Differences of character nation, race, age, sex, temperament. Education of tastes. Foundation of morals. Utility of religion. Doctrine that causation is will. He consulted her about revisions of the Political Economy for a new edition pp. Harriet was a rebel not without cause. In Mill she found a man whose extraordinary education had shaped him also for rebellion against the social, moral, and political conventions of his time. In him she found too a man almost desperately lonely, subject to recurring periods of depression.
It is perhaps small wonder that in gratitude for her braving the censure of society, for her sharing in his devotion to liberal causes, and for her strengthening of his spiritual and emotional resources, he sought to induce the world to accept his estimate of her. Neither he nor some of his recent biographers have convinced us that she was the originating mind behind his work, but no one can doubt her importance in his inner life, the well-springs of which had been threatened by drought. The travel on both trips was undertaken in the hope of recovering his health.
In the last letter Letter of the earlier series to Harriet he had confessed that his doctor had at last told him that he had an advanced case of consumption. He was too ill to go to Paris to accompany Harriet and Helen when they returned to England about the middle of April, Thereafter, his health deteriorated rapidly and he lost weight at an alarming rate. Yielding to the advice of his physicians, he left England on June 9, , for a trip to Brittany by way of the Channel Islands. Fifteen of his letters to Harriet during his six-week absence have survived. Although, as he admitted a year later, he thought his death was imminent, he kept up a brave front for Harriet.
Everywhere he went he made inquiries about the cost of living and reported the prices of food in the various towns. A walk of twenty or more miles a day even in his weakened condition was not uncommon. Gradually he began to take on some weight and when he returned home in late July his condition seemed improved. With the approach of winter, however, more travel seemed necessary.
Leaving Harriet at Torquay with her mother and sister as guests, Mill left England on December 8 for a trip of over six months to southern France, Italy, Sicily, and Greece, not rejoining Harriet until he met her in Paris in mid-June. The 49 letters he wrote her during his travels can be read with interest in themselves, apart from their contributions to any further understanding of their relationship. They are the letters of a highly intelligent Edition: current; Page: [ xxxi ] observer, and those written from Sicily and Greece in particular are valuable for their pictures of wild country not often visited in the mid-nineteenth century by Englishmen.
The railroads had not yet reached those areas, and the difficulties of travel by the public diligences, by mule, and on foot were great enough to deter many a healthier traveller than Mill, who had been almost at the point of death only six months earlier. Since the letters are written to his wife, they of course recount in some detail the progress of his health, his gains or losses in weight whenever he finds available scales, his persistent bouts with indigestion, and the gradually improving condition of his lungs.
Addicted to long walks since boyhood, he now almost literally walked himself back to health, travelling often through wild country in Sicily and Greece, climbing mountains and fording streams, often in pelting rain, and always botanizing as he went along, collecting loads of specimens which he dried and sorted in the evenings. Many of the inns were primitive, and infested with fleas. Writing from Greece on May 26, he wryly described one of his bouts with the pests:. After chasing them one by one I laid the palm of my hand over six or seven at once. One little rascal had the impudence to bite my hand to my very face.
Away from the cities he recounts the breathtaking beauty of the natural scenery: near Vaucluse in Southern France p. Despite this statement he is almost always eager to associate literature and history with the places he visits; in Bordeaux, in preparation for Italy, he buys a volume which contains the poetry of Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, and Tasso p.
If these things are done in Italy what shall we come to next? In the midst of his new-found pleasures in art and of the renewal of his joy in natural beauty, Mill nonetheless never strayed very far from the consciousness of his duty to write for the betterment of mankind. In Rome he was moved to recall a paper he had written for his volume of essays he had projected with Harriet:. He revived also a plan he had thought of as early as see Earlier Letters, p. It seems desirable to do it in our lifetime, for I fancy we cannot prevent other people from doing it when we are dead.
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Then the chance of the name selling them is as great as it is ever likely to be—the collection would probably be a good deal reviewed, for anybody thinks he can review a miscellaneous collection but few a treatise on logic or political economy. It was not merely the arrears of India House business that delayed the fulfilment of his plans; on him was placed the burden of the defence of the Company against the takeover of the administration of India by the British government in After his retirement and the death of his wife, he published in close succession in the essay On Liberty, his pamphlet on Parliamentary Reform, and the first two volumes of his review articles, Dissertations and Discussions.
