Swans Commentary » swans.com February 22, 2010  



Corporate Social Responsibility As A Political Resource


by Michael Barker





"Corporate social responsibility remains businessmen's preferred response to threats to corporate power."
—Neil Mitchell, 1989. (1)
"If you can't contribute directly, you contribute to activities that members of Congress hold dear."
—Brian Moir, 1999. (2)


(Swans - February 22, 2010)   In June 2003 Gretchen Crosby Sims completed a vitally important Ph.D. at Stanford University titled Rethinking the Political Power of American Business: The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility. Hardly counting herself as a political radical (3) -- Sims's doctorate thesis was supervised by Morris Fiorina, who is presently a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution -- the findings of her unpublicized study provide a critical resource for progressive activists seeking to challenge the mythology of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As the British non-profit organization Corporate Watch states, CSR "is not a step towards a more fundamental reform of the corporate structure but a distraction from it." Indeed, Corporate Watch advise that: "Exposing and rejecting CSR is a step towards addressing corporate power." Thus while Sims does not concur with Corporate Watch's anti-capitalist solutions, by thoroughly documenting the mechanics of strategic political philanthropy she nevertheless has undertaken research that can provide a massive boost to anti-capitalist activism. This article summarizes her study's most significant findings, and then attempts to use them to help explain why so many progressive public interest groups understate the antidemocratic political implications of CSR.

Sims opens the preface to her thesis by introducing Tom DeLay's (Republican-Texas) ostensibly philanthropic organization, the DeLay Foundation for Kids. She outlines a then popular story about an event that took place in 2003 at the Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, that "represented a chance for a handful of corporate executives to mix and mingle, swim and sun, and drink and dine with Members of Congress for several days in a private, luxurious setting." However, as Sims points out, this foundation fundraiser provides a prime example of the "corporate use of philanthropy and other 'good corporate citizen' efforts as a political resource." Indeed a "central thesis" of her study is that CSR "activities, which have been all but overlooked by political scientists, represent an enormous, largely hidden source of political power for corporations." (4) "CSR is a resource," Sims concludes, "that corporations can and do use to advance their objectives in the political arena." (5) In summary, Sims...

... estimate[s] that companies gave, at a minimum, $1 to $2 billion in political philanthropy in the 2000 election cycle. In comparison, they spent approximately $200 million on PAC contributions and $400 million on soft money contributions. Moreover, political philanthropy is just one type of CSR effort and the most easily measured; corporations make many other social and environmental contributions that have considerable political significance. (p.x)

The manner by which political philanthropy shadows other commonly studied forms of corporate power (i.e., PAC or soft money contributions) is problematic as it means that this "hidden source of business power" is rarely examined by researchers or activists. (6) Indeed, the $1 to $2 billion spent on political philanthropy in the 1999-2000 election cycle falls just short of the $2.6 billion that was spent on corporate lobbying during this same time period. That said, the above (low) estimate for political philanthropy is based on information disclosed by corporations that they spent around $20 billion on philanthropy during this election cycle. Yet the "the true level of corporate giving is believed to be much higher" and some "experts estimate that less than forty percent of all corporate philanthropy is made public." Thus if the "higher estimates of corporate giving ($50 billion) are correct, then business may spend between $2.5-5 billion in political philanthropy. This is potentially more than all the corporate money spent on PAC contributions, soft money and lobbying combined." (7) With such large amounts of money spent on political philanthropy it is clearly highly problematic that this phenomenon received so little critical inquiry.

In terms of definitions, Sims writes:

"Political philanthropy" refers to the practice of making a philanthropic donation to a nonprofit organization affiliated with or favored by a specific public official. Such donations may flatter a politician's ego, help him fulfill a fundraising responsibility to an organization, support ideological or public policy goals he is deeply committed to, or fund an organization employing a member of a lawmaker's family. (pp.74-5)

Sims traces the roots of CSR to the late 1960s, noting how prior to a 1953 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling, charitable contributions that did not provide a direct business benefit to the company were illegal. Despite early adoption, the success of initial CSR efforts quickly faded to the background, but she observes that since the early 1990s there has been a "resurgence" of interest in this topic, with a significant rise in business interest in "strategic philanthropy." In attempting to explain the growth of the CSR industry Sims suspects that rather than deriving from a growth in CEO benevolence "its rise seems to be driven by both defensive and market niche rationales." Here it is particularly important to note that while corporate elites have historically established not-for-profit corporations (philanthropic foundations) to manipulate civil society, with increasing regularity for-profit corporations are engaging in such activities. Thus, as Sims writes, corporations "are especially active in areas like education, child care, community economic development, and human rights enforcement that are usually considered the province of government. This is true in the U.S. and abroad." (8) In addition:

