From the mid-19th century to the end of the 20th, one form of economic organisation seemed to be displacing all others—the limited liability corporation with widely dispersed share ownership. Indeed in the 1980s, partnerships—investment banks, estate agents and legal firms—converted to corporate form, enriching the lucky individuals who happened to be partners at the time, while disappointing the hopes of more junior employees (the “mezzanine layer”) who had aspired to a future share of profits. Something similar happened as mutual building societies and insurance companies also became public limited companies (PLCs). State-owned industries such as telecoms, gas, water and electricity were privatised, and even agencies such as Companies House and the Royal Mint—which necessarily remained under public control—were restructured into corporate form.
But if the 1980s was the zenith of the listed corporation, the decade also saw the emergence of a very different trend. The buyout of food…
Register today to continue reading
You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.
You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.
Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.
Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.
Already a subscriber? Log in here