Again during his trip he was concerned about his approaching retirement. Almost every place he went he noted its cost of living and its suitability as a home for them. Corfu and the nearby islands, curiously enough, seemed most attractive, especially when the possibility developed that he might be able to secure an appointment as Resident of one of the Ionian islands then under British protection p. Isolation from English society, so long as it was shared with Harriet, would be no deprivation for him.
To lose her would be the unthinkable calamity. That he might do something that would alienate her from him seems to have been a deeply rooted fear, a fear that once near the end of his long absence from her gained expression in a letter. Their health was somewhat improved and no further prolonged separations occurred. As a result, of course, we have little record in letters of their life together for this period. Only occasionally in these years were letters necessary, ordinarily brief ones.
In the summer of , accompanied by Helen and Algernon Taylor, they spent much of July and August Edition: current; Page: [ xxxiv ] in Switzerland and were apart only for a week while Mill took a walking tour of the French Jura. She was permitted to do so only on the understanding that the Taylor name should be concealed; she billed herself as Miss Trevor. One notices the paucity of his correspondence in these years as well as of publication.
Not that he would have minded, for to the end Harriet was the all-sufficient centre of his existence. If Harriet could have lived, he would gladly have foregone the public fame he was later to achieve. When she died in Avignon on November 3, , the blow to him was all but overwhelming.
To his friend and former colleague at the India House, W. Thornton, he wrote:. It is doubtful if I shall ever be fit for anything public or private, again. The spring of my life is broken. But I shall best fulfil her wishes by not giving up the attempt to do something useful, and I am not quite alone. By the end of the month, before he and Helen returned to England, he had purchased a cottage at St. The tie that bound them to Avignon was, of course, the nearby grave of Harriet, which became virtually a shrine. For the rest of his life, whenever he was at Avignon, Mill visited the site for an hour each day.
The shared loss of Harriet brought Mill and Helen into an association that was to strengthen over the remaining years of his life. In many ways he became heavily dependent upon her. She seems to have accepted the burden willingly and without regret at giving up her hoped-for career in the theatre. He soon became as dependent upon her as he had been upon Harriet. This is best seen in the series of his letters to Helen of January and February, , apparently his only extended separation from her in his last fifteen years, occasioned by his return to Blackheath to consult his physicians and settle some business affairs, while she remained in Avignon.
As in his letters to Harriet, he keeps Helen informed about the medical advice he has received p. He forwards certain letters to her as formerly to Harriet to consult her on the replies to be made p. In practical matters—for instance, when the walls in their Blackheath house begin to threaten collapse—he still depends on the woman of the house for instructions pp.
It is Helen who is responsible for the home at Avignon, at one point supervising the building of an addition. Under her skilful ministrations, the cottage at Avignon became not only a comfortable refuge from the society in which he had been in the past seldom at ease but also the place where he was henceforth to carry on most of his study and his writing. Life here is uneventful, and feels like a perpetual holiday. It is, in truth, too self-indulgent a life for any one to allow himself whose duties lie among his fellow-beings, unless, as is fortunately the case with me, they are mostly such as can better be fulfilled at a distance from their society, than in the midst of it.
Mill was aware of the dangers to Helen in his virtual monopoly of her attention. Once when she had evidently complained of being depressed by the company of some women at Avignon, he wrote her:. By , as has been pointed out in the Preface, she became so identified with him as to be able to write a good many of his letters for him. I should not like to be a party to its being printed with my name, because it was written as is the case with no inconsiderable portion of my correspondence by my step-daughter Miss Helen Taylor.
Without this help it would be impossible for me to carry on so very voluminous a correspondence as I am at present able to do: and we are so completely one in our opinions and feelings, that it makes hardly any difference which of us puts them into words. In turn, she reproached him for not criticizing her own writing severely enough. Mill thought her a good editor and trusted her judgment in the revision of his work. On at least one occasion she gave him a thorough dressing down for careless thinking and writing. In a series of letters to George Croom Robertson, Mill was led to advocate measures designed to eliminate dissident members from the Committee and to ensure that new members should be on the right side.
