How Corporations Govern: Taking Corporate Power Seriously in Transnational Regulation and Governance
Northeastern University - School of Law
Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 411-425, Summer 2005
It would seem to be a relatively uncontroversial claim among scholars, activists,and policymakers that corporations are significant contributors to the shape and content of national and transnational regulation and that their contributions have significant effects on social welfare. Yet, despite this general consensus, scholars have focused little attention on explicating the precise mechanisms through which corporations contribute to transnational regulation and governance or the extent to which the social welfare effects of regulation and policy may be attributable to corporate activity.
In this Article, I suggest the broad contours of a methodology for beginning to think about the question, “How do corporations govern in the transnational arena?” In so doing, I explore how scholarly attention to the role of corporations in transnational regulation and governance can contribute to the development of a richer understanding of the functioning and effects of the existing transnational governance regime. At the same time, through an analysis of some examples drawn from twelve years of practice as a transnational business lawyer, I suggest how an understanding of transnational governance, enriched through a focus on corporate activity and decisionmaking, can expose new sites for political contestation and new strategies for intervention by regulators, policymakers, and activists seeking to harness and shape corporate power for the public good.
Date posted: May 9, 2012