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The environmental responsibility of business is to increase its profits (by creating value within the bounds of private property rights)

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  • Pierre Desrochers

Abstract

Proponents of corporate social responsibility (CSR) typically consider "business as usual" unsustainable. Building on historical evidence that long predates the modern environmental movement, the contrary case is made that the interplay of voluntary exchange, private property rights, and self-interest has generally resulted in the so-called "triple bottom line" (economic, social, and environmental) through more efficient use of materials and the continual creation of higher quality resources. However, because market processes continually eliminate less competitive firms and tend to concentrate business activities geographically, political pressure brought to bear by adversely affected vested interests often results in the creation of policies that cause greater environmental harm than would otherwise be evident. Environmental CSR proponents often misinterpret these government failures as market failures, and characteristically advocate policies that further distract firms from their core objective and resulting triple bottom line. The article concludes by arguing that the most promising path toward truly sustainable development lies in the unwavering pursuit of profitability within the bounds of well-defined and enforced private property rights. Copyright 2010 The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Associazione ICC. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre Desrochers, 2010. "The environmental responsibility of business is to increase its profits (by creating value within the bounds of private property rights)," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 161-204, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:19:y:2010:i:1:p:161-204
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/icc/dtp046
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Desrochers, 2012. "Freedom Versus Coercion in Industrial Ecology: A Reply to Boons," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 9(2), pages 78-99, May.

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