Matt Yglesias has a long post at Vox about a bill Elizabeth Warren is introducing in the US Senate today: the Accountable Capitalism Act. We talked about it briefly in the morning thread, but it deserves its own post, IMO.
Basically, the bill seeks to overturn large corporations’ ($1B+) exclusive focus on generating shareholder value and make them accountable to other stakeholders, including workers and the communities in which they operate. From the Vox article:
Warren wants to eliminate the huge financial incentives that entice CEOs to flush cash out to shareholders rather than reinvest in businesses. She wants to curb corporations’ political activities. And for the biggest corporations, she’s proposing a dramatic step that would ensure workers and not just shareholders get a voice on big strategic decisions.
Warren hopes this will spur a return to greater corporate responsibility, and bring back some other aspects of the more egalitarian era of American capitalism post-World War II — more business investment, more meaningful career ladders for workers, more financial stability, and higher pay…
The conceit tying together Warren’s ideas is that if corporations are going to have the legal rights of persons, they should be expected to act like decent citizens who uphold their fair share of the social contract and not act like sociopaths whose sole obligation is profitability — as is currently conventional in American business thinking.
The article has a lot more details about the plan and the history behind it. Warren published an op-ed in the WSJ about the bill yesterday, but it’s behind their paywall.
Now, there are potted zinnias that are more conversant in economics than I am, but this sounds like a damn good idea to me. It has no chance of passing in the circle of hell that is the Trump administration and GOP-controlled US Congress, but maybe it has potential as an idea Democrats could get behind in the midterms and 2020.
What do y’all think?