Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Two decades ago, Margaret Blair and I edited a book focused on governance of modern corporations. At the time it was evident that the dominant paradigm governing corporate governance and behavior centered on maximizing shareholder value. This was a shift in practice that began in the 1980s and was endorsed in 1997 by the Business Roundtable, when it recanted on its 1990 statement that supported a broader stakeholder view of corporate responsibilities.

The effects of the shift from a stakeholder to a shareholder-maximizing set of practices have been devastating for American workers and the overall economy. It reinforced and accelerated managerial efforts to avoid unions and the break from norms and patterns of wage determination that had been established through collective bargaining.