How Capitalist is America? - Mark Roe - Project Syndicate: "American law gives more authority to managers and corporate directors than to shareholders. If shareholders want to tell directors what to do – say, borrow more money and expand the business, or close off the money-losing factory – well, they just can’t. The law is clear: the corporation’s board of directors, not its shareholders, runs the business.
Someone naïve in the ways of US corporations might say that these rules are paper-thin, because shareholders can just elect new directors if the incumbents are recalcitrant. As long as they can elect the directors, one might think, shareholders rule the firm. That would be plausible if American corporate ownership were concentrated and powerful, with major shareholders owning, say, 25% of a company’s stock – a structure common in most other advanced countries, where families, foundations, or financial institutions more often have that kind of authority inside large firms.
But that is neither how US firms are owned, nor how US corporate elections work. Ownership in large American firms is diffuse, with block-holding shareholders scarce, even today. Hedge funds with big blocks of stock are news, not the norm."
It's a class system, with the corporate elite on top. In a generation or so, they'll start awarding themselves titles.