This series of letters to Robertson is the only one in all his correspondence that reflects discredit upon Mill the advocate of freedom of opinion. Helen was so convinced of the rightness of her views that she became almost ruthless in her support of them. It has a tendency to develop the sentimental part of his intelligence, which is of immense force, and has only been kept in due subjection by his respect for his own reason.
This respect diminishes under the powerful influence of his daughter, Miss Taylor, who is an admirable person doubtless, but is what, were Edition: current; Page: [ xxxvii ] she of the sex that she regards as inferior, would be called decidedly priggish. Her self-confidence, which embraces her confidence in Mill, is tremendous, and Mill is overpowered by it. Her words have an oracular value to him—something more than their just weight; and her unconscious flattery, joined with the very direct flattery of many other prominent leaders of the great female army, have a not unnatural effect on his tender, susceptible and sympathetic nature.
She encouraged him to make new friends, held frequent intimate dinner parties when they were at Blackheath, and shared his enthusiasm for new causes which he found he could advance better by ending the isolation he had enjoyed with Harriet. The first steps were taken somewhat reluctantly.
The products of his pen, especially the shorter works published in — On Liberty, Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform, and the first two volumes of his Dissertations and Discussions —were beginning to have evident effect upon public opinion. He noted that an article in the conservative Quarterly Review had borrowed from his pamphlet on parliamentary reform p. Early in he corrected an American reviewer who thought that his shorter works had been neglected in England in comparison with his treatises.
That influence had also markedly increased in America and was reenforced by his wholehearted support of the Northern cause during the Civil War. Only seven letters to Edwin Chadwick, his early friend, are extant for the years between and November, ; there are nearly a hundred in the years to Among the new correspondents, John Elliot Cairnes became perhaps the one most highly valued by Mill.
In the earlier years of their correspondence, they had little opportunity for personal contact, since Cairnes resided in Ireland until , when he became Professor of Political Economy at University College, London; he eventually made his home in Blackheath. His criticism was often of great help to Mill in the revision of his Political Economy, and on some questions, notably on those relating to Ireland, Cairnes supplied invaluable information.
Mill, in turn, was often of similar assistance to Cairnes see, for instance, his analytical letter on the French political economists, pp. It was Mill who first encouraged Cairnes to expand some lectures he had delivered in Dublin into his book The Slave Power, which became perhaps the most influential force in shaping British opinion in favour of the North in the American Civil War.
Of the other new friends, Thomas Hare supplied Mill with a new cause—the representation of minorities or, as we now phrase it, proportional representation. When Fawcett and Mill were both elected to Parliament in , they continued their relationship as political allies. As a political economist, however, Fawcett remained more orthodox than Mill, who in his later years moved nearer to socialist views.
Less close was the relationship with Herbert Spencer, the extant correspondence with whom dates from November, , after Spencer had written Mill for assistance in securing a position in the India civil service. At first, they differed in degree rather than in principle on laissez-faire: Spencer opposed town ownership of public parks, but Mill thought they should be the property of the town p.
A rare difficulty with a friend, arising out of a misunderstanding, is illustrated in the letters to the young classical scholar Theodor Gomperz, who had corresponded with Mill since about translating his works into German. When Mill and Helen Taylor had visited Gomperz in Vienna in the summer of , the young man had fallen in love with Helen. Gomperz took the letter to be a rejection not only by Helen as a suitor but also by the two of them as friends. His despair set off an incipient nervous breakdown, in which he conjured up enemies who must be maligning him.
In succeeding letters Mill protested the sincerity of his great esteem and respect for Gomperz, and after returning with Helen to London early in June invited him to dinner. If you think fit to carry the matter farther, either by speech or writing,—even if only for the relief of your own feelings—, you will have my truest sympathy, as you have my sincere friendship and esteem. Gomperz for some time after leaving England still suffered from delusions of persecution, which Mill tried to dispel see Letter By fall, Gomperz was calmer and he eventually recovered fully. His treatises on logic and political economy had become textbooks in the universities, helping to shape the thought as well as the methods of thinking of the younger generation.
Their friendship developed quickly and by the fall of when Morley travelled to America, Mill wrote to Emerson a letter of introduction for him Letter , praising his great capacity and promise as a writer. Hamer in his John Morley Oxford, , pp. Their personal contacts were frequent: Morley was always welcomed to Blackheath. On March 5, , Mill visited Morley for a day at his home, shortly before Mill was to leave England for the last time. Only seven have been located for inclusion here.
