“The Divine Right of Capital” by Marjorie Kelly.
She writes that we accept the premise that stockholders are the “owners” of corporations the same way that people once accepted that kings ruled by divine right. Our system of government has progressed toward democracy, but some of our basic economic notions are antiquated and feudal. In fact it’s only the initial stock offerings and the rare subsequent sales of stock by a corporation that fuel it with cash. The vast majority of stock sales are just stock passing between the hands of speculators and have nothing to do with “investing” in the corporation.
And yet those “investors” (speculators) lay claim to an endless stream of payments off the top, because they are supposedly the only legitimate “owners.” Meanwhile, employees, whose daily innovation and labor truly create wealth for the company, are regarded as a “cost” that, like all costs, is to be minimized.
Thus layoffs, plant closings, corporate raiders, and “externalizing” costs: letting the government or the community pay as many of the costs of doing business – e.g., cleaning up pollution, building needed infrastructure, paying for employee’s healthcare – as possible, while reaping as much from the government and community as possible – using public lands to mine minerals, log forests, and graze livestock for miniscule token payments, demanding government incentives to build a new plant in the state or community, lobbying for bailouts, etc.).
Those investors are just over 50% of the population in the US. Many people have managed pensions and their banks may also invest in stocks and shares.
In Australia, where compulsory pensions have been around some time, there are ethical options. The UK are currently catching up.
I don’t know what the choices are like in other Countries, or if pensions are compulsory, but knowing what/ who you’re supporting is important. It’s not just faceless minorities who hold stock.