The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility

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9780815790761: The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility
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The principles and practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR) date back more than a century, but the current wave of interest in this topic is unprecedented. This heightened attention is global and is evidenced on every conceivable measure. It is reflected in the growth of social and ethical investment funds, the dramatic increase in voluntary codes of conduct for companies and industries, and the number of companies that issue reports on their social and environmental practices and policies. Similarly, the mobilization of nongovernmental organizations to challenge a wide range of corporate environmental and human rights practices, the frequency of consumer boycotts and protests, and the number of organizations and institutions established to monitor, measure, and report on corporate social and environmental performance all demonstrate deep grassroots interest. In this book, David Vogel provides the first comprehensive, in-depth review of the contemporary CSR movement in both the United States and Europe. He presents a careful and balanced appraisal of the movement's accomplishments and limitations, including a critical evaluation of the business case for CSR. While acknowledging the movement's achievements, most notably in improving some labor, human rights, and environmental conditions in developing countries, he also demonstrates that CSR's potential to bring about a significant change in corporate behavior is exaggerated. The Market for Virtue explores to what extent future improvements in corporate conduct can occur without more extensive or effective government regulation —in the United States, Europe, the Far East, and in the developing countries. In other words, what is the long-term potential of business self-regulation? Vogel concludes that the amount of improvement that can be expected is far more modest than much contemporary writing on corporate responsibility has claimed. There is a market for virtue, but it is limited by the substantial costs of more responsible business behavior.

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About the Author:

David Vogel is the Solomon Lee Professor of Business Ethics at the Haas School of Business and professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include Barriers or Benefits? Regulation in Transatlantic Trade (Brookings, 1998); Kindred Strangers: The Uneasy Relationship between Politics and Business (Princeton, 1996); and Trading Up: Consumer and Environmental Regulation in a Global Economy (Harvard, 1995).

Review:

"This book is by far the most systematic and balanced analysis of corporate social responsibility as a means for firms to create social value beyond their immediate economic functions. It carefully examines not only the opportunities but also the limits of CSR in the absence of explicit regulations. The study combines sound logic with illustrative cases, and advances the sophistication of the CSR debate considerably." —John G. Ruggie, Harvard University, co-architect of UN Global Compact



"This is an excellent book, one that should be read and discussed by all interested in the CSR movement." —Harry Glasbeek, Osgoode Hall Law School, Canadian Business Law Journal



"The study is well written and empirically based, with annotated notes. A valuable, timely volume on an important business issue. Highly recommended." —L. J. Cumbo, Emory and Henry College, CHOICE



"Vogel knows a lot about the debate over corporate social responsibility (CSR), having been a part of the conversation for many years. His authoritative view is balanced by his evenhanded reliance on empirics when making suggestions about the best ways to improve social conditions through business." — orgtheory.net, 8/8/2006



"In engaging it with intelligence, precision, and craft, he has advanced significantly the debate on corporate social responsibility by setting the direction in which it needs to go." —Tom De Luca, Fordham University, Perspectives on Politics



"For my money, however, the clearest thinking on the subject is found in a new book by David Vogel...In 'The Market for Virtue,' published by the Brookings Institution Press, Vogel finds that good corporate citizenship is neither necessary nor sufficient for business success." —Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post, 10/5/2005



"Gives a succinct oversight of the main issues involved in the concept of corporate social responsibility." — Catholic Online, 11/22/2005



"Burns like a shot of bourbon going down." —Jennifer Weeks, Grist Magazine, 11/15/2005



"Gives a succinct oversight of the main issues involved in the conept of corporate social responsibility." — Global Catholic News, 11/19/2005



"Vogel raises a number of excellent points on the present and future of CSR and explains the balancing act governments and corporations must perform to enable social change." —Manda Salls, Harvard Business School "Working Knowledge", 1/16/2006

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9780815790778: The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility

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ISBN 10:  0815790775 ISBN 13:  9780815790778
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press, 2006
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