This Article examines how we can overlay the principle of serving the common good, which undergirds public health law, onto financial well-being. It suggests that we apply public health law principles to corporate law and culture. In matters of public health, we view quite broadly states' police power to protect the public good. Government is also empowered to protect the general welfare in matters of financial well-being. Using the “general welfare” as a guidepost, this Article challenges the conventional wisdom that corporations exist solely to maximize profit and shareholder value to the exclusion of virtually everything else. It proposes two areas of change for improving our collective financial well-being. First, it suggests new rules for corporate board composition and accountability, specifically, proposing the elimination of the business judgment rule for executive compensation decisions. Second, it proposes that employees of large corporations elect 40% of the board members. Finally, this Article also highlights the link between financial well-being and democracy and urges that voting rights and campaign finance laws be strengthened. Part I of this Article explores the community-focused mission of public health law. Part II examines the more individualistic nature of corporate law and culture. Part III suggests policy changes that would apply community-focused public health law concepts to the economy, making for a more equitable society.
Barbara Atwell, From Public Health to Public Wealth: The Case for Economic Justice, 108 Ky. L.J. 387 (2020), https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/1160/.
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