Trying to save the world with company law? Some problems

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This paper aims to unravel two connected errors in the current critical position on companies. Since the financial crisis there have been a growing number of voices in the academic community raised against the shareholder value driven corporate sector. The often conservative and highly doctrinal voices of English company lawyers have become in parts more radicalised and have found common research ground with varied academic disciplines and with company lawyers in other jurisdictions more accustomed to critical approaches. New ideas have been forged, old ideas have been rediscovered and re-examined. In the emerging networks, the neoliberal domination of the study of companies is being substantially challenged. As exciting as this is, I am concerned that critical scholars have cohered around a core claim about company law which is erroneous. Furthermore, they have largely assumed that the current economy can sustain a social agenda as well as creating profit. This, I argue, hugely underestimates entrenched problems in the economy. In unravelling these issues my aim is to re-orientate challenges to shareholder primacy and to the claims of capital more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-534
Number of pages22
JournalLegal Studies
Issue number3
Early online date18 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016

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