Corporate Responsibility for Wealth Creation and Human Rights: a Book Project


Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana


As it is seen, this work is actually an unpublished  materials  regarding a book projectIn this book I attempt to argue for a radically new understanding of the ethics of business enterprises or “corporate responsibility” in the global context. It is new in three respects. First, the purpose of the economy is defined as creating wealth in a comprehensive sense. As a consequence, business enterprises as primarily economic entities are called to pursue this purpose that lies beyond maximizing profit or adding value. Second, business enterprises operate in an increasingly interconnected world. They consist of human beings and affect human beings from the local to the global level. To evaluate their impact, we have worldwide standards stipulated in international agreements: the human rights including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development. With the United Nations Framework (2008) and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN 2011) business enterprises have become accountable in a new way – in addition to States – for their impact on human rights. Third, not only individual business people but also business enterprises as organizations – independent of the duties of nation-states – carry moral obligations regarding human rights. This means that moral (and not only legal) obligations are attributed to organizations understood as moral actors (but not as moral persons). Without such theoretical underpinning, it would not make sense to talk of environmental, social or economic responsibilities of corporations.


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