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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: November 2012

Chapter 11 - A New Social Contract for the Twenty-first Century (2001–2011)


The first decade of the new millennium was marked by a number of shocking and disruptive events that injured American confidence in national security and business. These had a heavy impact on public expectations of corporate behavior and corporate self-reflection and responses. Americans were coping during these years with the national events – terrorism, war, and corporate downfalls – that stopped the high-rolling years of the 1990s in their tracks. These included the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York (icons of American business) and the Pentagon by Muslim extremists; the long list of company failures headed by the Enron scandal; wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and, later in the decade, the 2008 financial crisis leading to high-profile company bankruptcies and bailouts.

All of the bad news of this period has affected the answers to the book's key questions: To whom and for what is a corporation responsible and, with globalization, how are those responsibilities to be met? Regulation continues to be at the center of public debate, as the more traditional notion of the social contract, after coming unraveled over the course of the prior two decades, has been replaced with more complex relationships between corporations, governments, and the various cultures in which companies operate.

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Corporate Responsibility
  • Online ISBN: 9781139108041
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