Corporate Power and Responsible Capitalism?


Corporate Power and Responsible Capitalism?

Towards Social Accountability

9781786430922 Edward Elgar Publishing
Bryn Jones, Senior Fellow, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, UK
Publication Date: 2016 ISBN: 978 1 78643 092 2 Extent: 320 pp
In this important book, Bryn Jones uses insights from political economy, historical analysis and sociological concepts of the corporation, as a socially disembedded but political actor, to address concerns over the over-reach of Anglo-Saxon corporations. These firms are compared with their continental European and East Asian counterparts, both in their social and economic functions and their institutional structures. Jones then draws on alternative models proposed by advocates of CSR, cooperative enterprise and corporate democratisation, to argue for key reforms for corporations’ greater social accountability.

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Can business corporations be made more responsible for their actions? Abuses of corporate power, its responsibilities and scandals, pervade political, academic and public debates. In this important book, Bryn Jones locates the sources of this ‘corporate over-reach’ in key features of the share-traded corporations which dominate global economies and national societies. Focussing on the disembedding of businesses from their social roots, he assesses alternative types of business system and prospects for shifting from ‘social responsibility’ to social accountability.

Split into three parts, this book brings together a multitude of ideas and evidence from different fields to address: context and history, the social embedding and disembedding of business systems, and the pursuit and pitfalls of responsible capitalism. It concludes by recommending potential models for reform in the UK.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students in politics, sociology, public policy and management programmes will find this book both accessible and useful for its summaries of diverse literatures on business-society relations. The points of discussion will also be valuable for media commentators on business and politics, policy makers in the areas of business-society relations and campaigners and political activists.
Critical Acclaim
''Major scandals, disasters and crises have turned shareholder capitalism, so recently trumpeted as among contemporary society''s most successful achievements, into one of its most worrying problem children. In this highly readable account Bryn Jones rehearses in detail the negative consequences of the growing economic and political power of the modern corporation. He then reviews a wide range of alternative ways of organizing a market economy, examples of which are found in a variety of modern economies.''
– Colin Crouch, University of Warwick Business School, UK and Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Germany

Contents: PART I CONTEXT AND HISTORY 1. A Climacteric of Corporate Crisis and Over-reach? 2. The ‘Anglo-Saxon’ Business Corporation: Anatomy and Evolution 3. Social Challenges for Corporate Accountability: the Rise and Fall of State Collectivism. PART II SOCIAL EMBEDDING AND DISEMBEDDING OF BUSINESS SYSTEMS 4. The Neo-Liberalisation of Big Business: Disembedding or Re-regulating? 5. Financialised Market Accountability and the Empowerment of Shareholder Value 6. Contextualising the neo-Liberal Model: Social Embeddedness of Economic Relations 7. Alternative, Socially-embedded Business Systems: Germany, East Asia, and Industrial Districts PART III THE PURSUIT OF RESPONSIBLE CAPITALISM: CAMPAIGNS AND POLITICAL RECIPES 8. Communitarian Solutions: Business as Moral Integration 9. Environmentalism and Social Movement Influences on Corporate Responsibility 10. Corporate Voluntarism: Responsibility or Accountability? 11. Embedded Accountability: Alternative Possibilities and Political Perspectives Conclusion: Re-embedding through Democratic Ownership and Governance Index
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