Many of the things corporations do in the name of social responsibility involve working with elected officials on joint projects... Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., for example, was deeply involved in promoting K-12 education reform while he was the chief executive of IBM. Along with a number of other corporate chiefs, he worked closely with governors, congressmen, and mayors to raise awareness, funds, and political support for standards-based school reform. (9)

Sims observes that while some analysts argue that PAC money (which has no restrictions on its use) is more valuable than monies utilized for political philanthropy "in other ways, philanthropic contributions are extremely valuable to a politician, perhaps even more valuable." This is because philanthropic dispensations are unregulated (there is no $10,000 limit as with PAC funding), tax-deductible, and "most... are subject to no disclosure requirements." Moreover, disclosure is only necessary if money is donated via a company foundation, and "[e]xperts estimate that of the $9 billion in corporate giving that companies disclose each year, only 25 percent comes from company foundations." On top of these benefits, another one that must rank highly in the minds of corporate elites is that "even if philanthropic contributions are made public, they rarely bear the taint often associated with campaign contributions." Finally, as Sims points out, "a campaign contribution cannot gratify a politician's ego in quite the same way as a philanthropic contribution can." For example, the giving of PAC monies does not result in a politician having a building named after them. "From the corporation's standpoint, then, political philanthropy is a brilliant political tool -- a large, quiet, and tax-deductible resource for building goodwill with elected officials." (10) Moreover, in addition to aiding corporations, philanthropic gifts may advance a politician's...

... ideological or policy agenda, support an organization that employs a family member, or improve the supply of public goods for the politician's constituents. Charitable contributions, therefore, can be highly valued by politicians, just as campaign contributions are highly valued. Moreover, when a politician tries to drum up support for a good cause, he is not doing so as a private citizen. There is no way to disconnect the power of his office from his solicitation. (p.97)

Another powerful motivator for CSR owes to the fact that the US Sentencing Commission has drawn up guidelines (published in 1991) that allow corporations convicted of federal crimes to have their punishment reduced if they have demonstrated that they are good corporate citizens. (11) Such legal precedents ironically make it even easier for corporate crime, which is an integral part of capitalism, to thrive unchecked. So while CSR can minimize punishment for socially irresponsible behaviour, on the other hand it can be used proactively to not only buy political influence with allies, but to allow firms to...

... develop relationships with potential enemies, gather information, defuse problems before they arise, and avoid negative publicity, consumer pressure, and regulatory scrutiny. ARCO oil company's philanthropic support for environmental groups is a classic example. In this sense, social responsibility provides a measure of inoculation against interest group attack and can be seen as a political strategy to manage relations with interest groups. (p.86)

Firms subsequently use CSR "strategically to manage their political environment generally and to advance specific political objectives." Here Sims suggests that at "least three strategies are plausible": (1) CSR can be used to build "generalized goodwill among multiple political audiences (reputation management)," (2) CSR may be used "to strengthen ties to particular political actors (relationship building)," and (3) CSR may be used "in an effort to secure a specific political benefit (political bargaining)." (12)

To ascertain specific information on individual firms' strategic use of CSR, in the spring of 2002 Sims distributed an "anonymous and confidential" survey "to senior government affairs executives at the nation's 500 largest companies, as identified by Fortune magazine for the year 2000." Given her placement at a leading elite institution, Stanford University, it is not surprising that she obtained a relatively good response rate from her survey, and of "the 468 executives who received surveys, 204 responded, yielding a response rate of 44 percent." Sims contextualized these data by conducting in-depth interviews on a not-for-attribution basis "with ten senior government affairs executives at Fortune 500 firms over a period ranging from May 2001 to January 2002." (13)

As Sims notes, "survey questions probing whether a firm ties its CSR efforts to its political agenda... are likely to be plagued by fairly strong social desirability bias." This means that corporations will be more prone to...