Helen and Kate Amberley became close friends. The young couple visited Mill and Helen at Avignon and at Blackheath, and they in turn visited the Amberleys at their home near Tintern Abbey in England. Mill even agreed to become godfather for their second son, Bertrand Russell. Mill served as an adviser to Amberley both on his writings and on his political activities. Mill was not then acquainted with Dilke. The letters reveal Mill after his defeat in quite as deeply interested in current political questions as when he was in the House.
Still a public figure, he found that his widened knowledge of the working classes contributed to his understanding of their problems. In the last four years of his life he increasingly took positions farther to the left than those he had occupied in his Parliamentary years. Long interested in land reform, he now moved to organize the Land Tenure Reform Association. His sympathies with the trades unions deepened, and his confidence in their leaders increased. He met regularly in with a committee organized to promote working-class representation in Parliament. He became an ardent advocate of universal free education, despite his earlier fears about state-maintained education.
About half of the Club were radical or ultra-liberal members of Parliament. The two entertained each other at dinner from time to time, and it was to this intimate friendship that we owe the existence of the Watts portrait of Mill see Letter Dilke persuaded Mill to sit for the portrait, paid the artist, and eventually bequeathed it to the City of Westminster.
Although Mill in his last years added such young men as Morley, Amberley, and Dilke to the roster of his friends and correspondents, he still maintained his correspondence with a number of his longtime friends. The oldest of these friendships was with Edwin Chadwick, dating back to their Benthamite days. Over those forty-five years the two were apparently in close touch, for many of the letters, especially in the earlier years, are brief notes concerning matters previously discussed in Edition: current; Page: [ xliii ] person.
Chadwick relied upon Mill as a reader of his many reports as a reformer of the poor laws, sanitation, education—sometimes it seems as a reformer of almost everything. Mill thought him admirably equipped for service there. In he characterized Chadwick as. He is, moreover, one of the few persons who have a passion for the public good; and nearly the whole of his time is devoted to it, in one form or another. When Mill himself was being considered for the representation of Westminster, he constantly put forth the case for Chadwick, in preference to himself, and later, when in Parliament, Mill was always looking for possible openings for him.
What appeared to be the best chance for Chadwick came in the campaign when it appeared possible that he might unseat Edward Bouverie, an Adullamite Liberal who for twenty-five years had represented the Scottish constituency of Kilmarnock. Because Bouverie had openly attacked Gladstone and the Liberal party the preceding spring, Mill thought him not entitled to Liberal support and instead warmly endorsed Chadwick. Bouverie charged Mill with sowing dissension in the party, and turned over to The Times for publication his exchange of letters with Mill see Letters and In the event, Chadwick, who had campaigned vigorously and at considerable expense to himself, lost badly to Bouverie.
Mill had to answer a bitter letter from Mrs. Chadwick protesting his encouraging her husband to run Letter Neither her protest nor his own defeat deterred Mill, as his later letters to Chadwick reveal, from continuing to support his friend. Other series, however, deserve at least brief mention here. Readers who wish to pursue any of the various series will find convenient the separate Index of Correspondents in Vol. The letters to Alexander Bain and to Rowland G. The letters to W.
Thornton, his long-time colleague at the India House, display not only their warm friendship but also their continuing debates on such economic questions as the wage-fund doctrine and trades unions and such philosophic questions as utilitarianism. Letters to William E. Hickson and John Chapman, successively editors of the Westminster Review, reveal not only his continuing interest in the radical review with which he had been closely associated in its earlier years, but also his readiness to contribute to its financial support. Letters to his publishers, John W.
The latter have been subjected, and are still being subjected, to searching analysis in many books and articles, for Mill continues to be one of the most significant of Victorian writers for the twentieth century. Some of his letters express views not to be found in his published writings, views that often seem surprisingly modern. Less well known are his concern for the environment see Letter , his eventual acceptance of universal education provided by the State see Letter , and his foresighted opinions on the Negro problem in America see Letter For the reader who wishes to pursue these and other topics in the letters, we have provided a detailed subject index.
