Part I of this Article analyzes some of the contemporary critiques of, and debates around, shareholder value in order to illustrate why many of these contestations demonstrate underlying gaps or problematic assertions in the history and politics of shareholder value, especially if they are delimited by the narrow legal frames and neoliberal assumptions of corporations. It also provides the context necessary to explicate and ground why shareholder primacy and ownership assumptions are historically and legally flawed, and how financial values and assumptions continue to be championed (and financial power elided), despite the recent implosions of shareholder value. Part II expands upon several leading scholars’ work in showing the paradoxical and ahistorical nature of the shareholder ownership assumption and the conflation of primary and secondary financial markets. Throughout, this Article attempts to differentiate and disentangle multiple problems with the shareholder value interpretation by emphasizing Wall Street’s undue influence, the myth and ideology of shareholder value primacy, and the intersections between them.
Karen Ho, In the Name of Shareholder Value: Origin Myths of Corporations and Their Ongoing Implications, 43 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 609 (2020).