The Way Forward
Edited by Michael Faure and André van der Walt
Chapter 8: Globalization: Selected Developments in Corporate Law
Bas Steins Bisschop* 1 INTRODUCTION The present globalization is largely based on the past. This is particularly true in the corporate world, where corporations are engaged in business on a global scale whilst maintaining their national and traditional organizational form. Concentrating on the organizational form of doing business it is remarkable to note that, notwithstanding the general and systematic differences in national jurisdictions, in respect of the corporate organization and governance of the national corporations the commonalities are more manifest than the differences. In this chapter we will review these commonalities. The corporate organization may have appeared to be insufficient to face globalized crises such as the current credit crunch, which has led from a US financial problem to a global economic crisis. Nevertheless, there seems to be no reason to fundamentally amend or change this more or less common form of corporate organization in order to prevent the reoccurrence of similar crises. At the end of this chapter we will cautiously explore whether the South African transition from apartheid to a modern democracy presents lessons learned that can be of use in resolving global crises. In Section 2 we will discuss the historical foundation of the corporate organization which can be traced back to the Netherlands in 1602. In that year the Dutch invented a corporate system in which the entrepreneurial activities were separated from the financing of the enterprise. The provision of capital served to finance the business of the corporation without the investors being fully exposed to...
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