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Class Supplement (早稲田国際AO入試 Extra Material, The Corporation)

2011年9月3日

Class Supplement (早稲田国際AO入試 Extra Material 3)
Read the following passage and answer the question. Write the answer at the bottom of the answer sheet.

Excerpt from The Corporation, pp. 153-154, Joel Bakan

The corporation was originally conceived as a public institution whose purpose was to serve national interests and advance the public good. In seventeenth-century England, corporations such as the Hudson’s Bay Company and the East India Company were chartered by the crown to run state monopolies in the colonies of England’s empire. During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries too, in both England and the United States, corporations were formed primarily for public purposes, such as building canals and transporting water. The modern for-profit corporation, programmed solely to advance the private interest of its owners, differs profoundly from these earlier versions of the institution. Yet in one crucial respect it remains the same: it is, as it has always been, a product of public policy, a creation of the state.

The state is the only institution in the world that can bring a corporation to life. It alone grants corporations their essential rights, such as legal personhood and limited liability, and it compels them always to put profits first. It raises police forces and armies and builds courthouses and prisons (all compulsorily paid for by citizens) to enforce corporations’ property rights―rights themselves created by the state. And only the state, in conjunction with other states, can enter into international trade deals and create global institutions, such as the World Trade Organization, that, in turn, limit its ability to regulate the corporations and property rights it has created.

Without the state, the corporation is nothing. Literally nothing.

It is therefore a mistake to believe that because corporations are now strong, the state has become weak. Economic globalization and deregulations have diminished the state’s capacity to protect the public interest (through, for example, labor laws, environmental laws, and consumer protection laws) and have strengthened its power to promote corporations’ interest and facilitate their profit-seeking missions (through, for example, corporate laws, property and contract laws, copyright laws, and international trade laws). Overall, however, the state’s power has not been reduced. It has been redistributed, more tightly connected to the needs and interest of corporations and less so to the public interest.

Question: How can public protect the public interest from big businesses?

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