Copyright (c) 2002 Tulane University
Tulane Law Review
WHAT IS THE "NEW" CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY?: The Socio-Economic Foundation of Corporate Law and Corporate Social Responsibility
76 Tul. L. Rev. 1187
Socio-economics offers important new insights regarding the appropriate contours of corporate social responsibility and the debate surrounding it. It does so in part by providing a more rigorous understanding of the fiduciary duties owed to corporations and shareholders in regard to economic issues, and in part by enriching the understanding of how corporations can help society.
The debate regarding the existence and scope of corporate social responsibility can be cast as a debate over the duties of corporate fiduciaries with respect to the maximization and distribution of wealth owned by the corporation and the opportunities available to the corporation. Compared to other approaches, socio-economics provides a better foundation for understanding the processes and consequences of wealth creation and distribution to stockholders and stakeholders, and society. It does so in part by focusing on distributional issues generally and property rights in particular.
As a creature of the state, with strong persona status, the corporation has special advantages for profitably organizing the mix of input factors necessary for wealth creation and distribution on a massive scale. Indeed, the development of business law can be understood as both a response to and facilitation of modern economic enterprise. It reflects and shapes economic behavior. Institutionally, corporate law can be understood as a cause and an effect among a cluster of interrelated causes and effects, all relating to economic behavior.
The emerging global economy, and the economy of virtually every nation, is dominated by major corporations. In terms of productive capacity, ...
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