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On Corporate Citizenship

July 22, 2008, Belovedcommunity.org, On Corporate Citizenship, by Richard Hattwick.

For a given size of the organization, the corporation probably contains as many or more well meaning leaders as does government and civil sector organizations (such as our various churches).

In my view, if a citizenry through its government properly regulates the market system, most corporate leaders will find that business success requires good behavior.

Put another way, in a properly regulated business environment the successful business leaders would be individuals who practiced mindfulness and loving kindness. I assume that's the goal of the NSP for all sectors of socieity --- the economy, the polity and civil society.

Here are eight books: which, taken together, give a balanced picture of the potential for good that can come from a properly regulated corporate sector:

1. Charles Handy, THE HUNGRY SPIRIT ( Read what he says about what markets can and can't do; how the stakeholder approach to corporation management is what corporate law should require; and about the role of government in structuring the environment so that the virtues of the corporation are allowed to flower while the negative aspects of corporations are discouraged or possibly even eliminated).

2. Fred Kofman, CONSCIOUS BUSINESS ( This book builds on the thinking of Ken Wilber and sees the good corporation as one which serves the customer, provides a healthy community for the employees, and supports the individual worker in his/her quest for happiness through self actualization and transcendance. A number of business biographies support the argument that this can and has been done).

3. Leonard Sayles and Cynthis Smith, THE RISE OF THE ROGUE EXECUTIVE ( What you need to pay attention to here is the high level of ethics of American business up to the Reagan era and the reasons for the era of greed and cheating which followed).

4. William C. Frederick, VALUES, NATURE AND CULTURE IN THE AMERICAN CORPORATION. ( This is a masterful book which clearly points out the potential for good or evil in the large corporation. The most obvious lesson for public corporate policy is to create a legal environment in which the leaders devoted to the common good rise to top management while the self seeking would-be CEOs are prevented from rising to the top(Or if they do "sneak through" their efforts to do bad things will be quickly stopped)).

5. Ted Nace, Gangs of America ( Documents what can go wrong if corporations aren't required to be socially responsible --- how that happened in the U.S. ---Nace covers some of the actions that can be taken to restore an environment in which corporations become instruments for the common good).

6-7. Books 6 and 7, both by Robert Kuttner, Everything for Sale, and The Squandaring of America ( Does an excellent job of describing the desirable regulatory environment for business and identifying the many departures from the ideal which have taken place over the last three decades).

8. James O'Toole and Edward Lawler III. The New American Workplace ( Identifies three approaches to organizing a corporation in the era of globalization. Two of them fail the NSP test. But the third, of which there exist many examples, should pass the NSP test with flying colors. The third type fits the description of conscious business described by Kofman. So three obvious questions are, " What public policies and cultural traits allow the first two kinds of corporation to continue to operate? To what extent should the first two types be discouraged or even eliminated? What public policies would cause most corporations to adopt the third, NSP friendly, approach?")

from Richard Hattwick, 7/22/08

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