The American Corporation Today

By Carl Kaysen | Go to book overview

exchange are farsighted and reflect the relevant hazards in terms of the exchange? (A better price (p+̂ ≪ p+̄) will be offered if the hazards (k ≫ 0) are mitigated by cost-effective contractual safeguards (s ≫ 0).)


Notes
1.
See Wilson contribution to this volume, The Corporation as a Political Actor (Chapter 13).
2.
The main reason that we put so much stock in efficiency is that remediable inefficiency invites its own demise. Not only does efficiency operate as a carrot (immediate benefits accrue to those who realize private efficiency gains), but efficiency is a stick to which rivals are responsive. In the long run, the fitter (to be distinguished from the fittest) have better survival prospects ( Simon 1983, p. 69).
3.
Note in this connection that we concur with Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen that "the purpose of science in general is not prediction, but knowledge for its own sake" ( 1971, p. 37). Because, however, plausible explanations and ex post rationalizations in the social sciences are often easy to come by, Georgescu-Roegen goes on to insist that prediction is "the touchstone of scientific knowledge" ( 1971, p. 37). Prediction thus plays a vital role in helping to sort the wheat from the chaff.
4.
Discussions with officials in the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice convince me that the paper Economies as an Antitrust Defense ( Williamson 1968), which displayed the large dead-weight losses that attended the prevailing inhospitality view of mergers, had a salutary effect on turning that policy around. (The basic model on which the paper was grounded was first set out in a memorandum to the then assistant attorney general and his deputy, Donald Turner and Edwin Zimmerman, respectively.)
5.
The Panglossian form of the remediableness standard is this: All that is is efficient.
6.
The unraveling issue is discussed by David Kreps ( 1990); the valuation problems in any firm, partnership included, are especially severe as assets become highly specific and firms take on large size ( Williamson 1976). In the degree, therefore, to which large size and specific assets yield productivity gains, creating an organizational form that lives in perpetuity has advantages.
7.
Our interpretation of these three conditions appeals to comparative analysis of a contractual kind. Harold Demsetz ( 1967) has advanced a property rights interpretation of the modern corporation.
8.
Of course, very large and once-successful firms (such as General Motors and IBM in the 1980s) may be able to defer the reckoning for very long periods of time. Caution in authorizing growth -- because there may be deferred costs -- is simply part of an intelligent tradeoff. To be successful at one period of time (e.g., when computing is done on mainframes, customers are unfamiliar with their needs, and

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The American Corporation Today
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Contributors ix
  • 1 - Introduction and Overview 3
  • Appendix 20
  • 2 - The Rise and Transformation of the American Corporation 28
  • Notes 67
  • 3 - How American is the American Corporation? 74
  • Notes 97
  • 4 from Antitrust to Corporation Governance? the Corporation and the Law: 1959-1994 102
  • Notes 122
  • 5 - Financing the American Corporation: the Changing Menu of Financial Relationships 128
  • References 178
  • 6 - The U.S. Corporation and Technical Progress 187
  • References 231
  • 7 - The American Corporation as an Employer: Past, Present, and Future Possibilities 242
  • References 267
  • 8 - The Corporation Faces Issues of Race and Gender 269
  • Notes 290
  • 9 - Corporate Education and Training 292
  • References 319
  • 10 - The Modern Corporation as an Efficiency Instrument: the Comparative Contracting Perspective 327
  • Notes 354
  • Notes 356
  • 11 - The Corporation as a Dispenser of Welfare and Security 360
  • Notes 379
  • References 380
  • 12 - Almost Everywhere: Surging Inequality and Falling Real Wages 383
  • Notes 409
  • 13 - The Corporation as a Political Actor 413
  • Notes 433
  • 14 - Architecture and the Business Corporation 436
  • Notes 470
  • Index 487
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