Is the US No Place to Do Business?

Clarice Feldman
Samizdata makes the not unreasonable case that the penchant for criminalizing business decisions is making the US an unfavorable venue for publicly held companies:
Conrad Black has been convicted of some of the charges that were directed against him.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case (my own view is that the whole case was bullshit and the jury convicted him because of envy of his 'lavish lifestyle') it underscores the old point that being a director of corporation is a very dangerous thing to be in the United States. Far more managers go to jail in the United States than in any other Western country (even as a percentage of the total).

Perhaps the first Henry Ford had it right. After losing some civil cases against him by minority shareholders, he bought them out - every one of them. Only if owned 100% of the company could he feel secure against someone saying he was not doing right by the shareholders.

As for the other shareholders, the campaign against Lord Black has cost them vastly more than his pay and perks ever did. Too late perhaps some of them now understand that he was the company and, without him, it was nothing.

All the above should not be held to mean that I now accept Lord Black's opinions. For example, I still do not agree with his opinion that FDR was a moderate man or a good President. However, it is possible that Sir Conrad may now revise his opinion of the person who did more than anyone else in the 20th century to help create the vastly powerful (almost arbitrary) American government that was directed against him.
Well, maybe the convictions will be overturned as they were in the Arthur Anderson case. Of course, that came too late to save the company and anything that happens here will not save the greedy stockholders whose assets are being depleted at a rapid clip and not by Conrad Black.

hat tip: :PUK
Samizdata makes the not unreasonable case that the penchant for criminalizing business decisions is making the US an unfavorable venue for publicly held companies:
Conrad Black has been convicted of some of the charges that were directed against him.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case (my own view is that the whole case was bullshit and the jury convicted him because of envy of his 'lavish lifestyle') it underscores the old point that being a director of corporation is a very dangerous thing to be in the United States. Far more managers go to jail in the United States than in any other Western country (even as a percentage of the total).

Perhaps the first Henry Ford had it right. After losing some civil cases against him by minority shareholders, he bought them out - every one of them. Only if owned 100% of the company could he feel secure against someone saying he was not doing right by the shareholders.

As for the other shareholders, the campaign against Lord Black has cost them vastly more than his pay and perks ever did. Too late perhaps some of them now understand that he was the company and, without him, it was nothing.

All the above should not be held to mean that I now accept Lord Black's opinions. For example, I still do not agree with his opinion that FDR was a moderate man or a good President. However, it is possible that Sir Conrad may now revise his opinion of the person who did more than anyone else in the 20th century to help create the vastly powerful (almost arbitrary) American government that was directed against him.
Well, maybe the convictions will be overturned as they were in the Arthur Anderson case. Of course, that came too late to save the company and anything that happens here will not save the greedy stockholders whose assets are being depleted at a rapid clip and not by Conrad Black.

hat tip: :PUK