04 February 2014
Corporations are exceptionally important to society and have contributed immensely to our wellbeing and welfare. Yet there has been a major breakdown of trust in these institutions in recent years, most notably in relation to financial sector tax avoidance, accounting scandals and environmental problems. These are set to continue if corporate behaviour does not change. We talk to University of Oxford Professor Colin Mayer to ask why this is happening and what can be done to reverse it.
Why do you think a breakdown of trust in corporations is happening?
It is in large part attributable to corporations having been hijacked by one particular interest group in society, namely their shareholders, and in particular short-term shareholders. There are huge consequences of this for our economic, financial and environmental systems.
To address this problem what needs to be done is for there to be much more of a long-term focus among shareholders with more clearly defined...