Friday, March 21, 2008

Totally Crazy Idea: Shareholder Accountability History

Was in the gym when a story came across the news about Starbucks owing 100,000,000 dollars in back tips.  The old guy next to me asked "I wonder who they are going to get it from?" and I said, I believe correctly, in effect, "the shareholders."  I think he had thought it was the workers, or something, but anyway.

When I got home it struck me that future shareholders would lose the money in question, not necessarily the same people who were profiting when, at least in one California Court's opinion, Starbucks was insufficiently disbursing tips.  And then it struck me, something that would have been completely unworkable in the paper age, but which seems doable today, namely, recording who owned what when, and collecting the money from them.  After all, anyone can plainly see that it was they who profited from the malfeasance, and not someone who bought Starbuck's stock yesterday.

Of course I'm talking about doing it for every stock, and not just Starbucks.  Don't be silly unless, of course, the situation warrants.

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