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The Business Corporation as a Political Actor

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Companies are being regulated by politics, but they also shape the political arena themselves, whenever they influence politicians and political parties. Moreover, companies fulfill public functions such as providing public goods, regulating their own business activities, or addressing societal problems, like environmental harms. Can such a mixture of private activity and public responsibility be legitimate, in a democratic society? Doesn’t this give corporations too much political power? Are multinationals different in this respect from other companies? These are central questions in the ERC-research project “The Business Corporation as a Political Actor’, which will run from 2020 to 2025. The project is based at Utrecht University, and led by prof. dr. Rutger Claassen. 

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