The business corporation is among the most remarkable of all human innovations. Corporations are warring armies battling for supremacy in markets. The resulting symbiosis between command and competition has proved very fruitful. The unprecedented economic development seen since the middle of the 19th century would have been impossible without the resources and organisational capacities of that great invention — the limited liability joint-stock company. Yet, as Colin Mayer of Oxford university’s Saïd Business School argues in a remarkable and radical new book, all is not well with the corporation. The public at large increasingly views corporations as sociopathic and so as indifferent to everything, other than the share price, and corporate leaders as indifferent to everything, other than personal rewards. Judged by real wages and productivity, their recent economic performance has been mediocre. Furthermore, corporations have been allowed to corrode competition, as Jonathan Tepper ...

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