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The Responsibility of a Corporation: An Attempt at Implementation, 20 Villanova Law Review 938 (1975)


The case of Medical Committee for Human Rights v. SEC raised some interesting questions. Why did the directors of the corporation act as they did? How should society judge these actions? Resolution of these issues involves consideration of psychological and legal doctrines, as well as an assessment of the social and individual meaning of the professional roles of psychoanalyst and lawyer.

While these questions are relevant to any discussion of corporate social responsibility, this article does not claim to provide definitive answers; it is merely an attempt to demonstrate that the various strands of thought, doctrine and argument examined herein provide insights into the specific questions raised by the Medical Committee litigation. If the board of directors of the corporation cannot be psychoanalyzed to determine why they acted as they did, an attempt can at least be made to determine the relevance of Freudian thought to formulation of a system for evaluating those actions. Similarly, the thought of Herbert Marcuse—who is widely regarded as having provided the philosophical basis for much of the contemporary protest against industralized society—will be examined insofar as it is relevant to a resolution of the questions discussed herein. Finally, the author will attempt to delineate what is meant by denominating corporate social responsibility as a legal question.

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