Wealth Creation and Wealth Sharing: A Colloquium on Corporate Governance and Investments in Human Capital

Brookings Institution Press
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Corporations are the productive engine of market economies. Yet the rules by which the wealth generated by corporations gets divided between the providers of financial capital and the providers of human capital are poorly understood.

In this colloquium, a group of economists, social scientists, lawyers, labor relations specialists, business executives, and executives of financial institutions debate questions about the allocation of risks, returns, and rights in corporations that were raised in Margaret Blair's prior book, Ownership and Control: Rethinking Corporate Governance for the Twenty-First Century (Brookings, 1995).

In addition to Margaret Blair, participants include Bernard Aidinoff, Amatai Etzioni, Ronald Gilson, Martin Ginsburg, Mark Goyder, Oliver Hart, Bruce Householder, Tony Jackson, Bevis Longstreth, Jonathan Low, Bruce MacLaury, Ira Millstein, Nell Minow, Charles Rossotti, Charles Schultze, Kenneth West, and Sidney Winter. Roswell Perkins, of the New York law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, served as moderator.

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About the author

Margaret M. Blair is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and author of Ownership and Control: Rethinking Corporate Governance for the Twenty-first Century (Brookings, 1995).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Dec 1, 2010
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Pages
100
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ISBN
9780815719564
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Corporate Finance / General
Business & Economics / Corporate Governance
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Most scholarship on corporate governance in the last two decades has focused on the relationships between shareholders and managers or directors. Neglected in this vast literature is the role of employees in corporate governance. Yet "human capital," embodied in the employees, is rapidly becoming the most important source of value for corporations, and outside the United States, employees often have a significant formal role in corporate governance. This volume turns the spotlight on the neglected role of employees by analyzing many of the formal and informal ways that employees are actually involved in the governance of corporations, in U.S. firms and in large corporations in Germany and Japan. Examining laws and contexts, the essays focus on the framework for understanding employees' role in the firm and the implications for corporate governance. They explore how and why the special legal institutions in German and Japanese firms by which employees are formally involved in corporate governance came into being, and the impact these institutions have on firms and on their ability to compete. They also consider theoretical and empirical questions about employee share ownership. The result of a conference at Columbia University, the volume includes essays by Theodor Baums, Margaret M. Blair, David Charny, Greg Dow, Bernd Frick, Ronald J. Gilson, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Nobuhiro Hiwatari, Katharina Pistor, Louis Putterman, Edward B. Rock, Mark J. Roe, and Michael L. Wachter. Margaret M. Blair is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and author of Ownership and Control: Rethinking Corporate Governance for the Twenty-first Century (Brookings, 1995). Mark J. Roe, professor of business regulation and director of the Sloan Project on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School, is the author of Strong Managers, Weak Owners: The Political Roots of American Corporate Finance (Princeton, 1996).
The Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes.

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.
 
Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.”
 
For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don’t know, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, “On Robustness and Fragility,” which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.
 
Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. The Black Swan is a landmark book—itself a black swan.
 
Praise for Nassim Nicholas Taleb
 
“The most prophetic voice of all.”—GQ
 
Praise for The Black Swan
 
“[A book] that altered modern thinking.”—The Times (London)
 
“A masterpiece.”—Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, author of The Long Tail
 
“Idiosyncratically brilliant.”—Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times
 
“The Black Swan changed my view of how the world works.”—Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate
 
“[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne. . . . We eagerly romp with him through the follies of confirmation bias [and] narrative fallacy.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
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“Engaging . . . The Black Swan has appealing cheek and admirable ambition.”—The New York Times Book Review
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