... deny engag[ing] in the potentially unethical practice of using CSR for political gain. As a result, we should expect underreporting of CSR-politics linkage. Moreover, the timing of this survey, administered in April and May 2002 just as a wave of corporate accounting scandals was topping the news, may have exacerbated the social desirability response effect. At a time when corporate ethics were under a hot public spotlight, executives may have been especially wary of admitting to any practices that might be construed as ethically questionable. (14)

This likely underreporting meant that Sims considered that her estimate of the monies spent on political philanthropy "should therefore be considered conservative." It is also interesting to note that political philanthropy has become so passé that: "Nearly three-quarters of the companies said that they are approached at least five times a year by public officials (or their staffs or allies) with requests to give money to a particular nonprofit organization." (While around a third of the companies surveyed "are hit with more than twenty such appeals each year." (15)) That said, the ball is clearly in the court of the bounty holders. Sims reported how one...

... executive says his company has taken action in the name of corporate responsibility to build a bridge to a powerful citizen group -- and then worked with that citizen group to build political momentum against a piece of legislation that would have hurt the company. In an explicit quid pro quo, the firm agreed to publicly call for stricter limits on the use of its product in certain circumstances; the citizen group (normally the firm's political opponent) then publicly called for the defeat of legislation that would have raised taxes on the firm's product. The company not only was lauded in the press and among politicians for its good corporate citizenship, but it got its priority political objective accomplished, killing the unfavorable bill. (p.122)

As Sims rightly points out, "CSR contributions might thus be viewed as the velvet to the PAC contributions hammer. Together, they are powerful tools for companies in the political arena." (16)

To further extend the analyses derived from her survey data, Sims examined congressional hearings to determine which Fortune 500 companies obtained access to Congress over the four-year period of 1997-2000. According to Sims, analysing which corporations "testified before congressional committees, and how often" was an important phenomenon to study because (1) "being invited to testify gives companies the opportunity to present information and arguments that may sway a legislator's thinking," and (2) "hearing rosters reflect who already has access." (17)

Overall, three striking implications emerge from this analysis. First, a reputation for good corporate citizenship helps a company gain access to Congress. In quantitative analysis, the three most powerful determinants of whether a firm testifies before Congress are revenues, lobbying expenditures, and a reputation for corporate responsibility. The effect of a good reputation dwarfs those of more obvious corporate political strategies such as PAC and soft money contributions. (p. 154)


The key proposition of this research is that lawmakers grant access not just to superior informants and superior financial contributors, but also to superior partners in public goods provision. Accordingly, they may privilege the interests of actors they see as helping them improve the quality of life in their communities. And while other interest groups can offer legislators money and information, they cannot compete with corporations in this respect. (p.156)

Clearly political philanthropy is an under-theorized yet vitally important aspect of CSR. However, because so little attention has focused on this aspect of corporate power, otherwise concerned citizens have been hoodwinked into believing that CSR is for the most part undertaken in a socially responsible way; that is, to promote the public good, not corporate profits. Understanding how this lapse occurred is vital if we as a society are not to make similar mistakes in the future. Indeed, if one does not tackle the problems associated with corporate power holistically, it is easy to act to work for reforms that simply displace, not diminish, corporate power. On this point Sims reports how:

One senior executive whom I interviewed in 2001 predicted an upswing in political corporate citizenship should Congress pass serious campaign finance reform, which it did in 2002. He explained, "If campaign finance reform passes, we'll have to do a hell of a lot more in strategic philanthropy, because that's the only way to help these guys out." In his view, political philanthropy is a substitute for PAC or soft money contributions. (p.169)

Here it should be recognized that the political philanthropy of for-profit corporations serves much the same purpose as that of their not-for-profit siblings, philanthropic foundations -- that is, to sustain and legitimize capitalism. Thus it is more than a little worrying that the main network in the United States that works to hold corporations accountable to the public, Corporate Ethics International's Business Ethics Network, is funded by liberal foundations. A leading member of this reformist network is CorpWatch, a group "that has, with the strong support of elite funders, steadfastly refused to submit not-for-profit corporations to the same critical scrutiny that they apply to their for-profit counterparts." (18) Indeed, the heavy reliance of CorpWatch on non-for-profit corporations recently led them to promote Tonya Hennessey to become their project director; an individual who had in the past served for eight years as a foundations and major gifts officer at Greenpeace International. By way of example of the compatibility of CorpWatch's work with capitalist prerogatives, one could look at the organizer of their recently launched Crocodyl project, Ian Elwood; this is because after setting up this project in 2007 he left them to join the staff of WiserEarth, a Web site-based project of the Paul Hawken's Natural Capital Institute. On Hawken, Joel Kovel observes that...

