The Future of Enterprise Regulation: Corporate Social Accountabililty and Human Freedom
Journal of Business Technology and Law, Vol. 3, No. 2., pp. 1401-1435, April 2008.
36 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009
Date Written: April 1, 2008
Free market capitalism is understood by most Americans as instrumental to the American dream, providing ordinary people with the economic means for their pursuit of happiness. The benefits of free enterprise, however, accrue increasingly to a small fraction of already wealthy high income earners, corporate shareholders, and business interests with a long, consistent, and well documented history of antagonism towards the interests of consumers, workers, society, and the natural environment. Emerging models of geopolitics, the economy, and the corporation suggest that this elitist, anti-regulatory posture of business is fast becoming obsolete as the value of human capital gains currency in the knowledge-driven, creative economy of the market state. The emergence of the market state can be viewed as a movement of economic democracy in which people expect accountability from business and free enterprise as a platform of opportunity for achieving their goals and realizing their dreams.
This paper examines the future of enterprise regulation from the moral perspective of social accountability, arguing that the era of global market states constitutes a new social charter in which business performs as a platform of freedom and opportunity for all. In this arrangement, legal and regulatory mechanisms structure business to reintegrate economic and social goals and capitalize human freedom. The measure of global business and market effectiveness is not just capital generation, but human flourishing. Imaginative business leaders will see this new era of capitalism as an opportunity for collaborative value-creating partnerships among diverse stakeholders in realizing the dream of human flourishing for America and the world.
Keywords: CSR, capitalism, enterprise regulation, business and humanity
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