SYMPOSIUM: WOMEN AND THE "NEW" CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: LIKE A FISH NEEDS A BICYCLE: PUBLIC CORPORATIONS AND THEIR SHAREHOLDERS Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2006 University of Maryland School of Law
Maryland Law Review

SYMPOSIUM: WOMEN AND THE "NEW" CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: LIKE A FISH NEEDS A BICYCLE: PUBLIC CORPORATIONS AND THEIR SHAREHOLDERS

2006

65 Md. L. Rev. 538

Author

Theresa A. Gabaldon*

Excerpt



Introduction

There is, perhaps, only one thing left to say on the relationship of publicly held corporations and their shareholders, and it has something to do with fish and bicycles. 1 "Ownership" of the corporation, already debunked by the law and economics movement of the 1980s 2 and criticized by the progressive law scholars of the 1990s, 3 simply is a guiding myth used to give order to large-scale enterprises based on a perceived analogy to closely held businesses. Every function performed by the shareholders of a publicly held corporation could be performed by some other actor in the corporate scenario; every role played by the public shareholder could be reallocated and the shareholder himself or herself would never be missed, except as a symbol of something that perhaps might have been, but never was.

This does not mean that the corporate wheel is on the verge of being reinvented. No sane commentator would believe that the public will could be mustered to revise every corporate charter or to restructure the capital markets, even though actual changes in operation might be slight. Still, it is useful to recognize the mythic power of current corporate structuring, anticipating manipulation of its parameters to serve specific purposes in particular contexts as opportunities arise.

This Article is intended to contribute to the longstanding debate over shareholder primacy - the argument about whether corporate directors should or should not be expected primarily to strive to enhance the profitability of public corporations for ...
 
 
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