In Business We Trust

23 Wake Forest J. Bus. & Intell. Prop. L. 227

Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 22-21

46 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2023 Last revised: 14 Dec 2023

See all articles by Adam Eckart

Adam Eckart

Suffolk University Law School

Date Written: May 9, 2023

Abstract

Throughout history, businesses have wielded significant power in society. While much of the analysis of corporate power has focused on corporate greed, which is typically portrayed as maleficent, corporate power can be wielded for good, as well. In the last several decades, the power of businesses has been wielded to promote entrepreneurship of veterans, provide for the retirement of teachers, advance societal benefits, and advocate for and promote underrepresented populations.

Opportunities to wield corporate power for good remain. In the last several years, businesses have increasingly spoken out on social issues affecting the country, including on topics such as LGBTQ+ rights, gun safety, and most recently abortion rights. In addition, and concurrently over the last several decades, recent regulatory structures that promote societal wellbeing through the use of corporate power have encouraged businesses to speak out and act on social issues, including those relevant to the environment, creating societal good, and through advancing diversity.

This article will examine these intersecting issues, including the areas in which businesses have recently spoken out and how governments, over time, have tried to encourage some involvement by businesses. With this in mind, this article will also examine corporate law and governance questions, including those relevant to fiduciary duty and stakeholder theory. Finally, this article will explore a contrast between private and public law and argue, on the whole, why business activism may just be more effective than governmental responses and public law solutions.

Suggested Citation

Eckart, Adam, In Business We Trust (May 9, 2023). 23 Wake Forest J. Bus. & Intell. Prop. L. 227, Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 22-21, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4316472 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4316472

Adam Eckart (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States

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