... for all the vigor of Hawken's anti-corporate polemic, he remains a believer in reform and not revolution. Hawken has no revolutionary goal in mind, quite the contrary. As the phrase, "natural capitalism," suggests, the urge is to save the existing system from its own destructivity, not to replace it. (19)

Not affiliated in any way to CorpWatch, the similarly named British-based group Corporate Watch is far more critical of CSR. They write: "Since companies cannot act in any wider interest than the interest of profit, CSR is of limited use in creating social change. Since CSR is also a vehicle for companies to thwart attempts to control corporate power and to gain access to markets, CSR is a problem not a solution." Speaking frankly in ways that one might never expect from members of the Business Ethics Network, they add:

Efforts to control corporations' destructive impacts must have a critique of corporate power at their heart and a will to dismantle corporate power as their goal, otherwise they reinforce rather than challenge power structures, and undermine popular struggles for autonomy, democracy, human rights and environmental sustainability.

Given the reformist nature of CorpWatch's activities it is especially ironic that their current editor, Terry Allen, has been a senior editor for In These Times magazine since 1998. This is because In These Times was founded in 1976 by James Weinstein, an influential New Left historian whose popular work shed much needed light on the manipulative strategies employed by liberal elites to co-opt critics of capitalism. In his groundbreaking book, The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918 (Beacon Press, 1968), Weinstein wrote:

The confusion over what liberalism means and who liberals are is deep-seated in American society. In large part this is because of the change in the nature of liberalism from the individualism of laissez faire in the nineteenth century to the social control of corporate liberalism in the twentieth. Because the new liberalism of the Progressive Era put its emphasis on cooperation and social responsibility, as opposed to unrestrained "ruthless" competition, so long associated with businessmen in the age of the Robber Baron, many believed then, and more believe now, that liberalism was in its essence anti big business. Corporation leaders have encouraged this belief. False consciousness of the nature of American liberalism has been one of the most powerful ideological weapons that American capitalism has had in maintaining its hegemony. (p.xi)

Of course, Weinstein acknowledged that while the "original impetus for many reforms [or regulation in the common interest] came from those at or near the bottom of the American social structure, ... few reforms were enacted without the tacit approval, if not the guidance, of the large corporate interests." In the same vein, Weinstein says it was even more important that "businessmen were able to harness to their own ends the desire of intellectuals and middle class reformers to bring together 'thoughtful men of all classes' in 'a vanguard for the building of the good community.'" "These ends," as Weinstein succinctly notes, being "the stabilization, rationalization, and continued expansion of the existing political economy, and, subsumed under that, the circumscription of the Socialist movement with its ill-formed, but nevertheless dangerous ideas for an alternative form of social organization." (20) Unfortunately this process of co-optation provides an accurate description of the means by which not-for-profit corporations exert reformist (but not revolutionary) pressure on their for-profit counterparts through ostensibly radical groups like CorpWatch. As Weinstein demonstrated long ago, corporate elites adopted the principles of "cooperation and social responsibility" to sustain capitalism's inequalities, not to remedy them. To campaign for Corporate Social Responsibility in this present day is akin to demanding the institutionalization of elite social engineering. Capitalist corporations will never be socially responsible, this fact is plain to see; thus the sooner progressive activists identify their enemy as capitalism, not corporate greed or a lack of good-will, then the sooner they will be able to create an equitable world whose political and economic system is premised on social responsibility, not to corporate elites, but instead to all people.


