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date: 18 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the corporation as a time machine, providing intergenerational equity, and intergenerational efficiency. That is, the corporation can be understood as a legal innovation that historically has functioned as a means of transferring wealth forward and sometimes backward through time, for the benefit of present and future generations. In this fashion the board-controlled corporation promotes both intergenerational equity and intergenerational efficiency. Logic and evidence each suggest, however, that the modern embrace of “shareholder value” as the only corporate objective and “shareholder democracy” as the ideal of corporate governance is damaging the corporate form’s ability to serve this economically and ethically important function.

Keywords: corporation, intergenerational equity, efficiency, legal innovation, shareholder value

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