It is our hope that readers will share the pleasure that the editors have had not only in observing Mill engage with ideas but also in obtaining new insights into the nature of the man himself. Mineka, vols. Jack Stillinger, Urbana, Hugh S. Elliot, 2 vols. I all published , Vienna, Hayek: F. The references are to the 8th edition, London, MacMinn, Bibliog. Ney MacMinn, J. George William Curtis, New York, Packe: Michael St. The references are to the last edition revised by JSM the 7th in available in the edition of Sir W. Ashley, London, , and as Vols.
Robson, Toronto, Robson, Vols. References have been made to this edition only for information not available in other editions of Pol. Walter E. Houghton, Vol. I, Toronto, Portrait in the possession of Professor F. I have just finished reading the two volumes 2 with the greatest pleasure and admiration. The fifth volume seems to me all that we had a right to expect, and the sixth is splendid! I mean to read them again at leisure, and I shall then note one or two very small points to talk about, which I do not now remember.
Every great result which you have attempted to deduce seems to me most thoroughly made out. The only piece of news I have is that Austin 6 called yesterday. He was [wanting? Nothing was said about her 12 or about the copy of the Pol. What should it be? It can only be done by sending out a power of attorney to be executed by you.
Many thanks for the Guizot 2 which I have had read to me for I am obliged to spare my sight which is ailing a good deal. The article 5 however is in itself a complete answer to all such diatribes. It is finished, except revision, which the state of my sight alone retards. I should like to know who wrote the article on Channing 7 if it is no secret.
The objections are I think very inconsiderable as to quantity—much less than I expected—but that paragraph, p. We will try, but I now feel almost certain that we must adjourn the publication of the 2 d edit. I cannot help thinking that something like what I meant by the sentence, ought to be said though I can imagine good reasons for your disliking the way in which it is put.
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I think I agree in all the other remarks. But C. The pamphlet 19 has gone to Hickson—I had thought of sending one of the separate copies to L. To all the members of the Prov. I despatched yesterday to the dear one an attempt at a revision of the objectionable passages. I am going on revising the book: not altering much, but in one of the purely political economy parts which occurs near the beginning, viz. If it is not checked it will be I think an even earlier spring than the very early one two or three years ago.
I shall be able to benefit by Edition: current; Page: [ 12 ] it more than I expected in the way of country walks on Sundays although the dimness of sight, slight as it is, interferes not a little with the enjoyment of distant scenery—as I found in that beautiful Windsor Park last Sunday. I do not think anything that could be written would do nearly so much good on that subject the most important of all, as the finishing your pamphlet—or little book rather, for it should be that.
Chairman 12 lately—as to avoid the long staircase I have communicated with them chiefly through others but now being released from restraint I shall take an early opportunity of speaking to Galloway about Haji. I attach importance to most of the notes, 2 since when I am charging Brougham with misrepresentation of what Lamartine said, 3 it will not do to Edition: current; Page: [ 14 ] bid the reader trust to my translations—and the passages from Tocqueville 4 being cited as evidence to matters of fact, ought to be given in the original.
You however must judge what is best for your review. You kindly offered me some separate copies—I should not desire more than 50, but in these I would like to have the notes preserved and it would not be necessary for that purpose to set them up in smaller type. If the types are redistributed I would willingly pay the expense of recomposing. I cannot imagine how the printer could commit the stupid blunder of putting those notes with the text.
If the effect should be to make the book an unpleasant object to the only eyes I wish it to please, how excessively I shall regret not having put off the edition till next season. I have had the proof of the pamphlet, 4 all but the last few pages. There seems very little remaining in it that could be further softened without taking the sting out entirely—which would be a pity. I am rather against giving away any copies, at least for the present, in England—except to Louis Blanc to whom I suppose I should acknowledge authorship.
He has not come near me—I see he is writing in sundry Communist papers of which there are now several in London. There is no fresh news from George 6 nor any incident of any kind except that Mr Fox has sent me without any letter four volumes of his lectures to the working classes, 7 the last volume of which printed this year has a preface in which he recommends to the working classes to study Polit.
The Times is quite gentlemanlike in comparison with those other papers when they get on the ground of imputed infidelity or anything approaching to it. I suppose they overshoot their mark, but they would scruple nothing in any such case. You do not say anything this time about the bit of the P[olitical] E[conomy]—I hope you did not send it during the week, as if so it has miscarried—at the rate they are printing, both volumes at once, they will soon want it.
