The invention of the joint stock company (notably the Dutch East India company in the 17th century) was credited with setting off a revolution in capitalism, accelerating the allocation of capital to companies so they could provide goods and services needed by the public, and, presumably, enrich the populace’s wellbeing. It hasn’t always turned out that way, of course. One reason is what academics call an “agency problem” — the managers of a company are in position to maximize their own welfare over the welfare of shareholders, not to mention the public. Shareholders’ power is diffuse, manifesting principally in a board of directors that is often under the sway of management. Today, I took a step to boosting my own rights as a shareholder, by connecting my retirement accounts to Your Stake. Your Stake aims to turn every investor into an activist investor, giving individuals the power to start and publicize shareholder resolutions (on issues such as the environment, human rights and accountability) and find institutional investor support for them.