The corporate social contract : from enlightened monarch to accountable democarcy : CSR and sovereignty
Paschke, Sasha Uwe Pieter Heinz
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ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Increasing inroads by the citizenry, at least in the Western paradigm for the past half millennium, has marked the history of the state as far as accountability is concerned. This process eventually culminated in the modern republican or associated form of democratic governance. Central to this evolutionary process was the notion of the ‘Social Contract’, famously nurtured by the late Enlightenment French philosophers. This concept relies on the notion that the state is crucial for civilized life, yet its power has to be curbed to avoid draconian excesses of power. An analogous process, it might be argued, exists in relation to the citizen-corporate social relationship: that this should come to be governed by what could be termed the ‘Socio-Corporate Contract.’ At present, the great majority of resources are mobilized by private entities, albeit at times in relation to the state, where the state plays a merely facilitating role (Cavanagh et al. 2003; Krasner 2001). This inherently goes to the core of any equity argument. The majority of resources on the planet that are mobilized by and transformed for human consumption: democratically viewed, the citizenry should have some or other governing say over the way in which the majority of resources are mobilized and the manner in which the accrued benefits are distributed (Sachs 2002). Marxist as it may sound, the foundation of such an argument could conceivably, and probably ironically, be traced back to the same type of philosophical foundations that spawned the libertarian republicanism upon which so many of our political Rechtstaat-values are inherently based. From this perspective such a ‘Socio-Corporate Contract’ seems essential, if not inevitable. The form that it would take, though, will probably continue to haunt our governors and rebels alike in the decades to come (Hutton 1995; Also see: The King Report on Corporate Governance in South Africa 2002).