Enlightened International Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Social Irresponsibility, and Human Rights

  • Aloys PrinzEmail author
Part of the Ethical Economy book series (SEEP, volume 51)


The size and power of multinational enterprises (MNEs) raise serious issues concerning their social responsibility. In particular, demands that they employ their economic power to enforce pro-actively human rights in less developed countries (LDCs), is high on the business ethics agenda. This chapter focuses on the conditions under which MNEs can contribute voluntarily to enforcing human rights. First, it is shown that corporate social irresponsibility (CSI) is a legal concern for MNEs in their home countries, because national policy and enterprise policy may be complements for good, but also for bad. Avoiding legal problems in the home country is then a priority for all MNEs. Second, in contrast to CSI, international corporate social responsibility (ICSR), over and above the human rights minimum, requires voluntariness, since national policy and company policy are substitutes in this respect. Moreover, voluntary ICSR policies will be applied according to the willingness of employees, customers and investors to pay the price.


Corporate social irresponsibility International corporate social responsibility Multinational enterprises Human rights Voluntariness 


M14 L21 K33 



I’d like to thank Brian Bloch very much for extensive text editing.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Public Economics and Center for Economic TheoryUniversity of MuensterMuensterGermany

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