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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

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Date posted: October 4, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Greenwood, Daniel J.H., Introduction to the Metaphors of Corporate Law. Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 2005; Utah Legal Studies Paper No.05-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=797564

Contact Information

Daniel J.H. Greenwood (Contact Author)
Hofstra University College of Law ( email )
121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States
516-463-7013 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://law.hofstra.edu/greenwood

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