Contracts, Markets, and Laws in the US and Japan
Edited by Zenichi Shishido
General comments: afterword
What does one say about a book this thoughtful and diverse? A book this thoughtful raises issues to which one cannot respond summarily. A book this diverse one cannot summarize at all. Professor Zenichi Shishido carefully captures the gist of the project. In firms, shareholders and creditors provide financial capital, and managers and employees provide human capital. The task they face is (Professor Shishido nicely outlines it with much more subtlety and sophistication) to assemble a bargain that gives each of them an incentive to maximize the value of the firm. The task of the law (again, Professor Shishido outlines it with more subtlety and sophistication) is to provide the set of default terms that best facilitates those bargains. It is a good thing for the corporate university community when scholars this talented contribute such sharply analytical chapters. It is a good thing when the best scholars from Japan and the United States contribute together. In both countries, we face the task of understanding how and why managers, investors, and workers organize their productive enterprise the way they do. In both countries we benefit from the cross-national comparisons that a project like this engenders.
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