Monday, August 13, 2012

The Pendulum

Most of philosophy and economic "doctrine" is hopelessly apologetic, and the popularity of terms like "shareholder value" dissected and debated with zeal from proponents of both sides of the debate.  Shareholder value is still the accepted format for evaluating the management of public companies, and there are millions of words written to justify corporate take-overs and showering C-level executives with stock options.

More interesting to me is how necessity has caused apologists from the "shareholder value is not the only metric of value for the firm" camp to be taken much more seriously.  Bad economic times swings the pendulum and the apologists fill the demand for more "traditional" notions of company management.

What is not usually discussed by those same proponents, however, is the unhelpful fact that in such environments, firms that scale well with political connections tend to (putting it mildly) "outperform" other firms.

Do we need incentive structures for the management of public companies to go even further in that direction?

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