n SA Mercantile Law Journal = SA Tydskrif vir Handelsreg - Corporate social responsibility : a company law perspective

Volume 23, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1015-0099
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2185



According to Bakan, 'the corporation is a pathological institution, a dangerous possessor of the great power it wields over people and societies'. Its sole purpose is, according to him, to make profits, no matter what.

By contrast, the editors of the have stated that the company is 'the most important organisation in the world', 'the basis for the prosperity of the West and the best hope for the future of the rest of the world'.
Companies can accordingly be good and evil, responsible and irresponsible. Whatever one's perspective of the character of a company, its activities will be scrutinized. It has to act in a socially responsible manner. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is based upon the concept 'good citizenship'. A company has a duty to society beyond that of an ordinary citizen as a result of its power and size, and the benefits associated with its status as a separate legal entity. Bad corporate citizenship and actions based on pure (especially short-term) profit maximisation have a negative effect on a company's long-term profits.

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