Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become the standard euphemism for the kind of social values most corporations often neglect in their daily practices yet must strive to achieve for all those affected by their policies and actions. From massive anti-globalization protests in Seattle and Genoa, to often violent demonstrations at almost every major national, regional, and international free trade meeting, ordinary citizens and activist groups around the world have come together to demand more transparent and socially-responsible practices from multinational corporations. The sudden collapse of such corporate giants as Enron and Global Crossing, furthermore, have revealed a more disturbing pattern of corporate greed and deception that had gone unchecked for far too long.
"Today, financial success is no longer the sole measure by which corporations are judged by their stakeholders, primarily investors, consumers, employees, and communities in which they operate. Companies are now expected to perform well in non-financial arenas such as human rights, business ethics, environmental policies, corporate contributions, community development, corporate governance, and workplace issues." (Meghan Connolly, CSRwire)
"Those in power have not always encouraged the dissemination of knowledge. History chronicles many battles over socially and economically strategic information: a struggle for transparency. Kings and viziers, apostles and priests, sellers and buyers, socialists and capitalists, dictators and democrats, bosses and workers - all depend on whatever information advantages they can muster. Information monopolies, particularly when exploited unfairly, inevitably lead to conflicts with rivals and victims." (Don Tapscott and David Ticoll, The Naked Corporation)
How does "Corporate Social Responsibility" (or lack thereof) affect our daily lives? What are your views on the ever-expanding role of multinational corporations around the world? Is corporate corruption a universal phenomenon, or just limited to a relatively few greedy executives? What can/must be done to alleviate such unethical practices?
"The interests of powerful nations and corporations are shaping the terms of world trade. In democratic countries, they are influencing the ability of elected leaders to make decisions in the interests of their people. Elsewhere they are promoting narrow political discourse and even supporting dictatorships and the 'stability' that it brings them." Learn more about the relation between corporate social responsibility, globalization, and poverty in TakingITGlobal's new 'Understanding the Issues' section.