Saturday, July 26, 2008

The General Good

BoingBoing has a fantastic excerpt of a fantastic article. The article addresses the old saw that
"corporate officers have a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value."
This is a particularly troubling maxim for a person who loves the functionality of economics but hates the way it sees self interest as separate from general interest. Go read at least the excerpt if not the whole thing. It's a very well-reasoned post, and while it does come close to a Godwin's at the very end, we are in interesting times. As an example, telecom immunity and FISA both brought up relevant and valuable analogies to "acting under orders" and "best interest of the company versus best interest of citizens". I think these are times that will call for a rethinking of the purpose of economics, and a rethinking that diverges from "how shall government best affect the economy for the public good" to "how shall companies themselves act in a way that best serves the public good".

I've a hunch that a year down the line I'll be referencing this piece an awful lot.

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