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This article considers the relative advantages of alternative enterprise forms in finance from the point of view of public accountability. The business corporation is compared to the state agency or authority, the cooperative, the state corporation, and the charitable nonprofit. These forms can be distinguished according to whether they aspire to enhance general electoral democracy or stakeholder democracy and whether their democratic controls operate directly or indirectly. The article suggests that the indirect democratic forms may be more promising than the direct ones. It also argues that the project of democratizing finance depends on the development of practices of multifactor or “dialogic” performance assessment. Such practices must be institutionalized through public or private organizations that extend across firms.


Banking and Finance Law | Business Organizations Law | Law