Batman Begins as a businessman
Paul Marks at Samizdata explores the business dimension:
Batman Begins decides that all of the above is too much for one man and so has Mr Wayne helped by a scientist in his company – but again that is hardly an absurd position. Where the film does stain belief is that Mr Wayne owns his company and in these days of inheritance tax and capital gains tax, having a man inherit control and keep it even after a determined effort to “take the company public” (i.e. hand over ownership to the pension funds and other financial institutions) by the hired manager… that strains belief.
A man may build up a big company from scratch (in spite of all the regualtions and taxes) as the first Mr Walton of Walmart showed, and has such men as Mike Dell or (for all their faults) Warren Buffett or Bill Gates have shown – but it is a full time job. Also a family that does not own a majority of stock can still try and make its presence felt, but again it is a full time struggle.
The modern “business model” is for hired managers to boost a companies profits by borrowing vast sums of money to fund investment (and just about everything else), boost the stock price and then move on (having cashed in their stock options) before the matter of paying back the loans becomes pressing. Their pay and perks are secure because such things (for hired top managers) are decided by committees of other hired top managers (and they sit on their remuneration committees).
Should a family member start to worry that products are unreliable, and that asset buying orgies (and…) have been financed by building up vast debts he will find it a major effort to try and regain control. The example of Henry Clay Ford springs to mind – such journals as the “Economist” are still outraged that the wicked Mr Ford turned against the hired managers on the grounds that the cars were unreliable and the company had been loaded down with debt.
Don’t miss what Paul has to say on the bad guys, too.
Last month I was asking Is Batman Republican?