v4 n8 Moriarty Responds to BarbeauPosted: July 13, 2016 Filed under: Uncategorized 1 Comment
“The Demands of Stakeholder Theory for Corporate Governance” by Jeffrey Moriarty
A RESPONSE TO Aimee Barbeau (2016), “Deliberative Democracy and Corporate Governance”, Bus Ethics J Rev 4(6): 34–40.
Abstract: Aimee Barbeau advances a thoughtful critique of my article, “The Connection Between Stakeholder Theory and Stakeholder Democracy: An Excavation and Defense.” Although Barbeau does much to push forward the debate about corporate governance, she does it without undermining my thesis. For what Barbeau has shown is not that stakeholder theorists should not endorse stakeholder boards of directors, but that they should also endorse other ways for stakeholders to participate in decision-making processes within firms.
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I appreciate very much the opening of corporate governance to the debates surrounding democratic institutional design. But this I think puts the cart before the horse. As in political theory and political philosophy, I don’t think we can talk about democratic institutional design within the corporation unless and until we have a handle on why we want democracy there. What purpose? Why do we care about stakeholder interests? Because we care about domination? Because we care about negative liberties within the workplace? Are we hunting for a corporate “general will”? And why? We can’t come up with the appropriate institutional design until we have an answer to these questions. Just as we can’t come up with an appropriate democratic design for a state unless we have the same kinds of answers.