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1.  Neil Mitchell, The Generous Corporation: A Political Analysis of Economic Power (Yale University Press, 1989), pp.143-4. Sims notes that, "For Mitchell, the doctrine of corporate social responsibility is a defensive ideology: a tool for responding to threats rather than a tool for seizing opportunities and acquiring benefits." (p.58)  (back)

2.  Cited in Frank Bruni, "Donors Flock to University Center Linked to Senate Majority Leader," The New York Times, May 8, 1999.  (back)

3.  Gretchen Crosby Sims's far-from-radical politics are well summarized in her thesis' conclusions: "The notion that the special corporate interest conflicts with the public interest is so obvious, and so entrenched in scholarly and popular wisdom, that it seems hardly worth detailing. But the pervasiveness of this special interest assumption is puzzling when juxtaposed with all we know about the rise of corporate social responsibility. Indeed, the widespread practice of CSR requires reexamining the relationship between the corporate interest and the public interest -- and admitting that corporations can often act in the public interest even as they pursue their own special interests." (p.163)

There is of course no doubt that corporations act in the public interest sometimes. However, corporations act in the public interest only so far as they make concessions to the public to sustain capitalism. Their efforts to bolster the status quo through the liberal philanthropy of not-for-profit corporations has already been extensively reviewed elsewhere (see the excellent work of Joan Roelofs).

Previously Sims "served as domestic policy adviser for education and family issues" to Senator Bill Bradley (Democrat-New Jersey) -- who was also a board member of JPMorgan Chase Bank -- in his 2000 presidential campaign, and has worked for the elite think tank the Council on Foreign Relations. Presently, Sims is the education program manager at the Joyce Foundation, which is one of Chicago's largest liberal foundations. Incidentally, the former lead program officer at the Joyce foundation (for nine years), Warren Chapman, later served as the vice president for Corporate Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase; while President Barack Obama served as a board member of the Joyce Foundation from 1998 until 2001.  (back)

4.  Sims suggest that CSR can encompass the following: "philanthropic giving, employee volunteerism programs, environmental protection and conservation steps, cause marketing, employer of choice initiatives, community economic development, ethics codes, and triple-bottom line reporting." (p.vii) Sims highlights the launch of a number of non-profit organizations whose work is related to CSR, these include: Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College (founded in 1985), Caux Round Table (1986), Social Venture Network (1987), the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economics (1989), the Points of Light Foundation (1990), the Business for Social Responsibility (1992), the Ethics Officers Association (1992), Global Reporting Initiative (1997), the U.N. Global Compact (1999), the Global Sullivan Principles (1999), and the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy (2000). (pp.6-7)  (back)

5.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, p.167.  (back)

6.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, p.xii. Sims points out that other work that has drawn attention to the use of philanthropy as a political tool include Steven Neiheisel, Corporate Strategy and the Politics of Goodwill: A Political Analysis of Corporate Philanthropy in America (Peter Lang, 1994), and Wendy Hansen and Neil Mitchell, "Disaggregating and Explaining Corporate Political Activity: Domestic and Foreign Corporations in National Politics," American Political Science Review, 94, 2000, pp.891-903.

With regard to corporate philanthropy, in 2001 corporations gave away $9 billion in cash and products (a decrease from $11 billion in 2000). On top of this, companies "also provide substantial support to nonprofit organizations that is not counted as corporate philanthropy in the form of sponsorships, cause-related marketing, advertising, and public relations, as well as through corporate donations of facilities and volunteer labor. The figures for corporate philanthropy therefore underestimate the real value of financial support companies provide to nonprofits." (p.10) The use of corporate foundations also provides an important means of philanthropy, and "In 1977, 40 percent of Fortune 500 firms sponsored foundations; that had risen to 74 percent by 1987." (p.11)  (back)

7.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, p.88, p.89.  (back)

8.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, p.4, p.12, pp.25-6, p.28. "Among large corporations, health and human services charities received 32 percent of donations in 2000, as did education, which has been the number one cause favored by corporations in recent years." (p.12)

For an example of how corporations are replacing government functions, see Amy Borrus, "Commerce Reweaves the Social Fabric," Business Week, August 28, 2000; for other examples, see President Bush's Points of Light Foundation, and President Reagan's Task Force on Private Sector Initiatives, "which called on corporate America to respond to the 1981 budget cuts by giving more social support itself." (p.65)

As Bobby Banerjee writes, it is important to remember that, "Corporations are one of the largest receivers of welfare in the USA, in the form of direct subsidies that run over $75 billion (Hertz, 2001). The poorer states in the USA having the greatest income inequality not surprisingly offer the largest tax concessions and other subsidies, not to mention the non-financial benefits of lax environmental regulation and a 'flexible' labor force (meaning no unions). Caring for the corporation has become a bigger business than the caring corporation." Bobby Banerjee, "Corporate Social Responsibility: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," Critical Sociology, 34, 2008, p.69. Banerjee writes:

