Josh Fershee has an analogy in mind:
The actions of the House right now remind me a lot of the arguments put forth against shareholder activism. That is, the complaints about rent-seeking actions put forth by an influential minority to pursue an agenda that is not consistent with the majority’s wishes. I’m reminded of Steve Bainbridge’s Preserving Director Primacy by Managing Shareholder Interventions. Below (with alterations mine), you can see the parallels (and to be clear, I am not suggesting the good professor agrees with my assessment – I’m the one making this assertion):
[N]ot all shareholder interventions [congressional deadlocks] are created equally. Some are legitimately designed to improve corporate [governmental] efficiency and performance, especially by holding poorly performing boards of directors and top management teams [government actors] to account. But others are motivated by an activist’s belief that he or she has better ideas about how to run the company [government] than the incumbents [those who passed the current laws of the land], which may be true sometimes but often seems dubious. Worse yet, some interventions [deadlocks] are intended to advance an activist’s agenda that is not shared by other investors [voters].
I concede there are many rather obvious differences, and maybe it’s a stretch, but I don’t think too much of one. Ultimately, we have rules set up to hold our directors, and our elected leaders, accountable for their decisions. Attempting to wield power using procedural methods or other tactical efforts that undermine the will of the majority and shift power to the minority are rarely productive or positive. In my view, the same rules should apply in both instances: either convince a majority you are right and make the changes or move on.
Surely he's just joshing us, however. Right? After all, as Charles Nathan has pointed out:
Too much of today’s discussion about corporate governance is couched in, and often decided by, simple analogies. First and foremost is “shareholder democracy” — a nice sounding slogan, but hardly a useful principle for creating a system of corporate governance that will achieve the goal of creating economic wealth for shareholders. What, after all, does shareholder democracy mean? It connotes a right to vote, but on what matters and how often? Once a year for all directors? Not necessarily, since classified boards have been long recognized as a permissible structure for corporate governance and have often been associated with economic success. There is, moreover, nothing “undemocratic” about representative bodies whose members serve staggered terms — witness the US Senate. Nor is annual election a necessary hallmark of democracy, as both Houses of the US Congress demonstrate with their two-and six-year terms of office.
Similarly, shareholder democracy does not require that each share have one vote. For example, votes can be allocated to different classes of stock in proportion to their relative share of the corporation’s residual economic pie. Doing so is hardly inconsistent with the notion of shareholder democracy, and may be more “democratic” than allocating votes among classes of stock without regard to their relative economic values.
Share ownership is not equivalent to citizenship (or any other basis for allocating votes in a polity); it is a way of allocating rights attaching to ownership of an economic instrument. A high vote/low vote differential among classes of common stock, for instance, is not undemocratic when viewed as a contractual bargain attaching to shares of the different classes. Investors who don’t want to own a low vote class simply do not have to do so. Buying a low vote class is simply agreeing in advance to accept that contractual bargain as part of the investment decision. The contract is neither democratic nor undemocratic. In short, all the analogies in the corporate governance arena to political concepts and models remain just that — analogies, not statements of inherent right or wrong.
Or, as Hoffer Kaback has observed:
... the entire notion of shareholder democracy, invoking as it does sunny visions of Athens as the best of all possible worlds, is — not to put too fine a point on it — nonsense.
So, yes, it's a stretch.
Update: Josh writes that I misunderstood him. Sorry about that.