Business Responses to Regulation
Edited by Christine Parker and Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen
Christine Parker and Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen* INTRODUCTION: FROM REGULATION TO COMPLIANCE The research collected in this book is concerned with a weighty social issue: the way that businesses respond to the multitude of efforts made to influence or ‘regulate’ their behaviour for the social and economic good. The activities of business – whether big or small – pervade most aspects of people’s lives, the goods and services they consume, their employment and leisure, their experience of the natural environment and their access to the most basic necessities of life. Even in China and formerly Communist East Europe, business organizations (albeit often fully or partially owned by the state) are growing, and along with them there is increasing concern with regulating business in these countries. At local, national, and increasingly global levels, governments and civil society seek to use regulation to promote social and economic goods.1 ‘Social regulation’ is expected to help avert environmental catastrophe, prevent accidents and ill health in mines, factories, transport and food production systems, secure the delivery of a range of essential services (power, water, housing, communication) in an equitable way, achieve justice and social inclusion for the disadvantaged and keep people’s assets and livelihoods safe from financial crisis. ‘Economic regulation’ is used extensively to curb monopoly, promote competition, and to set standards for prices and quality in industries where competition is thought to have failed. The focus of this volume is largely on social regulation. Despite popular belief that regulation was abandoned when neoliberalism was adopted around the...