massmind - Get Together - The Declining Power of The Firm

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We're a long way from Firms becoming not powerful.  The fact that power flows to the center and the reach of an existing power base and known channels of distribution are not going to evaporate.

So News of the demise of the Firm is clearly premature.  But the part that is obvious, and is not new, is that there is something antisocial about Firms, especially in their incarnations as pure captialist phenomenon.

I read today, for example, the Yahoo! board's response to the latest takeover push from Microsoft.  The language focuses on the Microsoft offer not being in the best interests of stock holders.  Traditionally this simply means the price isn't the best.  But there's a huge question of whats best for the business, it's people and the world?  Stock holders need to be rewarded of course, but there is so much more than price that matters to society and the fundamental assumtion that the rest is irrelevant leads to antisocial behavior.

There's no point going into how and why, it's been done from Karl Marx to GreenPeace to any normal observer feeling oppressed in a fluorescent cubicle.

What is most interesting is the liquidity that the internet and technology have brought to transactions of all types and the effect that has had on destabilizing monolithic Firms based on narrow concepts of capitalistic value.  Humanistic values continue to be exercised at the expense to a never before degree of monoliths: Fred WIlson speaks on his blog, and cites Umair Haque at Harvard.




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