corporate social responsibility
The classic – and still largely dominant – account of corporate governance has it that governance ought to operate in the interests of the stockholders, and that, in Milton Friedman’s (1970) words, ‘the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits’. This ought is grounded primarily legally: the executive has a contractual fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders as their ‘agent’.
Corporate governance – as a functionalist approach to the promotion of efficiency and wealth creation and an antidote to stagnation and corporate scandals – has been much in vogue for a few decades now. Influential publications on corporate governance rank among the most cited in the social sciences.
Milton Friedman, the influential Chicago School scholar and Nobel prize winner, wrote ‘The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits’ (henceforth ‘The Social Responsibility’), an essay which has become a highly influential text within contemporary business ethics. Friedman’s work holds a ‘determinate position of prestige; organizing and mobilizing so many theoretical and practical conceptions of what might be the responsibilities of business’ (Jones, 2007: 512).
Issue Editors: Ulf Larsson Olaison, Andreas Jansson, Jeroen Veldman and Armin Beverungen
This Special Issue of ephemera incorporates a diverse set of case studies: Luhman’s study of the potential of worker cooperatives as a tool for social change, Marens’ account of labor’s pension fund strategies, Poonamallee’s consideration of an Indian town’s struggles to avoid the perils of globalization, and Whalen’s analysis of labor friendly economic development efforts in Western New York State.