I was wrong to express myself that way about the Athenians, 4 because without due explanations it would not be rightly understood. I regret much that I have not put in anything about Palmerston into that pamphlet 5 —I am almost tempted to write an express article in the West r in order to make him the amende. I like the article myself.
I have carefully avoided anything disrespectful to Russell personally, or any of the marks, known to me, by which my writing can be recognized.
Pressure Begins to Mount From Investors and Lawmakers
If I meet Fleming 8 again or am again assaulted on any similar point I will reply in the sort of way you recommend—I dare say the meeting with F. Ever since I have kept the opposite side. The Pol. I have followed to the letter every recommendation. The sentence which you objected Edition: current; Page: [ 19 ] to in toto of course has come quite out. I meant one thing more, viz. I cannot persuade myself that you do not greatly overrate the ease of making people unselfish. I Edition: current; Page: [ 20 ] suspect it was there the very day I wrote last.
So that volume is closed now, completely. There were letters from George 6 yesterday of three weeks later date: his report is that he is neither worse nor better. He thinks that he coughs about six or seven times an hour through the 24 hours. I answered telling him if he thought it would be of as much use now as about the time when the bill comes on by all means to print it now. It has not yet made its appearance. The printing of the 2 d edit. The lameness is now no obstacle at all—the only obstacle is general weakness, as compared with my state when in perfect health.
The sight remains the same. Nobody is ever to be made to do anything but act just as they like, but it is calculated that they will always, in a phalanstere, like what is best. It is very amusing that those people who take such care to guard their orthodoxy get nothing by it but to be more bitterly attacked. However it shews what I did not suppose, that it required some courage in a church dignitary to write about a heretic even in the guarded way that Hare did.
I have always thought him a man of whom something might be made if one could see enough of him—I shall perhaps be able to judge now if my opinion was right, but at all events his book will shew. Je crois que vous serez plus satisfait de la seconde. I, at least, can take no part in what he proposes, for I do not agree with him.
I do not mean that it should be persevered in for ever, but I would not give it up until something more effectual for the purpose is actually in operation. My ramble 4 has done me good but has not cured my principal ailment. You have given me six months 2 to answer all your questions. I think you ought to allow me six volumes too; for if the questions occupy so many pages, what must the answers? I could give, no doubt, some sort of replies to most of your queries in a few sentences, but they would not be such as could be satisfactory either to you or to myself. Your explanations do not at all clear up, to my apprehension, what I think the inconsistency of blending high moral praise with the strongest language of moral reprobation.
It is you who appear to be chargeable with what my opinions are usually charged with, viz. The latter are. Two sentences will give some little notion of the wideness of our divergence. I will say nothing more on this subject except to correct a mistake you have made about my opinions on population. I do not know where you find that on my shewing the evils of over-population are in some distant future. I answer, nearly all.
The instinct of knocking down a person who offends us if we are the strongest. As to the opinion expressed in the Logic, 5 that miracles are evidence of a revelation only to those who already believe in a God or at least in supernatural beings. What I meant is this. We can never know that what is presented to us as a miracle, is so. The proof can only be negative, viz. You ask, but what if the man himself, being morally trustworthy, affirms that it is a miracle?
Next as to Xtianity. You need not have supposed any inclination in me to speak with irreverence of J[esus] C[hrist]. But there is not, to me, the smallest proof of his having ever said that he worked miracles—nor if he did, should I feel obliged either to believe the fact or to disbelieve his veracity. Respecting St Paul I have a very different feeling. I hold him to have been the first great corrupter of Xtianity. I would say to such a person, only read any book which gives a really living picture of, let us say, the Oriental mind of the present day.
Add to this that until long after the time Xtianity began you hardly find a trace even in the best minds of any regard for abstract veracity—any feeling which should prevent a teacher from deceiving the people for their good. These are I think the more important topics of your letter.
I am afraid I cannot be of any use to you in recommending treatises on astronomy as it is many years since I read any of the more deeply mathematical sort. Ils portent souvent des croix autour du croix et sur leurs instruments, et s'habillent tout en noir. Iron Maiden groupe de musique "Scream for me Judas Priest groupe de musique "Hello everyone, the Priest is back! KISS groupe de musique "You wanted the best? You got the best! The hottest band in the world, KISS!
