Quote of the day: the purpose of corporations

Mayer bookFrom Prof. Colin Mayer of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, author of the book in the image:

“The corporation is a rent extraction vehicle for the shortest-term shareholders.”

That’s quite a statement, and it comes via Martin Wolf in the Financial Times. The FT article discussing shareholder value is excellent, and right up TJN’s street. It contains introductory gems such as:

“Almost nothing in economics is more important than thinking through how companies should be managed and for what ends. Unfortunately, we have made a mess of this. That mess has a name: it is “shareholder value maximisation”.”

As we have remarked many times before, short-term shareholder maximisation has often been used as a justification for aggressive tax avoidance (which journalists routinely but incorrectly described as ‘perfectly legal’) and many other nefarious acts. We have also demonstrated, among other things, that corporate managers have no fiduciary duties to avoid tax.

But read the whole article: as we said, it’s another excellent piece by the FT’s chief economics correspondent.


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About The Author

Nicholas Shaxson is a journalist and writer on the staff of Tax Justice Network. He is author of the book Poisoned Wells about the oil industry in Africa, published in 2007, and the more recent Treasure Islands: Tax havens and the Men who Stole the World, published by Random House in January 2011. He lives in Berlin
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