Then and Now: Professor Berle and the Unpredictable Shareholder

Then and Now: Professor Berle and the Unpredictable Shareholder

Jennifer Hill

Series number :

Serial Number: 

Date posted :

September 01 2010

Last revised :

September 26 2010
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  • The Modern Corporation and Private Property • 
  • Berle-Dodd debate • 
  • shareholder protection • 
  • shareholder empowerment • 
  • Shareholder primacy • 
  • Corporate governance • 
  • corporate theory • 
  • Enron • 
  • Corporate Scandals • 
  • Global Financial Crisis • 
  • Executive Remuneration

This article is published in a special symposium edition on the work of Adolf Berle, which includes papers from a conference, In Berle’s Footsteps, held in November 2009 to celebrate the launch of the Adolf A. Berle, Jr. Center on Corporations, Law and Society.

Shareholders, and the relationship between shareholders and management, lay at the heart of Professor Berle’s scholarship. The goal of this Article is to compare the image of shareholders emerging from The Modern Corporation and Private Property and the Berle/Dodd debate with a range of contemporary visions of the shareholder that underpin some international regulatory responses to recent financial debacles, from Enron to the current global financial crisis. As the Article discusses, these recent developments in the era of financial crises, including the US shareholder empowerment debate, have prompted a re-evaluation of the traditional image of the shareholder and the role of the shareholder in the modern corporation that emerged in Professor Berle’s work.

Published in

Published in: 
Publication Title: 
Seattle University Law Review
Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 1005-1023, 2010