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More than half serve on only one public board. More than half of the independent Younger Directors have held their board seat for two years or less. Strike one will be accompanied with a fine equal to the average annual cash compensation of directors. Any subsequent violation would amount to a fine equal to three times the average annual cash compensation for directors. Hence, the consequences are very real for companies that choose not to comply with the new rules. A new study by Equilar looks at where public companies headquartered in California currently lie in relation to the proposed legislation.
Looking broadly, California is slightly below other states and the national average in terms of average women on a board. This type of statistic is a likely factor in spurring state legislators in Sacramento to make significant changes to the status quo and place California in a leading role for board diversity in the United States. By , most companies in California would be safe from any financial penalties for having an insufficient number of female board members. Consequently, 37 public companies would be faced with a fine equal to the average annual director compensation for failing to comply.
Thus, every company within these two sectors has at least one female director present on their board. When looking at the companies that would meet the secondary December 31, criteria, the picture is much bleaker at present for public companies in California. According to the proposed legislation, the required minimum would increase to two female board members for companies with five total directors or to three female board members for companies with at least six total directors. While the path for the proposed legislation is still a bit rocky, the broader trend towards diversifying boardrooms across the country is growing.
Companies should anticipate new legislation—not just SB —sprouting throughout more state legislatures and get ahead of this rolling tide. States like Maine, Illinois and Ohio have already begun promoting resolutions to encourage companies to diversify their boards. However, without proactive encouragement or legislation, it would take decades before a true gender balance is realized. With its securities market continuing to internationalise and grow in complexity, China appears at a turning point in its application of CG and ESG principles.
The time is right to strengthen communication and understanding between domestic and foreign market participants. The story of modern corporate governance in China is closely connected to the rapid evolution of its capital markets following the opening to the outside world in The s brought the first issuance of shares by state-owned enterprises SOEs and a lively over-the-counter market. National stock markets were relaunched in Shanghai and Shenzhen in to , while new guidance on the corporatisation and listing of SOEs was issued in Corporate governance reform gained momentum in the late s, but it was less a byproduct of the Asian Financial Crisis than a need to strengthen the governance of SOEs listing abroad.
The early s then brought a series of major reforms on independent directors, quarterly reporting and board governance aimed squarely at domestically listed firms. A great deal has changed in China since then, with periods of intense policy focus on corporate governance followed by consolidation. Pension funds and investment managers in China are now encouraged by the government to look closely at ESG risks and opportunities in their investment process.
And green finance has become big business in China, with green bond issuance growing steadily. China thus appears at a new turning point in its market development and application of corporate governance principles. While it is difficult to predict how this process will unfurl, we believe three broad developments would be beneficial:.
The process of engagement can also help investors differentiate between companies that take governance seriously and those which do not. Of course, there are many exceptions to these broad characterisations. It is possible to find companies which view governance as a learning journey—and they are not necessarily listed. Certain mainland asset managers have begun investigating how to integrate governance and ESG factors into their investment process. And there are a growing number of foreign investors, both boutique and mainstream, that have developed a deep understanding of the diversity among SOEs and POEs and which have achieved excellent investment returns from SOEs as well.
Not surprisingly, however, our research has found that significant gaps in communication and understanding do exist between foreign institutional investors and China listed companies. This report is written for both a domestic and international audience. Our aim is to describe in as fair and factual a manner as possible the system of corporate governance in China, highlighting what is unique, what looks the same but is different, and areas of genuine similarity with other major securities markets.
Each chapter explains the current legal and regulatory basis for the governance institution described, the particular challenges that companies and investors face, and concludes with suggestions for next steps. Our intention has been to craft recommendations that are practical and anchored firmly in the current CG system in China—in other words, that are implementable by companies and institutional investors.
The remainder of this Introduction provides an overview of key macro results from our two surveys. We start with the good news—that a large proportion of foreign institutional investors and local companies are optimistic about China—then highlight the challenges both sides face in addressing governance issues. The following chapters draw upon additional material from the two surveys.
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A similar proportion was neutral in both surveys. Foreign investors face a range of challenges investing in China, the first of which is understanding the companies in which they invest. As Figure 1. It appears that listed companies are not aware of this issue. Globally, institutional investors seek to enter into dialogue with their investee companies.
