Corporate Dystopia: The Ethics of Corporate Political Spending
53 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2013 Last revised: 12 Jun 2013
Date Written: January 21, 2012
This paper is concerned with the moral permissibility of corporate political activities under the existing legal framework in the United States. I unpack and examine the standard case for and against the involvement of business in lobbying and electoral activities. And I provide six objections against the standard arguments and propose that the wrongness of corporate political activities does not have much to do with its potential social consequences but rather with non-consequentialist considerations. My ultimate aim is to make sense of the intuition that corporate political spending is morally objectionable. I argue that my case against corporate political spending fares better than the standard case. What is wrong with the current system of regulation of corporate lobbying and campaign finance is that it is inconsistent with the principles of political equality and consent. It follows that by taking advantage of this unfair regulatory framework, business firms are making a contribution to undermine the basis of a robust democratic regime at both the societal and the corporate level.
Keywords: corporate political activities, political equality, corruption, free speech, consent
JEL Classification: D72, G3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation