Rights and Responsibilities of the American Business Corporation
Business and Human Rights (Manoj Kumar Sinha, ed., Sage 2012)
25 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2012 Last revised: 29 Aug 2012
Date Written: June 13, 2012
Two issues dominate discussions about business corporations in the twenty-first century: corporate social responsibility and corporate participation in the political process. Each of these issues has roots that date back generations, and each has been the subject of heated controversy for almost as long.
Despite the lengthy period of time in which they have been debated, and despite the current degree of interest in them, these two issues have not been examined collectively in legal scholarship. That is, discussions about corporate social responsibility ordinarily occur entirely separate from discussions about corporate participation in the political process. The two subject matters are treated as entirely distinct, with little substantive connection between them. This is mistaken. Any robust theory of corporate social responsibility must also address the question of corporate participation in the political process, and vice-versa. Moreover, I suggest that the two phenomena are, by nature, directly proportionate to one another. That is, the degree to which a corporation is deemed beholden to notions of corporate social responsibility ought to correlate to the cognizable rights that the corporation possesses. For each phenomenon helps to delineate the role of the corporation in our society – and in parallel fashion.
JEL Classification: K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation