The Public Responsibilities of Private Capital

13 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 14 Dec 2011

Date Written: 2010


Working within John Rawls’s account of justice as fairness, I examine the way in which considerations of justice ought to inform managerial decision-making in large-scale business enterprises. I argue we have reason to reject a widely held view, which is that considerations of justice apply only indirectly to managerial decisions and serve mainly as constraints on profit-maximization. Instead, we have reason to accept one of two alternatives. According to the first, the principles of justice apply directly to decisions made by managers. According to the second, in the case of enterprises that provide goods and services that are integral to the functioning of the economy, managers have a responsibility to focus on the effective provision of these goods and services instead of profit-maximization.

Suggested Citation

Hsieh, Nien-hê, The Public Responsibilities of Private Capital (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:

Nien-hê Hsieh (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Morgan Hall 477
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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