New Book Challenges Activist Attack on Business, Personal Prosperity

Contact for Interviews:    

Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273

Washington, D.C., November 19, 2004—The Competitive Enterprise Institute is proud to announce the publication of a compelling new book examining the misguided movement for “corporate social responsibility” and its impact on business and individual prosperity around the globe.  

Over the past several years, an array of activists, international bureaucrats, and business theorists have been trying to force large corporations to adopt humanitarian priorities that go “beyond profits.” But author and economist David Henderson argues in The Role of Business in the Modern World that such a move would risk undermining the very system in which business activity leads to the opportunity and prosperity sought by humanitarian activists. That’s because now, as in the past, the primary role of business is to act as a vehicle for economic progress. This role depends upon business enterprises operating in a competitive market economy.

Henderson describes the unprecedented material progress made in the last century as a result of wide-ranging entrepreneurial opportunities and competitive pressures inherent in a market economy. Professor Henderson shows how the corporate social responsibility movement is based upon a set of false and dangerous beliefs about the nature of capitalism, profiteering, and business enterprise. “The effect of economic freedom is precisely ‘to enrich human relationships and achieve individual and group aspirations,’” writes Henderson.

David Henderson is a renowned economist who has served in numerous international economic institutions, including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He has also taught at Oxford University and the University College of London. Dr. Henderson is currently a visiting professor at the Westminster BusinessSchool in London.