Is it time to rethink public corporations?

Facebook trading screens
Screens display the start of trading in Facebook shares at the NASDAQ stock exchange on Times Square in New York, on May 18, 2012.

In the last 15 years, the number of corporations publicly traded on American stock exchanges dropped 44 percent. Are we seeing the twilight of the public corporation - at least as they currently exist? We'll talk about the problems with public corporations and how they would rethink the purpose and role of the public corporation.

Gerald Davis, professor of management at the Ross School of Business and professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, will join The Daily Circuit Wednesday. He wrote about reimagining the corporation earlier this year:

The problems of increasing inequality, decreasing mobility, and greater economic insecurity in the United States are in large part due to the collapse of the traditional American corporation. For most of the twentieth century, vertically integrated, shareholder owned corporations were the central pillars of the American economy, producing goods and services, providing secure employment and opportunities for advancement, ensuring social welfare for employees and their dependents, and offering a vehicle for retirement savings. Due to the success of the "shareholder value" movement and the widespread Nikefication of the American economy over the past generation, however, public corporations have become less concentrated, less integrated, less interconnected at the top, shorter lived, less remunerative for average investors, and less prevalent since the turn of the 21st century.

Lynn Stout, professor of corporate and business law at Cornell University Law School, will also join the discussion.

VIDEO: Beyond public and private corporations

Should corporations be about more than profits? Comment on the blog.

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