Corporate Capitalism and the Common Good: A Framework for Addressing the Challenges of a Global Economy

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This article ventures a framework for assessing the contributions capitalism might make to the common good. Capitalism has manifest strengths—efficiency, growth, support for human freedoms, encouragement for collaboration among nations that are not natural allies. Processes that generate these goods have negative consequences as well—the exploitation of labor, environmental harm, the marginalization of the “least advantaged,” the reduction of politics to strategies for advancing special interests. To constrain the negative consequences, public oversight is necessary. The challenge is to devise policies that will limit the harms while protecting conditions that enable free markets to flourish. The paper concludes with an illustrative sketch of policy proposals that exemplify this goal.
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