More Empathy Needed on Capital Markets

“We do many things differently in the Netherlands. I notice these differences, because I have lived most of my adult-life abroad. One example, is that the Dutch share a lot of the news with their children. Not only are concepts like ‘Jeugdjournaal’ (youth news) unique to the Netherlands, but Dutch schools also typically spend relatively more time on current affairs. One of the consequences is that I sometimes have to explain the news to my kids, and their childlike naivety often offers a different perspective on the world. With the recently announced IPO’s of several Dutch companies, it was time to explain the term ‘shareholders’. “So the shareholders are the managers of the factory?” “No, they are the owners, not the managers.” “But if the owners are not the boss in the factory, why do they own it? Do they work there?” “No, they do not, and they own just a small part of the factory.” “So they may own a machine? Why would you want to have a machine if you don’t work there?” “Because the shareholders get the money the factory generates.” “But how is that fair if they do not work there?”

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