BASHING big business used to be the preserve of politicians on the left. But so unpopular are America’s corporate titans—ranking below even newspapers (see chart)—that attacks on them were as much a feature of this month’s Republican convention as they were of the just-concluding Democratic bash. Unsettled by this hostility and harbouring some concerns of its own, about things like the accuracy of reported results and the structure of public companies and markets, the business community is responding.

Hence the release, on July 21st, of a report labelled “Commonsense principles of corporate governance”, containing 77 suggestions compiled by 13 of America’s most prominent chief executives during a year of secret meetings. The group was convened by Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, and included the likes of GE and GM, as well as Vanguard and T.Rowe Price, two fund managers with reputations for being forthright.

Their recommendations, like the report’s title, may lack the catchiness of populist policies. But they represent a sober take on some big issues—how big...Continue reading