Sig has an interesting post about ownership and its meaning. Here’s a snippet:
Does a small shareholder in a large corporation feel the ownership? Would you feel the ownership if some little clique of managers has taken charge of the whole thing informing you occasionally through Wall Street Journal or an annual report while jetting around on your penny?
True ownership on the other hand has meaning balances short and long term purposes and yields true pleasure. It binds it drives, it makes sense, in short it’s basically human – but only ownership that transcends the legal meaning of the word.
I think there are a huge number of delusions about financial incentives, some of which are becoming a little more exposed during the current financial crisis. One of my favourite books, Punished by Rewards, does a terrific analysis of how incentives are often horribly counter-productive.