West Germany: A Break for Stockholders

Like the Nazi ideology that spawned it in 1937, Germany's corporate law is based on the "Fuhrer" principle: it al lows company board chairmen almost unlimited power, stockholders practically no rights. As a result Germans are understandably reluctant to buy stock.

While they have invested $23.5 billion in savings accounts and $21 billion in bonds since the 1948 currency reforms, they have purchased only $4 billion in new issues of stock, thus sorely limiting the amount of capital available to German industry.

Last week in Bonn, after five years of committee hearings and debate, the Bundestag finally voted to deNazify corporate...

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