Conceptual and Institutional Interfaces Between CSR, Corporate Law and the Problem of Social Costs

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Abstract

CSR is now understood as “de facto business law” and is increasingly the preferred approach to addressing the social impacts of industry. CSR as a political agenda assumes a significant law reform agenda. As a construct, however, CSR is unclear and its interfaces with politics, social costs, and corporate law are at times obscure. In particular, much of the thinking about CSR fails to adequately take into account the systemic nature of social costs, the legal history and nature of the corporation, and law’s general response to social costs. In this regard, the CSR agenda fails to correctly connect problems, some of which are systemic in nature, with remedies. Further it often fails to take into account existing institutional relationships. This Article examines the conceptual constructs of and interplay between CSR, social costs, and the corporation, identifies the reform agenda, and discusses, as of yet unresolved issues in this growing area of theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-53
Number of pages53
JournalVirginia Law and Business Review
Volume12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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corporate law
social costs
corporation
law reform
Law
political agenda
social effects
remedies
reform
politics
industry
history

Cite this

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title = "Conceptual and Institutional Interfaces Between CSR, Corporate Law and the Problem of Social Costs",
abstract = "CSR is now understood as “de facto business law” and is increasingly the preferred approach to addressing the social impacts of industry. CSR as a political agenda assumes a significant law reform agenda. As a construct, however, CSR is unclear and its interfaces with politics, social costs, and corporate law are at times obscure. In particular, much of the thinking about CSR fails to adequately take into account the systemic nature of social costs, the legal history and nature of the corporation, and law’s general response to social costs. In this regard, the CSR agenda fails to correctly connect problems, some of which are systemic in nature, with remedies. Further it often fails to take into account existing institutional relationships. This Article examines the conceptual constructs of and interplay between CSR, social costs, and the corporation, identifies the reform agenda, and discusses, as of yet unresolved issues in this growing area of theory and practice.",
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