chicagoland
See Illinois (unpublished) 2008
Synfuels from Coal
What went wrong?
Illinois Issues April 1982
Click on the title for the full article.
To return to this page from the article, click on
your browser's back button or on "Business"
in the topics menu