Handbook of Research on Global Corporate Citizenship
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Handbook of Research on Global Corporate Citizenship

Edited by Andreas Georg Scherer and Guido Palazzo

The Handbook of Research on Global Corporate Citizenship identifies and fosters key interdisciplinary research on corporate citizenship and provides a framework for further academic debate on corporate responsibility in a global society.
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Chapter 14: The Politicization of Economization? On the Current Relationship between Politics and Economics

Michael Zürn


Michael Zürn Introduction In the course of economic denationalization and in the specific context of post-industrial society, some of the standard instruments for political intervention in market processes by the hierarchically organized nation-state emerge as precarious. As a first consequence of this, new regulatory instruments which are more compatible with the logic of markets have gained in significance. These instruments include incentive systems created by the state, private-public partnerships and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Second, a strong trend can be observed that aspires to international regulations which, likewise, must largely renounce hierarchical implementation mechanisms, irrespective of whether such mechanisms are based on intergovernmental or transnational sponsorship. Thus hierarchically conceived control by the democratic nation-state is becoming less important, relatively speaking; conversely, market-compatible governance, frequently implemented by non-state actors, is becoming more prominent. This is not the end of the story, however. The outcome of this process leads neither to a powerless state nor to depoliticization. The state remains an integral and necessary component of almost all new arrangements. It no longer acts unilaterally, but nevertheless it remains central in its significance. And – according to the central thesis of this chapter – this gradual replacement of hierarchical governance by market-compatible non-state governance does not lead to depoliticization, even in cases where the new regulatory instruments have largely replaced traditional and nation-state policies. On the contrary, both international institutions and the actions of large corporations are becoming increasingly politicized. Thus, ‘governance with and without government’ is subject to the...

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