A Role in Corporate Responsibility, Conflict Prevention and Peace
Edited by Gabriele G.S. Suder
Chapter 5: Expropriation of Minority Shareholders or Social Dividend? Beware of Good Corporate Citizens
Wladimir M. Sachs and Marleen Dieleman 5.1 INTRODUCTION Terrorists terrorize us, and they often say that they do this for our own good, to force us to correct ethical ﬂaws in our societies and individual behavior. Some of the ethical ﬂaws they point out are not seen as such by us (for example, we do not think that treating women as inferior living property of men is right), but we agree with other critiques on unfair distribution of wealth, poor performance of social welfare, government corruption or excessive consumerism in general. Therefore, one natural response to the threat is to advocate removal of undesirable characteristics and thus to remove, at least partially, the “reason for terrorism”. Corporations, as the most inﬂuential and powerful actors of modern post-industrial societies, are asked to play their role, and thus become “good corporate citizens”. While the current terrorist threat is new in many ways, the argument presented above is not. It has a long tradition in Western political thought: communism was to be fought by developing capitalist societies faster and better. At times, when faced with a deﬁcit of positive accomplishments to boast about, communist propaganda claimed that the development of the economies and of institutions (such as trade unions) in the West was entirely due to the Soviet threat, and therefore the altruistic and internationalist Soviet worker and concentration camp laborer ought to be proud that his sacriﬁces improved the lot of his counterparts in the West, who otherwise would...
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