Financialisation and Maximising Shareholder Value: The Intensification of Accumulation and Inequality
These financial pressures are translated into the operations of corporations through the enveloping regime of maximizing shareholder value as the primary objective. Agency theory has provided the rationale for this project, prioritizing shareholders above all other participants in the corporation. This article seeks to discover the origins of the financialization of corporations in the early development of agency theory and shareholder value in Anglo-American corporations. The enduring myths of shareholder primacy and maximising shareholder value are examined. The paper concludes with a consideration of how the reform of corporate law might serve to strengthen the recognition and pursuit of the wider purposes of corporations and longer term investment horizons.