March 06, 2005
Corporate Odds & Ends: Final Remarks
Posted by David Skeel

Absent an eleventh hour brainstorm, this will be the last post of my two week stint as a guest blogger.  Thanks so much, Gordon and Christine-- it's a wonderful blog and it's been a treat to have such a great platform for musing.  Thanks too to the folks who've emailed me comments and thoughts-- most of them far better than mine.

In the category of best laid plans for the two weeks, I planned to watch the dvd of "The Corporation" and include a few thoughts.  It's by my side, and I may start watching tonight, but I still haven't sat down to tune in.  One of the issues it raises (or so the reviews would suggest) is whether and to what extent corporations have personality (by all accounts, the film answers this yes, and suggests the personality is pathological).  This is an old question, but one on which there's still more to be said.  My colleague Ed Rock has an interesting new draft article that provides a nonmetaphysical account of corporate personality, focusing on the mechanisms in the corporation that ensure firms provide a coherent set of policies through time (and in doing so, avoid a cycling-like problem known as a "discursive dilemma").  The theory is preliminary, but may have interesting implications for issues such as corporate criminal liability.

The Ebbers trial: alas, we didn't get an outcome on during my two weeks.  I can't resist leaving with a prediction for this very difficult to predict trial.  My prediction is that Ebbers will be found guilty of  at least one or two of the counts (tho probably far less than all nine).  It's hard to imagine the jury will buy his argument that he didn't know what was going on-- tho the absence of much of a smoking gun makes it an interesting call.  (For those who haven't been reading the WSJ coverage by Shawn Young, Almar Latour and others, it's worth tuning in this week; it's been wonderfully insightful and informative).

There also are several interesting pieces in the NY Times today on Martha Stewart's re-emergence-- one by Chuck Colson and one by Maureen Dowd.  It hard to imagine what the government thinks it got for its money in that prosecution.

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