Introduction to the Metaphors of Corporate Law
Daniel J.H. Greenwood
Hofstra University College of Law
Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 2005
Utah Legal Studies Paper No.05-13
Corporate law is dominated by a series of metaphors that present corporations as private, individualized, egalitarian and market-like, hiding their organizational, institutional, political and power distributing aspects. These metaphors - property, contract/market, agency and individuality - drive current interpretations of the law but remain in strong conflict with it, in part because historic corporate law stemmed from explicitly political conceptions. Although the metaphors have taught us to ignore the group and institutional characteristics of corporations, treating them as powerless and passive players in the markets, corporations in fact are powerful governance and economic institutions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: corporate law, political economy, corporate personality, agency, shareholder ownership, nexus of contracts
JEL Classification: B22, K22, I22, P12
Date posted: October 4, 2005
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