A decade ago, Boston appeared to be emerging as a headquarters city for a large number of world-class enterprises. Notwithstanding the recovery from the early-1990s recession, and a thriving entrepreneurial economy of business acorns, Boston today seems on its way to becoming largely a branch-plant town. None of the 1980s Massachusetts Miracle saplings or the more recent acorns have grown into mighty corporate oaks headquartered here. This article discusses the risks of having our current prosperity increasingly based on branch plants acquired or established by firms centered elsewhere. Its concern is based on the proposition that having big-business corporate headquarters here does matter, not only for longterm economic success and stability, but also for the vitality and funding of our cultural, art, philanthropic, and community service activities.



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