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Private Property and Political Power


7 November 2017
Wageningen University

Rutger Claassen on Corporations – at Wageningen University

On November 7, 2017, political philosopher Rutger Claassen gave a lecture to Studium Generale in Wageningen on whether corporations should be seen as political institutions. The lecture can be viewed again on their website. Normally we see companies as private institutions that try to deliver goods and services on the market and thus serve the financial interests of their owners or shareholders. This private focus is legitimate, and further public interests need not be taken into account. However, the globalization of the economy has reduced the ability of states to adequately secure public interests through regulation. Companies are often expected to take over part of the public tasks. But what does it mean to cherish such public expectations for companies? And is that not at odds with their private focus? Or is the whole distinction between public and private obsolete? The lecture discusses the history and special legal structure of companies, theories of business ethics, economic thinking about the market and the political theory of the democratic constitutional state to answer that question. You can now see the lecture online! Go to: https://wurtv4.wur.nl/p2gplayer/Player.aspx?id=b8TcFQ