Discipline: Economics, Political Science
Countervailing power is the theory of political modification of markets, formulated by American economist JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH (1908- ).
In the classic liberal economy, goods and services are provided and prices set by free bargaining.
Modern economies give massive powers to large business corporations to bias this process, and there arise 'countervailing' powers in the form of trade unions, citizens' organizations and so on, to offset business's excessive advantage.
Also see: monopolistic competition
J K Galbraith, The Anatomy of Power (London, 1984)