While shareholders own the corporation, they cannot be said to run it. Champions of shareholder participatory rights cling to the idea that shareholder democracy limits the power of managers. Managers, for their part, uphold the democratic process as the basis of their power, dismissing claims that power has become unhinged from ownership. Public confidence that a democratic system functions in corporations—that managers, who exercise substantial power over our lives, are responsive to a governance process—may be misplaced, and this misplaced confidence becomes significant as the political activities and rights of a corporation grow. What, then, is the meaning of "shareholder democracy"?
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