By Chris Halsall with contributions from Douglas Skeete
IN any jurisdiction, companies operate ultimately under the legislation created by a central authority, i.e. the Government. Therefore, the argument can easily be made that this authority must seek to devise, and more importantly enforce, legislation preventing companies from inhibiting the development of liberalization and fair competition.
Publicly traded companies (those listed on one or more stock markets) tend to act particularly aggressively, as they are dependent upon ever greater profits in order to raise their share price. Their executives’ remuneration packages are invariably tied to this, and often current (and ex-) employees hold a number of shares as well.
The stock market is a harsh mistress. Therefore a public company’s primary concern is about “making the numbers” for the next quarter — everything else is secondary. Stock prices have even been known to fall when a Company does manage to make their numbers, but do not “exceed analysis’ expectations”.
There’s nothing wrong with this, of course. To the contrary — it is raw capitalism at its purest; the most effective form of wealth creation ever devised by humans. But it must be appreciated and understood: capitalism is heartless, and companies feed upon their markets.