Should corporations be about more than profits?

At 10:20, we’re talking about the future of the public corporation. One of our guests, Gerald Davis, counted up the public corporations in the United States and found that their numbers had been cut in half between 1997 and 2009.

Our other guest, Lynn Stout, is more concerned about corporations’ lack of social responsibility. In the New York Times, she says that obsessions with stock prices “are actually causing corporations to do things that are eroding investor returns.”

She calls for a return to “managerialism,” where executives and directors run companies without being preoccupied with shareholder value. Companies would be freed up to think about their customers and their employees and even to start acting more socially responsible. Shareholders would have a limited “almost safety net” role, Ms. Stout says. They would be “relatively weak — and that’s a good thing.”

Kerri wants to know if you think publicly held companies have any social responsibilities? Or are they just an engine for making money?

bull.jpg(The Wall Street bronze Bull looks out to an empty Broadway in Lower Manhattan, New York, early August 28, 2011 as Hurricane Irene hits the city and Tri State area with rain and high winds. New York City resembled a ghost town after 370,000 people were told to evacuate flood-prone areas, including near Wall Street and at Coney Island, and mass transport was shut down. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host