"Large transnational corporations responsible for major environmental disasters and negative social impacts in the Third World (Union Carbide, Nike, Exxon, Shell to name a few) rather than lose their licence to operate have actually become stronger and more powerful whether through mergers, restructures or relentless public relations campaigns. While it is true that public outcry and consumer boycotts have forced these corporations to change some practices and develop codes of conduct it is important to realize that these codes are voluntary and not legally enforceable." (p.62)  (back)

9.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, p.67. Shortly after retiring from IBM in late 2002, Gerstner went on to become the chair of the infamous Carlyle Group.  (back)

10.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, pp.78-80.  (back)

11.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, p.70.  (back)

12.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, p.90.  (back)

13.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, p.93, p.94.  (back)

14.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, p.99. "One respondent made abundantly clear just how inappropriate he thought it was to link CSR to politics. He scribbled this coda at the bottom of his survey: 'Dumb survey. Implication from questions is legislative action, contributions for legislative races, philanthropic contributions, community involvement and support are all tied together and used for legislative gains. It just isn't so, except rarely, with unethical people, in my view.' Based on the survey results, this respondent would probably be surprised at how many unethical peers he has.

"In contrast, a former government affairs executive for a tobacco company says his company used philanthropy routinely to advance political objectives. His firm recognized early on the potential political value to philanthropy, and began using it in the 1970s 'to put a white hat on a black hat industry.' They began targeting politicians with their philanthropy, putting arts programs in the districts of key local lawmakers.

"[He noted that] 'We had a program in which we had our political people identify the politicians who were most important to us, and then identify their favorite charities. Then we'd make contributions to those charities. We realized you could do the philanthropy that both made you look good to the public and served your political objectives -- that there's no conflict between the two.'

"This lobbyist believes the tobacco company was ahead of its peers in recognizing philanthropy's dual political and public relations benefits. That is changing now, he says, and more companies are attuned to the political potential of corporate giving." (p.113)  (back)

15.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, pp.96-7. Later on in her thesis Sims adds: "My theoretical argument has generally relied on the traditional perspective; it assumes that corporations use CSR as a resource to win benefits from politicians, not vice versa. But the findings here provide support for both views and considerably more study is required before we can determine which framework is more accurate." (p.165)  (back)

16.  Sims, Rethinking the Political Power of American Business, p.123.  (back)

17.  Sims expands upon these two points noting how: "In hearings, firms have the chance to make themselves look good and to make their case for a particular policy. Moreover, they often have the chance to meet with legislators or staffers outside the hearing in informal meetings, to submit additional documents for staffers to read, and to be available for follow-up conversations by phone or in person. Second, and more important, hearing rosters reflect who already has access. A company cannot simply decide it wants to testify on a particular issue and drop by a hearing. It must be invited. For any given hearing, usually only one or two firms will be called upon to provide 'the corporate perspective' in addition to other witnesses who offer environmental, labor, academic, or governmental perspectives." (pp.126-7)

She adds: "In this study, therefore, I exclude such 'hostile testimony' and count only the more routine testimony appearances in which a company is invited to give its thoughts on general policy questions. I also exclude hearings dedicated to issues that affect just one company and to which there would be no flexibility to invite other companies." (p.128)  (back)

18.  According to CorpWatch's 2007-2008 Annual Report over 75% of their total income (which is $700,000) is derived from institutional donors, which includes the like of the JEHT Foundation, the Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.  (back)

19.  Joel Kovel, "The Justifiers: A Critique of Julian Simon, Stephan Schmidheiny, and Paul Hawken on Capitalism and Nature," Capitalism Nature Socialism, 10 (3), 1999. Later Kovel writes: "The appearance of green-style capitalists [like Paul Hawken] and consumers is real enough, and reflects the various ways that the ecological crisis can be put into the commodity form. As soon as this tendency begins to succeed according to the marketplace, however, it tends to stop being ecological and to start displaying the patterns of destructiveness typical of big business. The case of the highly successful personal care enterprise, The Body Shop, starkly reveals that green consumerism negates itself precisely to the extent that it succeeds. As with many other 'green' interventions, the force field of capital readily encompassed and corrupted the ecological impulse."  (back)

20.  James Weinstein, The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918 (Beacon Press, 1968), pp.ix-x.  (back)


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Published February 22, 2010