Developments in private and public markets are changing the role equity plays in the United States, i.e., what “stock” means as a matter not only of investment and corporate governance, but also of political economy. For several generations, a broad middle class invested directly in bureaucratically run corporations, disciplined by securities and other laws. The governance of firms and therefore much of the economy was answerable to this broad middle class. Perhaps most important, citizens understood such arrangements as “the free enterprise system” or even “the American way.” We call this a “republican” imagination of equity markets.
There has recently … Read more