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Multinational Corporations and the Ethics of Global Responsibility: Problems and Possibilities

by Mahmood Monshipouri, Claude Emerson Welch, Evan T. Kennedy
Human Rights Quarterly ()

Abstract

Multinational corporations (MNCs) have provoked considerable debate about the issues of “efficiency” and “social justice.” The simultaneous surge in economic growth and inequality has led to serious implications for economic rights in developing countries. Using a rights-based perspective, we argue that in the human rights area the responsible party is generally the state. In the context of neoliberal globalization, however, the wrongdoers are often corporations. Reliance on state duties alone may not be sufficient to broadly protect human rights. Certain corporate behaviors are detrimen- tal to internationally recognized norms of human rights. Although private actions, media exposure, and lawsuits based on civil law appear to be the only practical way to put the pressure on MNCs, it is important to examine the possibility of an outside governing body to hold in check unfettered global capitalism and to bring accountability to MNCs’ policies that are socially detrimental.

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