Accountability in the Global Business Environment
Corporations, Globalisation and the Law series
Chapter 6: Bringing the TNC Under the Jurisdiction of International Law: Theory and Principles
A. INTRODUCTION This book now turns to the argument that if TNCs are to be allowed the freedom and power to behave as global entities, they can and should be expected to bear the responsibilities inherent in global citizenship as well. They need not necessarily be treated as full members of the global community in the same sense that sovereign states are. They should be subject to a lesser number of modified rights and obligations under international law, just as international organizations currently are.1 I want to argue that the exercise of power on a global scope should give rise to a corresponding duty to exercise that power responsibly and in conformity with globally recognized standards of care. Likewise, the ability to claim rights against other members of the global community should give rise to corresponding duties owed to those other global citizens. It is time for TNCs to take the rhetoric of globalization and global citizenship seriously in a legal, and not just an economic sense. The distinction is a vital one. While economists have long recognized the modern multi-national corporation as a global economic actor, and political scientists and sociologists have likewise recognized the part that TNCs play in international politics and society, international lawyers have lagged far behind. For the idea of global citizenship to be taken to its logical conclusion, TNCs must be subject to the principles enshrined in international law. One major implication of this would be that in addition to those international instruments they...
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