Industrializing English Law: Entrepreneurship and Business Organization, 1720-1844

Industrializing English Law: Entrepreneurship and Business Organization, 1720-1844

by Ron Harris
     
 

Legal stasis in the face of rapid economic change poses serious challenges to deterministic and functional interpretations in the theory of law, institutions, and economic performance. This book explores a particularly important example: the slow and contradictory development in the law of business organization in England during the critical phase of the Industrial… See more details below

Overview

Legal stasis in the face of rapid economic change poses serious challenges to deterministic and functional interpretations in the theory of law, institutions, and economic performance. This book explores a particularly important example: the slow and contradictory development in the law of business organization in England during the critical phase of the Industrial Revolution. Based on extensive primary source research, Ron Harris shows how the institutional development of major forms of business organization - the business corporation, the partnership, the trust, the unincorporated company - evolved during this period. He also demonstrates how this slow and peculiar path of legal change interacted with and affected the practice of individual entrepreneurs and the transformation of the English economy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521182522
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
02/17/2011
Series:
Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions Series
Pages:
350
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

List of Tablesxiii
Acknowledgmentsxv
Introduction1
1The Legal Framework14
Legal Conceptions of Group Association15
The Corporation16
The Partnership19
The Trust21
Features of Business Organizations22
Legal Personality, Managerial Hierarchy, and Limitation of Liability23
Transferable Joint-Stock Capital24
Court Jurisdiction25
Forms of Business Organization27
The Sole Proprietorship27
The Closed Family Firm27
The General Partnership28
The Limited Partnership29
The Quasi-Joint-Stock Partnership31
The Unincorporated Joint-Stock Company31
The Regulated Corporation32
The Joint-Stock Corporation33
The Mutual Association33
The Nonbusiness and Nonprofit Organization36
Part IBefore 1720
2The Pre-1720 Business Corporation39
From Origins to Heyday: The 1550s to the 1620s40
The Decline: The 1620s to the 1680s46
The Rise of the Moneyed Companies: The 1680s to 172053
3The Bubble Act, Its Passage, and Its Effects60
The Proper Context: Bubble Companies or National Debt61
Three Explanations for the Passage of the Act64
From Bill to Act65
The South Sea Company Lobby68
The Anti-Bubbles Lobby70
The Public and the Government71
Conclusion: Why Was the Bubble Act Passed?73
The Bubble Act: A Turning Point?78
Part II1721-1810
4Two Distinct Paths of Organizational Development: Transport and Insurance85
Transport86
The Emergence of the Turnpike Trust86
The Organization of River Navigation Improvement90
The Coming of the Joint-Stock Canal Corporations95
Insurance100
The Early Companies: Before 1720100
The 1720s to the 1750s102
The 1760s and the 1770s103
The 1790s and the 1800s106
Insurance: The End Point107
Conclusion: Two Paths of Organization108
5The Joint-Stock Business Corporation110
Legal Personality110
The Raising and Transferability of Joint Stock114
Capital Formation114
The Legal Nature of Corporate Shares117
The Stock Market118
Limited Liability127
Entry Barriers132
6Trusts, Partnerships, and the Unincorporated Company137
The Appropriate Legal Framework139
The Lack of Legal Entity141
Continuity142
Liability143
Governance144
Litigation Using Common Name144
Statutory and Other Implications145
The Role of the Trust147
The Evolution of the Trust147
The Origins of the Trust148
The Strict Settlement Trust149
The Investment Trust150
The Unincorporated Company Trust152
The Assets to be Vested in the Trust152
The Trustees' Perspective153
The Beneficiaries' Perspective156
The Role of the Trust: A Reappraisal158
The Unincorporated Company in Court Litigation159
Partnership as a Common-Law Conception159
The Obsoleteness of Common-Law Account Action160
The Rise and Limitations of Equity Account162
The Crisis at the Court of Chancery163
Conclusion165
7The Progress of the Joint-Stock Organization168
The Starting Point: Circa 1740170
Sectoral Survey173
Textile Industries173
Metal Industries177
Food Industries178
Utilities182
Banking183
Overseas Trade183
Fisheries184
Sectors Outside the Realm of Common Law186
Ship Ownership186
Mining190
The End Point: Circa 1810193
Aggregate Estimation193
The Importance of the Joint-Stock Organization in the Economy at Large194
Concluding Remarks198
Part III1800-1844
8The Attitudes of the Business Community201
The Promoters of the New Companies and Their Foes202
The Conflict over the Old Monopolies203
Trade Monopolies and the East India Company204
The Marine Insurance Corporate Monopoly207
The Bank of England Monopoly211
Conclusion215
Booms and Crises216
The Early 19th Century216
The Boom of 1825216
The Progress of the Joint-Stock Companies: 1826-1844218
Hostility to Speculation in Shares223
9The Joint-Stock Company in Court230
The Judiciary231
The Revival of the Bubble Act235
Litigation: 1808-1812236
Litigation During the Boom of 1825241
The Reinvention of the Common Law245
10The Joint-Stock Company in Parliament250
The Boom of 1824-1825 and the Repeal of the Bubble Act250
Liberal Toryism and the Parliamentary Background250
The Rush on Parliament254
The Debates in Parliament256
Peter Moore's Bubble Act Repeal Bill262
The Repeal of the Bubble Act265
Tory and Whig Governments after the Repeal: 1827-1841268
Return to Incorporation by the Crown270
Limited Liability Partnership273
The Rise of the Concept of Registration274
The Select Committee of 1841277
Peel's Conservative Administration, 1841-1844278
The Parliamentary Committee279
The Companies Act of 1844 and Its Significance282
Laissez-Faire or Intervention?285
Conclusion287
Appendix 1The Rise and Decline of the Major Trading Corporations295
Appendix 2Capital of Joint-Stock Companies Circa 1810297
Bibliography301
Index of Cases323
Index of Statutes325
General Index326

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