Shareholders\’ rights to do what they want with their shares to maximise their immediate value is more stark than anywhere else and directors\’ responsibilities are only to serve the interests of these madly unconstrained shareholders.
Well, yes, the shares, the company, they are their property, after all. As long as you\’re not actively damaging another person (not damaging their right to enjoy or deploy their own property and yes, this does not include forcing someone else into bankruptcy by being better at doing something) then you do have a right to do as you wish with your property.
There has been too little attempt to think through what the constitution and process of ownership might be that would create great owners, whether in the public or private sector, or among the many other forms of ownership, ranging from partnership to co-operatives.
Essentially what Willy Hutton wants to do is remove those ownership rights from the owners and vest them in the wider community of stakeholders and even the general public interest. Guided, of course, by the Great and the Good\’s determination of what is that wider public interest: you know by Will Hutton and mates.
Now maybe this would be a better world and maybe it wouldn\’t: but it would certainly be a very different one. For what is the mechanism we use to resolve competing claims? Yes, it\’s politics. Will wants to move the disposition of private property from being something that is decided privately, by the private owners, into the political realm.
It might be socialism light, but it\’s still socialism.