Authors
Martin O'Neill
University of York
Abstract
The focus of this article is on the place of the limited-liability joint stock corporation in a satisfactory account of social justice and, more specifically, the question of how such corporations should be regulated and taxed in order to secure social justice. Most discussion in liberal political philosophy looks at state institutions, on the one hand, and individuals, on the other hand, without giving much attention to intermediate institutions such as corporations. This is in part a consequence of a certain degree of idealization in terms of the background model of society with which such theories operate. Intermediate institutions are in an important sense optional or discretionary, and one would be hampering an account of justice if it built-in from the start particular kinds of institutions which we could imagine doing without. The only non-state institution that has received adequate attention in political philosophy is the nuclear family, in part because of its pervasiveness and resilience. But the corporation is probably second only to the family in its significance, in terms of its effects on the lives of individuals, and yet has been left without adequate attention.
Keywords social justice  John Rawls  Milton Friedman  corporate social responsibility  corporate taxation  regulation  basic structure  taxation  tax avoidance  egalitarianism
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