Blog Archives

Flotsam and jetsam (Labor Day edition)

To celebrate Labor Day, here are some of the more interesting recent blog posts from around the internet on the theme of work and labor.

Is there such a thing as corporate action?

In one of the lectures today, the speaker argued that there is not such thing as corporate action. An “act” is something that can only be done by individual actors. So, when we say something like “The people elected Obama,” we actually mean “A large number of individual actors chose to vote for Obama.” The former phrase is merely a metaphorical way of speaking because corporate entities like “the people” don’t “act” in any meaningful sense.

What do you think? Is a statement like “Israel sinned” merely a metaphorical way of saying “A bunch of Israelites sinned.” Or, can we legitimately talk about the action of corporate entities?

On a side note, there was a fascinating rhetorical shift in the latter part of the lecture. Despite this critique of corporate action, the lecturer routinely referred to the action of “the market.” He apparently thinks very highly of “the market” and its ability to respond to issues of supply/demand, distribution, and access among other things. Oddly, he didn’t seem to notice that he was attributing significant action to a corporate entity. And, this is a place where I thought more of an emphasis on individual actors, along with their limited knowledge and sinful tendencies, could have contributed to a more realistic and less optimistic view of market forces.