¿A quién corresponde la responsabilidad social de las grandes empresas?

NUEVA YORK – Las grandes empresas se ven cada vez más sometidas a presiones, con frecuencia de organizaciones no gubernamentales activistas, para que asuman obligaciones concretas de “responsabilidad social de las grandes empresas” (RSGE), pero el hecho de que se exija RSGE y a veces se la conceda no garantiza la claridad sobre sus fundamentos o las formas como se debería aplicarla.

Se puede dividir la RSGE en dos categorías: lo que las grandes empresas deben hacer (hacer contribuciones a una ONG en pro de los derechos de las mujeres o construir una escuela rural, pongamos por caso) y lo que no (verter mercurio en ríos o enterrar materiales peligrosos en vertederos, pongamos por caso). Esto último es muy conocido y está sujeto a reglamentación (y a preguntas sobre cómo deben actuar las grandes empresas cuando no hay reglamentaciones al respecto en el país anfitrión).

Pero, ¿de verdad es la RSGE un buen procedimiento? Milton Friedman y otros críticos se preguntaban con frecuencia si era asunto de las grandes empresas practicar el altruismo empresarial. Antes de la aparición de grandes empresas, había principalmente empresas familiares, como los Rothschilds. Cuando ganaban dinero, iba a parar principalmente a la propia familia. El altruismo, en los casos en que se daba, era también obra de la familia, que decidía cómo y en qué gastar su dinero. La cuestión de si la empresa o sus accionistas y otras partes interesadas gastaba el dinero carecía de importancia.

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