Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

There Is No Rawlsian Theory of Corporate Governance

  • Abraham Singer (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT:

The major aim of this article is to show that John Rawls’s theory of justice cannot be applied effectively to questions of business ethics and corporate governance. I begin with a reading of Rawls that emphasizes both the critical and pragmatic nature of his theory. In the second section I look more closely at the notion of society’s “basic structure” and its place within Rawls’s theory. In the third section, I argue that “the corporation” cannot be understood as part of this basic structure and is not, therefore, a subject of justice for Rawls or his interpreters. Finally, I show that Rawls’s inability to speak to the corporation is a weakness, regardless of one’s particular view on the corporation. I conclude by considering what Rawls’s theory helps us to understand about the problems involved in integrating corporate governance, business ethics, and political philosophy.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Arash Abizadeh . 2007. “Cooperation, Pervasive Impact, and Coercion: On the Scope (not Site) of Distributive Justice.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 35(4): 318–58.

Samuel Arnold . 2012. “The Difference Principle at Work.” The Journal of Political Philosophy 20(1): 94118.

Margaret M. Blair , and Lynn A Stout . 1999. “A Team Production Theory of Corporate Law.” Virginia Law Review 85(2): 247328.

Norman E Bowie . 1999. Business Ethics: A Kantian Perspective. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.

G. A Cohen . 1997. “Where the Action Is: On the Site of Distributive Justice.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 26(1): 330.

G. A Cohen . 2008. Rescuing Equality and Justice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Marc A Cohen . 2010. “The Narrow Application of Rawls in Business Ethics: A Political Conception of Both Stakeholder Theory and the Morality of Markets.” Journal of Business Ethics 97(4): 563–79.

Andrew Crane , Dirk Matten , and Jeremy Moon . 2008. Corporations and Citizenship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thomas Donaldson , and Lee E Preston . 1995. “The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts, Evidence, and Implications.” Academy of Management Review 20(1): 6591.

Eugene Fama , and Michael C Jensen . 1983. “Separation of Ownership and Control.” The Journal of Law and Economics 26(2): 301–25.

Neil Fligstein . 2010. “Politics, the Reorganization of the Economy, and Income Inequality, 1980–2009.” Politics & Society 38(2): 233–42.

R. Edward Freeman , and William M Evan . 1990. “Corporate Governance: A Stakeholder Interpretation.” The Journal of Behavioral Economics 19(4): 337–59.

R. Edward Freeman , Jeffrey Harrison , Andrew Vicks , Bidhan Parmar , and Simon de Colle . 2010. Stakeholder Theory: The State of the Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

David Gauthier . 1974. “Justice and Natural Endowment: Towards a Critique of Rawls’s Ideological Framework.” Social Theory and Practice 3(1): 326.

Carol Gould . 2004. Globalizing Democracy and Human Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jean Hampton . 1980. “Contracts and Choices: Does Rawls Have a Social Contract Theory?Journal of Philosophy 77(6): 315–38.

Joseph Heath . 2011. “Business Ethics and the ‘End of History’ in Corporate Law.” Journal of Business Ethics 102(supp. 1): 520.

Joseph Heath . 2014. Morality, Competition, and the Firm. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nien-hê Hsieh . 2005. “Rawlsian Justice and Workplace Republicanism.” Social Theory and Practice 31(1): 115–42.

Nien-hê Hsieh . 2008. “Justice in Production.” Journal of Political Philosophy 16(1): 72100.

Michael C. Jensen , and Kevin J Murphy . 1990. “Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives.” Journal of Political Economy 98(2): 225–64.

Anthony Laden . 2003. “The House That Jack Built: Thirty Years of Reading Rawls.” Ethics 113(2): 367–90.

R. G. Lipsey , and Kelvin Lancaster . 1956. “The General Theory of Second Best.” Review of Economic Studies 24(1): 1132.

Tom Malleson . 2014. After Occupy: Economic Democracy for the 21st Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jeffrey Moriarty . 2009. “Rawls, Self-Respect, and the Opportunity for Meaningful Work.” Social Theory and Practice 35(3): 441–59.

Liam B Murphy . 1999. “Institutions and the Demands of Justice.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 27(4): 251–91.

Pierre-Yves Néron . 2010. “Business and the Polis: What Does It Mean to See Corporations as Political Actors?Journal of Business Ethics. 94(3): 333–52.

Martin O’Neill , and Thad Williamson , eds. 2012. Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

Eric W Orts . 2013. Business Persons: A Legal Theory of the Firm. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carole Pateman . 1970. Participation and Democratic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Michael Sandel . 1984. “The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self.” Political Theory 12(1): 8196.

Andres Scherer , and Guido Palazzo . 2007. “Toward a Political Conception of Corporate Social Responsibility: Business and Society Seen from a Habermasian Perspective.” Academy of Management Review 32(4): 10961120.

Lucas Stanczyk . 2012. “Productive Justice.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 40 (2): 144–64.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Business Ethics Quarterly
  • ISSN: 1052-150X
  • EISSN: 2153-3326
  • URL: /core/journals/business-ethics-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 68 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 300 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 29th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.