It is no different in China, as shown in Figure 1. Respondents gave a range of answers as to why the process of engagement was difficult and successful outcomes limited, but some common threads were discernible:. Language and communication: In addition to straightforward linguistic difficulties ie, companies not speaking English, investors not speaking Chinese , the communication problem is sometimes cultural. Access: Getting access to companies can be difficult.
Getting to meet the right senior-level person, such as a director or executive, can be even more challenging. CG as compliance: A common complaint is that companies view CG as merely a compliance exercise. Non-alignment: There is a recurring feeling that the interests of controlling shareholders in SOEs are not aligned with minority shareholders. Conversely, a few respondents expressed empathy for the position of companies. Any attempt at influencing changes without a reasonable understanding of these differences is likely to be ineffective and may at times lead to unintended consequences.
I suspect this is a result of the companies already appreciating the value of good governance in attracting non-domestic investors. Most of them publish ESG reports annually, which help to set the benchmark for their industry and also to garner positive feedback from society and hence, end-customers. Some of such companies end up enjoying a pricing premium on their products once this positive brand equity has been established. This creates a virtuous cycle, where ESG becomes part of their corporate culture. They understand that for the long-term sustainability of their business, and for the benefits of all their stakeholders, such investment can only enhance their competitiveness.
Yet most investors still find engaging with companies a challenge. Such codes push institutional investors to take CG and ESG more seriously, incorporate these concepts into their investment process, and help to encourage greater dialogue between listed companies and their shareholders see Table 1.
In recent years, the bar has been quickly raised on this issue in Asia and expectations have risen commensurately. Without an explicit policy driving investor stewardship, it is unlikely that the average listed company will give proper weight to a dialogue with shareholders. SOEs and larger companies tend to be more responsive.
SOEs have more incentive to do so following government guidelines and trends.
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A key question to ask is who within a company should be responsible for engaging with shareholders? The short answer is the board, as a group representing and accountable to shareholders. Indeed, on a positive note, our survey found that most Chinese listed companies do admit that the responsibility for talking to shareholders should not be placed solely on the investor relations IR team see Figure 1.
But given that delegating this task to IR remains a common practice, it would appear that there is an inconsistency between words and actions here. These results broadly align with the view common in most markets, including China, that only a minority of companies usually the large caps feel incentivised to improve their governance practices and that they will be rewarded by investors if they do so. Even more concerning is the largely negative view on whether better governance helps a company to list.
As an aside, this might also help to explain why listed POEs in China are generally not seen as being a better investment proposition or as having better governance than SOEs—an issue we explore in Chapter 3. Even so, in a fast-growing market such as China, there is a risk in taking a static or one-dimensional view.
We conclude this section with a wide-ranging comment from a China-based institutional investor on the need to see governance and ESG as a process:. Chinese companies are generally financial weaker than their more established peers in developed markets. This is a symptom of markets being at different stages of development. For Chinese companies, survival is the top priority. Once they have gained enough market share and accumulated a certain level of capital reserves, they will start to consider ESG issues.
This will help them cement their market position and grow more healthily in the long term. At the moment, we recognise that the cost of not practicing ESG is not high in China. But things are changing, especially on the environmental front. We can see that the government is very serious about closing down small players who are not compliant with emission standards. The quality of air, earth and water concerns the livelihood of every citizen, and we believe that there will be heightened enforcement of pollution laws.
Corporate governance is also improving as public shareholders get more actively involved in major corporate actions. Having said that, shareholder structures remain highly concentrated, especially for SOEs in China, and external forces may not be strong enough to ensure a proper division of power. We see increasing numbers of entrepreneurs and companies more willing to give back to society and the challenge here is simply that philanthropy is quite new in China.
As society becomes more civilised and consumers become more aware of issues such as child labour and environmental pollution, Chinese companies will have to become more ESG aware and responsible. We have an A share fund, so naturally, we have spent substantial time and effort getting comfortable with both the market and the companies. There are well-documented risks surrounding investing in China, but the market has obvious attractions China is leading the world in some of the sectors, like e-commerce, for example.
As investors, we always have to balance return with macroeconomic risk, political risk, regulatory risk, and so on, and this is certainly the case for China. There is a general misunderstanding in China as to what suspension means: companies should only suspend when there is information asymmetry, not when there is uncertainty. We are paid to analyse and deal with uncertainty, and the market will find a price for it. In general, there are too many suspensions in China.
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