This Article provides a contemporary theoretical framework for Berle’s insight as a basis for considering its legal and ethical implications for corporate governance. Part II attempts to unpack contemporary understandings of spirit in order to provide a helpful working definition. Part III considers the origins and essential traits of the modern business corporation in the United States. The question posed by Berle—whether corporations can or ought to have a sort of moral orientation—is discussed in Part IV, while Part V ponders potential policy shifts that might tilt the orientation of the “spirit of the corporation” toward the common good. Part VI considers the limits of legal reform and the role of individuals and subgroups in changing corporate paradigms.
Russell Powell, Spirit of the Corporation, 45 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 241 (2021).