Ethics & Public Policy Center

U.S. Business Leaders Have Taken a Step to Finally Renew the American Social Compact

Published in The Washington Post on August 20, 2019


The Business Roundtable represents the chief executives of nearly 200 of the nation’s largest businesses, so it matters when it speaks about business management. Its recent statement renouncing the “shareholder value” theory of management is therefore an important step toward renewing the social compact of the United States.

The shareholder value theory of management became all the rage in the 1990s. That theory held that the primary, if not the sole, purpose of the corporation was to return maximum value to its shareholders. Endorsed by the roundtable in 1997 and reaffirmed repeatedly until this week, the theory formed the heart of modern U.S. business management practice.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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