Principles for Responsible Globalization
Persuaded by experience that a person’s moral sense contributes to success in business endeavors, in 1994 the Caux Round Table published certain Principles for Business as a world standard against which business behavior could be measured.
After a decade of remarkable economic growth in many parts of the global economy, the Caux Round Table notes that sufficient investment capital has been accumulated that, should it be invested wisely in poor and developing countries, a dramatic reduction in levels of poverty could be achieved for most of humanity. In the stock markets of the world some thirty trillion US dollars are available for equity investment. Trillions more of US dollars are available in short term money markets, in currency markets, and in possible debt financing. There is more liquid capital available to the owners of private business than poor countries could presently absorb into their economies.
Yet in most instances such capital is not invested where people are poor. In the minds of many, therefore, globalization remains vulnerable to a moral critique that it does not, and, some would say that it can never, achieve social justice. The Caux Round Table believes that, while private business can improve standards of living through the creation of wealth, business only responds to opportunities for profitable exchange. The investment of capital waits upon favorable conditions; such investment is reactive and selective, always searching for well-founded expectations of return as well as for security that those expectations will come to fruition.
It is the work of others, not primarily that of business, to create the fundamental conditions under which capital can be invested. Bluntly, it is in the first place the task of responsible government to provide for sustained wealth-creation. Business can be called upon to invest responsibly within the framework of the Caux Round Table’s Principles for Business once governments erect and sustain the requisite infrastructure of laws, regulations, and physical improvements to transportation and communication.
Bad government is a short cut to endemic poverty.
Poverty ends when governments and businesses both act responsibly to stimulate wealth creation and the fair distribution of such wealth, each playing their proper part in the development process. As the creators of wealth for society, business, however, has great influence with government. That influence can be used to promote – or to subvert – principles of responsible globalization.
Therefore, the Caux Round Table offers the following Principles for Globalization in the expectation that better government supporting the entrepreneurial endeavors of socially responsible businesses around the world will generate greater investment of private capital to create more wealth for poor people.
The CRT Principles for Globalization include new Principles for Governments, in addition to the existing Principles for Business. Just as the Principles for Business, these Principles for Government derive from two ethical ideals: “Kyosei” and “Human Dignity”. The Japanese concept of “Kyosei” looks to living and working together for the common good while the moral vision of “Human Dignity” refers to the sacredness or value of each person as an end, not simply as a means to the fulfillment of others’ purposes or even of majority demands.
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