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Should multinational corporations be concerned with the global common good? An interdisciplinary exploration

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Today, a growing number of voices are expressing a grave concern about the far-reaching consequences of the globalization process as it currently unfolds. Multinational corporations, owing to their huge economic power, their influence capacity and the multiple consequences of their activities, are the focus of much interest among those who strive to devise new ways to serve the common good - and more precisely, the global common good. The authors clearly identify important reasons for inducing corporations to devote attention to this issue more now than ever before. Beyond the forces that push them to short-term financial objectives, a growing number of multinationals are concerned about more complex issues of "responsibilities", and the concept of common good is slowly explored in their corporate behavior. The paper proceeds in four steps. First, it throws light on different approaches of the common good, stemming from three disciplines: philosophy, theology and economics. Second, it discusses the concept of "global common good" and some of its implications. Third, it develops three major determining factors that are likely to drive corporations to take the global common good into account: the deterioration of the biosphere, the rise of an anti-globalization sentiment, and the necessity to invent a global social contract. Last, the fourth section presents a number of counter-arguments that are often put forward against this idea, and suggests some possible refutations.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp2005/2005-28.pdf

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Copyright INSEAD. All rights reserved