Ein Plädoyer für die Rolle der Aktionäre

Breite Strömungen wollen die Rolle der Eigentümer bei Unternehmen zurückdrängen. Statt den Aktionären zu dienen, sollen Unternehmen alle Stakeholder im Blick haben. Richtig oder falsch? Ich gestehe, dass ich ausgesprochen skeptisch bin.

Die FINANCIAL TIMES (FT) diskutiert das Thema so:

  • “Was Milton Friedman right when he said in 1970 that the social responsibility of business was to make as much money as possible for shareholders? An influential group of critics, in the business community as well as in academia, believes he was fundamentally wrong. Friedman’s malign influence, according to these critics, is partly responsible for causing or aggravating some of the world’s most serious problems, including environmental degradation and rising inequality.” – bto: Ich denke, dass das nicht stimmt. Unternehmen haben ein großes Interesse an langfristigem Erfolg.
  • “Unilever, for example, has been attacked for focusing on environmental and social issues at the expense of shareholder value. Larry Fink, head of BlackRock, the US institutional investor, has been accused of ‘wokeness’ for insisting that companies should pay more attention to the interests of stakeholders, such as employees, local communities and society at large.” – bto: Meine Meinung ist, dass hier ein Konflikt theoretisch aufgebauscht wird, was am Ende der Vergemeinschaftung von Unternehmen dient. Das wird der langfristigen wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung schaden.
  • “Undeniably, public expectations about how business should behave have been changing. Large, publicly listed companies are under pressure from investors, customers and employees to do more to protect the environment and to help tackle other social ills.” – bto: Das ist eigentlich nicht deren Aufgabe.
  • “Some members of the anti-Friedman camp favour a revision of company law, obliging businesses to adopt a social purpose that goes beyond making profits. (…) The aim is to shift business away from shareholder primacy, which has long been a central element in company law.” – bto: Es entspricht dem derzeitigen sozialistischen Grundtrend, der von mangelndem Verständnis profitiert.
  • Would such a shift be good for society? The answer is: almost certainly not.” – bto: Das sehe ich genauso.
  • “Shareholder-based capitalism, with competition between profitmaking firms as its driving force, is the means by which society’s resources are used most productively for everyone. At the heart of the system is the accountability of companies to shareholders; the measure of success is their ability to maximise shareholder value over the long term.” – bto: Deshalb ist es auch per Definition richtig, dass Unternehmen ein Interesse an ihren Mitarbeitern und der Umwelt haben.
  • “This does not mean that companies are run solely for the benefit of shareholders. It does mean that directors have a clear criterion to guide their decisions, and that criterion is not so binding as to cause them to behave in an ‘antisocial’ way. It is good for companies to have a purpose, one that is linked to their business and more likely to enthuse employees than ‘maximising shareholder value’, but that can be done within the present legal framework.” – bto: So ist es!
  • “Shareholders are often blamed for encouraging short-termism, but excessive long-termism — sticking too long to a poorly performing business — is at least as serious a problem. This is where shareholders, including activist hedge funds, can play a useful role. Liberating companies from shareholder pressure would weaken a source of dynamism in the market economy.” – bto: Genau das ist vermutlich aber auch das Ziel.

ft.com: „Shareholder capitalism works best for society“, 20. Februar 2022