Icarus in the Boardroom: The Fundamental Flaws in Corporate America and Where They Came From by David SkeelIcarus in the Boardroom: The Fundamental Flaws in Corporate America and Where They Came From by David Skeel

Icarus in the Boardroom: The Fundamental Flaws in Corporate America and Where They Came From

byDavid Skeel

Paperback | April 21, 2006

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Americans have always loved risktakers. Like the Icarus of ancient Greek lore, however, even the most talented entrepreneurs can overstep their bounds. All too often, the very qualities that make Icaran executives special-- self-confidence, visionary insight, and extreme competitiveness--spurthem to take misguided and even illegal chances. The Icaran failure of an ordinary entrepreneur isn't headline news. But put Icarus in the corporate boardroom and, as David Skeel vividly demonstrates, the ripple effects can be profound. Ever since the first large-scale corporations emerged in the nineteenth century, their ability to tap huge amounts of capital and the sheer number of lives they affect has meant that their executives play for far greater stakes. Excessive and sometimes fraudulent risks, competition, and theincreasing size and complexity of organizations: these three factors have been at the heart of every corporate breakdown from 1873, when financial genius Jay Cooke collapsed, to the corporate scandals of the early 21st century. Compounding the scandals is an ongoing cat-and-mouse game betweenregulators' efforts to police the three factors that lead to Icarus Effect failures and efforts by corporate America to evade this regulation in the name of efficiency and flexibility. These efforts to side-step oversight can rapidly spiral out of control, setting the stage for the devastating corporate failures that punctuate American business history. But there is also a silver lining to the stunning failures: the outrage they provoke galvanizes public opinion in favor ofcorporate reform. The most important American business regulation has always been enacted in response to a major breakdown in corporate America. Today's business environment poses unprecedented perils for the average American as for the first time ever, more than half of Americans now own stock. Identifying the problems of the past, Skeel offers a strikingly new diagnosis of the fundamental flaws in corporate America today, and of what canbe done to fix them.
David Skeel is the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania. The author of Debt's Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America, he is a frequent commentator on corporate legal affairs and his op-eds have appeared in the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, American Lawyer, and Phi...
Title:Icarus in the Boardroom: The Fundamental Flaws in Corporate America and Where They Came FromFormat:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 5 × 7.8 × 0.79 inPublished:April 21, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195310179

ISBN - 13:9780195310177

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Table of Contents

1. Jay Cooke and the Birth of America's First Large Scale Corporation2. The Gilded Age and the Crisis of Competition3. Icarus Meets the New Deal4. I Want to Be Like Mike: LBO's and the New Corporate Governance5. Enron, WorldCom and the Transformation of Icarus6. "The Most Sweeping Securities Law Reforms Since the New Deal"7. "We Have Met the Corporation and it is Us"

Editorial Reviews

"Icarus in the Boardroom is both an insightful look at the causes and cures of American corporate scandals and a lively collection of stories of American business. Skeel's provocative book puts Enron in perspective and asks all the right questions about regulating the corporation."--Larry E.Ribstein, Richard W. and Marie L. Corman Professor of Law, University of Illinois