Uncommercial Capitalism

“When your enemies are making mistakes, don’t interrupt them”.

Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) – Money Ball


In capitalism, there is no "right" way to compete.  All there are is myths.  But some myths are more commercial, competitive and capitalist than others.   

In "The Shareholder Value Myth" Lynn Stout systematically deconstructs the idea that corporations are required to maximize shareholder value.  Concluding that the philosophy is a "defunct economists idea".

She's probably right.  But, is she asking the right question? 

If there is no right way to compete, the better question is whether Shareholder Primacy and the Corporate Governance paradigm is commercial:

  • What benefit does a Corporation receive that justifies the level of Shareholder influence over the Boardroom?
  • Why prioritize the interests of Shareholders above more strategic Trading Partners?
  • How does monitoring management on behalf of shareholders create Value?
  • How does it help the Corporation if is required to explain how its practices differ from Best Practice?
  • Why are Directors encouraged to think critically within the Boardroom but required to accept Best Practice uncritically?
  • Why are Boards reduced to competing on talent alone?
  • How well do shareholders run their businesses?
  • Do Shareholders have the commercial acumen to have a say on pay?

Just remember Billy Beane.  Keep the questions to yourself and try not to interupt anyone that argues that Corporate Governance is the only game in town.  That's old fashioned commercial capitalism.




When Do We Start Talking About Promises?

Directorship Vs Governance