All have a provision similar to that of Maine's section 716: “The directors and officers of a corporation shall exercise their powers and discharge their duties with a view to the interest of the corporation and of the shareholders.”
These laws make it the legal duty of corporate directors and executives to maximize profits for shareholders.
Robert Hinkley would add a simple amendment: “… but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, the public safety, the communities in which the corporation operates, or the dignity of employees.”
Interesting concept. The customers of a public company are not the ones that buy their product. No, the true customers are the shareholders, and if the shareholders feel the public company they hold stock in is not fullfilling their fudicial duties to increase shareholder value, then that public corporation can face a series of very expensive lawsuits against it.
This, plus numerous other articles I've read over the past few weeks makes me think that a large corporate backlash (on a global scale) is forming. Will anything happen of it? I don't know—the Luddites didn't stop the Industrial Revolution, and the Inquisition certainly didn't stop the powershift away from the Catholic Church.
I do know that we are still in the process of a major power shift from nationalism to corporatism and that it won't be over any time soon (the shift from religious to nationalism took several centuries to resolve. The beginnings of the corporate shift didn't start until the religious to nationalism shift was well underway (I'm placing the start of the corporatism shift around the 1600s with the formation of the British East India Company) so I don't expect to see the next shift (away from corporatism) any time soon.
One thing to look out for though: who builds the tallest buildings?
WASHINGTON, DC—In a closely watched proceeding, DC District Court Judge Natalia Wimbley ruled Friday in favor of claims by a coalition of media companies to rights to the 'attention' of consumers. “This ruling is crucial to the continued vitality of American art and culture,” explains RIAA President-elect Richard Mound. “Recognition of attention rights goes a long way to guaranteeing that artists and musicians will have access to sustainable revenue streams.”
Not really; this is a future prediction of what may come to pass (the newsitem is dated October 8, 2006). Scarily enough, it seems reasonable, given recent trends.