Key Points:

  • Companies are frequently painted as social outlaws who need fundamentally to change their ways.
  • Instead of provoking vigorous reaction to what amounts to the moral delegitimation of business, this determined attack has been met for the most part by acquiescence in corporate circles.
  • The conviction driving this book is that instead of appeasing their critics, business should have the confidence to stop apologising, develop its own public agenda and promote the phenomenal benefits of competitive capitalism for the less developed countries of the world.
  • The current conversation about business and society is dominated by the perspectives and interests of those who live in rich western countries. Activists, analysts and others – however well intentioned – do not grasp the realities of poverty and the hard choices of development outside the rich industrialised world.
  • As a result, the debate about business, ‘responsibility’ and corporate involvement in development is distorted, with few voices from developing countries being heard and the positive legacy of business remaining unacknowledged.