The Short-Termism Myth

In recent years, it’s become a commonplace that American companies are too obsessed with the short term. In the heyday of Bell Labs and Xerox PARC, the argument goes, corporations had long time horizons and invested heavily in the future. But now investors care only about quarterly earnings and short-term stock prices, so companies skimp on R. & D. and waste hundreds of billions propping up their stock with share buybacks. This “tyranny of accountants” has damaged...

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