chapter  2
12 Pages

Social Responsibility

These two ideas, individualism and rights, have permeated our understanding of capitalism and the role of business in society. Those concerned with some notion of the public good that goes beyond the immediate self-interest of corporations have had to fi ght an uphill battle. There have been several attempts to deal with this problem and argue that business has a broader set of relationships to society than stockholders alone and a broader set of responsibilities to the larger society. Many recognized that the pursuit of self-interest alone will not necessarily lead to the public good and argued that corporations must recognize that they function in a broader social context that involves more direct responsibility for their impacts on society. These efforts were trying to offer an alternative view of corporations and their role in society based on something more than individualism and rights, and contained within them some notion of community that went beyond individualism and a view of responsibilities that did not stem from individual rights.