How to Make Corporations Accountable

Submitted by phelim on Mon, 14/07/2008 - 10:36
By Dr Dan Plesch and Dr Stephanie Blankenburg Published in July 2008

Society needs successful business, but today business is taking over society. It is as if an over-indulged child had taken more and more liberties until it is entirely out of control. Everyone wants the child to do well, no boundaries are set, and before you know it the family is under the thumb of a teenager gone wild.

How did today’s corporations become so powerful and unaccountable? In this timely booklet, the authors show how the growing global reach of limited corporate liability not only undermines basic human rights but ironically also threatens the very economic system it embodies.

They write at a time when economies on both sides of the Atlantic are heading towards a recession which will leave behind a trail of enterprises unable to survive the new marketplace reality because of earlier profit-driven decisions. But while thousands of workers face losing their livelihoods and homes, those at the helm can hide behind a complex framework of law at the heart of which lies limited liability, a concept giving them in the ‘corporate person’ all of the power and none of the responsibility.

As the authors note: _“While the mantra of ‘no rights without responsibilities’ is used to regulate the behaviour of poor people who benefit from social security payments ‘The Unaccountable Few’ enjoy feudal privileges.”_

Calling for a complete overhaul of corporate responsibility, the authors highlight contemporary examples of how limited liability protects those at the top while devastating the lives of the innocent.

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