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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 85, Issue 4, pp 429–443 | Cite as

Corporate Social Responsibility and Farmer Suicides: A Case for Benign Paternalism?

  • Arun A. IyerEmail author
Article

Abstract

Although arguments are a good way of exploring the limitations and complexities of a concept or a theory we may find ourselves faced with a real phenomenon that challenges the existing formulations of a concept or a theory so strongly and reveals its limitations to us so starkly that we are forced to break away from the current discussion and start anew. Such is the challenge posed by the phenomenon of farmer suicides on our existing theories of corporate social responsibility. Contemporary discussions in corporate ethics are replete with many theories of corporate social responsibility which in one way or the other rely on the concept of the social contract. For the most part these theories have gone unchallenged and no fundamental limitations have been revealed. However, the phenomenon of farmer suicides in central India poses a serious challenge to them. This article attempts to show how the phenomenon of farmer suicides in central India starkly exposes some of the fundamental limitations of the contractarian formulations of corporate social responsibility.

Keywords

corporate social responsibility farmer suicides social contract 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMarquette UniversityMilwaukeeU.S.A.

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