Logo Utrecht University

The Business Corporation as a Political Actor

Work in Progress: Rutger Claassen

I just finished a draft paper on the call for ‘corporate purpose’, in light of the history of corporations. In the draft, co-authored with Michael Bennett, we recall that the chartered corporations of the pre-19th century were guided by (public) purpose, but that this led to popular complaints about arbitrariness in the procedures for granting charters, and lack of oversight. This provides a warning sign for current demands for corporate purpose which, by contrast, often want to de-politicize the corporation. We conclude that what is needed is a ‘proper politization’ of corporate governance. Meanwhile, I am also trying to write a Dutch essay about corporate political activity, taking big American corporations’ statement against Republican election law reform in Georgia, US, as an example.