Corporations play a tremendously important role in shaping the lives of almost every human being living on this planet. They wield enormous political, economic as well as cultural influence. Yet, they have not traditionally been considered important agents of reform. This is beginning to change. Over the past several decades, the growth of the Corporate Social Responsibility movement has reflected, and in turn encouraged, a greater awareness of the positive role corporations can play as members of local, national and global political communities and not merely as profit-making machines. Meanwhile, the failure of legal reform, either in Congress or the courts, to address many of the most important social as well as economic and political problems raised by the concentration of power in corporate hands. As a result, the private sphere is increasingly the space in which innovative attempt to promote progressive ideals such as equality and diversity take place. From Page to Practice: Corporations as Progressive Actors brings together scholars, activists, and practitioners both within and outside the corporate world to examine the role that corporations play – as employers, as participants in global markets, and as political actors – in promoting progressive ideals. This event also examines the limits and risks raised by a shift away from public regulation and toward the private sphere.
This is the keynote address, presented by Chai Feldblum, Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.