Corporate Social Responsibility: Guidelines for Top Management

By Jerry W. Anderson Jr. | Go to book overview

7
Legal Aspects of Social Responsibility: Business and the Government

At no time in the history of this country have local, state, national, and international governments played as extensive a role in the regulation, control, and operation of what takes place in the business and public sectors of the economy. This movement proceeded fairly slowly during the early days of the country's growth but started to gather speed and strength in the 1930s after the Depression and exploded in a multitude of new legislation at all levels of government during the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, after which it again slowed down somewhat. This heavy load of new legislation induced some in government to take a route of deregulation in various areas of industry to help offset some of the multitude of new laws and regulations; most of this deregulation activity has taken place during the 1970s and 1980s but still leaves the government with an abundance of new legislation.

This new government legislation leaves practically no corner of society untouched. It has had a strong impact on the interaction and the issues that involve the government, business, and the public. The government has imposed laws, regulations, and other forms of persuasion on both business and the public. In turn, business has used lobbying and its own form of persuasion on the government for favorable treatment, while the public in general has used the political process, voting, and pressure and interest groups to make their voice heard by the government. Business has relied heavily on advertising, education, and public relations to influence the public, while the public has relied on tactics such as public interest groups, influencing various levels of government for more legislation, not purchasing selected products, and protest groups of various kinds in order to direct business to comply with

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