The Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility

By Steve May; George Cheney et al. | Go to book overview

29

Corporate Social Responsibility
and Public Policy Making

CHARLES CONRAD JÉANNA ABBOTT

Governments create corporations, much like Dr. Franken-
stein created his monster, yet, once they exist, corporations,
like the monster, threaten to overpower their creators… .
Though the movement against corporate rule would be im-
possible, even senseless, without robust nongovernmental
institutions, community activism, and political dissent, the
belief these can be a substitute for government regulation,
rather than a necessary complement to it, is dangerously
mistaken… . [A]fter all, what many business leaders want
[is] replacement of government regulation of corporations
with market forces, perhaps shaped by the oversight of
nongovernmental organizations… . In this scenario, cor-
porations get all the coercive power and resources of the
state, while citizens are left with nongovernmental organi-
zations and the market's invisible hand—socialism for the
rich and capitalism for the poor.

J. Bakan, The Corporation

Getting the most out of capitalism requires public interven-
tion of various kinds, and a lot of it: taxes, public spend-
ing, regulation in many different areas of business activity.
It also requires corporate executives to be accountable—
but to the right people and in the right way.

C. Crook, “The Good Company”

Can corporations ever be expected actually to make altru-
istic decisions in the public interest (as they see it) at their
own long-term expense? Yes, on occasion; it is, however,
easier and more natural to make believe… . Corporations
disguise motivations skillfully, attributing to themselves be-
nevolence whenever they change strategies, even though the
change also increases long-term gains or reduces long-term
losses.

M. Bronfenbrenner, “The Consumer”

-417-

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