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Trying to save the world with company law? Some problems

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JournalLegal Studies
DateAccepted/In press - 12 Jan 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2016
DatePublished (current) - Sep 2016
Issue number3
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)513-534
Early online date18/04/16
Original languageEnglish


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.

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© 2016 The Society of Legal Scholars. Embargo period: 24 months. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

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