Monday, January 25, 2010

Corporate Responsibility

Reading the Opening Veins text, particularly regarding the economics of countries such as Haiti, makes me think about the corporate citizenship and responsibility in the world today. As the U.S. is a leader in many products, the author makes some interesting points regarding what a penny less for the sale of a product like sugar can do to an invested country, or what a country like the U.S. can do to those same economies when selling surpluses. World economics is fascinating to me, and I can see how the quest for the almighty dollar (or other forms of currency) can blind companies, or those who make the financial decisions. The lack of knowledge of what these decisions can actually do for the future of a country who is teetering on the edge of financial success or ruin is so great. I wish we taught more corporate citizenship at the university.


Dr. Angela Valenzuela said...


You're suggesting "corporate citizenship" BY corporations In the business school, right? But across the board this is necessary as a stock part of the curriculum. Or perhaps undergraduate economics courses teach this, but then again, you have to take econ to begin with to get this kind of exposure. Wish I knew more of what UT and other universities do.

More ambitiously, our state-level required curricula needs to offer that, too.

Wm. Chris Lee said...


As both a student and teacher of economics, I too strongly desire an increased interest in responsibility within corporations. In reflecting upon the several years that I taught high school economics (general, honors, and Advanced Placement Macroeconomics) I was committed to frequent discussions of the role of the modern corporation, especially multi-nationals. Through the varied discussions, research, and reflection over the years I have become somewhat resigned to the idea of corporate reform, especially when reviewing the history of unsavory corporate actions in the Galeano text. Unfortunately corporations are solely possessed by extreme profits and increased investment therein. The leaders of these business organizations are keenly aware that they must maintain a favorable image so as not to lose customers and investors; therefore we can observe heavily marketed charitable schemes in which corporations would have us believe that they are genuinely concerned about those they directly impact, i.e. sweatshop workers. The negative externalities associated with corporate ventures are further entrenched by the legal requirement that corporate leaders must act in the interest of the shareholders. I am deeply concerned with the role of today’s premier business organizations and their role throughout America and world. Perhaps with increased federal monitoring these organizations will contemplate their possibly detrimental actions more thoroughly before enactment.

-W. Chris Lee