The Corporation’s Place in Society

Gabriel Rauterberg*

The vast majority of economic activity is now organized through corporations. The public corporation is usurping the state’s role as the most important institution of wealthy capitalist societies. Across the developed world, there is increasing convergence on the shareholder-owned corporation as the primary vehicle for creating wealth. Yet nothing like this degree of convergence has occurred in answering the fundamental questions of corporate capitalism: What role do corporations serve? What is the goal of corporate law? What should corporate managers do? Discussion of these questions is as old as the institutions involved.

* Post-Doctoral Research Scholar, Program in the Law & Economics of Capital Markets, Columbia Law School.

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