[O]ur corporations are no longer controlled by "persons" (i.e., individual shareholders). Some 70% of the shares of big publicly held corporations are held by "agents" -- the institutional investors who manage our mutual funds, pension funds, insurance and trust companies, and endowment funds.
These agents -- who together hold working control of Corporate America -- have all too often failed to honor their responsibilities of corporate stewardship, and they actively vote their proxies far too rarely. The record, as far as I know, is bereft of a single proxy proposal submitted by a mutual fund or pension fund investor in opposition to a corporation's management. The temptation for agents to take advantage of their agency position for their own benefit is too great. Large institutional investors, for instance, routinely manage the retirement plans and thrift plan portfolios of the very corporations whose shares they own. As the saying goes: "There are only two types of clients we do not want to offend: actual and potential."
Most institutional money managers today are owned by giant U.S. and global financial conglomerates with their own shareholders. Of America's 40 largest, 23 are owned by conglomerates, 8 are publicly held, and only 9 remain privately owned.
Whoever said class power can't be completely convoluted without being entirely straightforward?