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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

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Publication Date

Summer 2022




University of Pennsylvania Law School




Leo E. Strine, Jr. is closing in on Blair and Stout for the undisputed title of all-time top-scoring stakeholderist.3 I don't intend to squander this opportunity to roast and toast him by weighing the pros and cons of basketscoring primacy. Instead, my aim is to surface an overlooked argument in the debate over shareholder primacy and stakeholderism, the case for which has been recently reinvigorated by Strine's work. My argument is this: one underappreciated aspect of shareholder primacy's appeal is that it creates a competition with a single endpoint, basically a game, and that the exhilarating tournament that results, separate and apart from any ethical or instrumental justification, is an underestimated aspect of shareholder primacy's appeal. I want to be clear that this is not intended as any glib insult hurled at the doctrine. Quite the contrary, its advocates root their claims in wholly legitimate philosophical foundations, in libertarian ideas about freedom and private property, in notions of the common good best advanced by each person pursuing his or her own lawful self-interest, in empirical claims about what best stimulates economic growth, in pragmatic claims that stakeholder interests are best addressed by governments, not corporations. 4 I disagree with some of these claims, but accept the good faith nature of the arguments made in their favor.

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