1. The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success (Carol Sanford)
The Responsible Business goes beyond simply presenting a new theory, or approach. It provides a holistic and systematic way for business leaders to identify and manage stakeholder relationships. It also describes common challenges companies face on the journey to becoming a responsible business. Review by Wendy Wilder. Read more
2. Embedding Global Markets: An Enduring Challenge (John G. Ruggie)
Embedding Global Markets is an extensive overview of the value of embedded liberalism in a globalised world. Gathering some of the most influential authors, this book addresses major challenges to embedded liberalism as a concept, and presents a strong case for its existence as a social bargain between open markets and social investment. Review by Ana Svab. Read more
3. Stirring it Up: How to Make Money and Save the World (Gary Hirshberg)
Stirring It Up narrates how Hirshberg, whom I consider a social entrepreneur, became the CEO of Stonyfield Farm, a company who makes and sells organic yogurt in the United States. The book is easy to read with lots of anecdotes but, most importantly, it has highly valued advice for those who wish to begin their own sustainable business. Review by Alicia de la Peña. Read more
mbedding Global Markets is an extensive overview of the value of embedded liberalism in a globalised world. Gathering some of the
most influential authors, this book addresses major challenges to embedded liberalism as a concept, and presents a strong case for its existence as a social bargain between open markets and social investment.
John Ruggie first introduced the concept of embedded liberalism in 1982 to explain the institutional framework through which the capitalist countries after World War II worked to “reconcile the efficiency of markets with the broader values of social community – „embedding‟ markets.” Its core lies in the compromise that allows economic liberalisation to be embedded in social community.
According to Lang, embedded liberalism is a compromise to allow the parallel existence of international economic liberalisation and domestic measures of social protection. At the core of this thesis lies the idea that “there is a more or less universal expectation held by citizens in the developed democracies that their governments will limit the costs and distribute the benefits of open markets through some kind of government intervention and spending, and that public support for liberalism depends on the willingness and ability of governments to do this successfully.”
Turning the attention to the challenges that embedded liberalism faces today, Ruggie recognises the threats coming from both the domestic political economies, as well as the global context. The problem is clear: “there is no government at the global level to act on behalf of the common good, as there is at the national level. And international institutions are far too weak to fully compensate.”
Ruggie uncovers three negative attributes of globalisation, first being the disparity of distribution of the benefits arising from globalisation between the developed and developing countries. Second problem arises from a growing imbalance in global rule making, while the third one shows that for many people globalisation brought greater vulnerability caused by “unfamiliar and unpredictable forces.”
The book deals with these challenges and their solutions in great detail, and in the end makes the unexpected link between „globalised‟ embedded liberalism and role international organisations can play in maintaining this current world order.
Ruggie proposes a solution built on the greater role of international organisations and corporations in ensuring social benefits, while at the same time growing local economies. As the first step on this journey, he recognises the formation and existence of the United Nation‟s Global Compact and ends on a positive note that the number of member companies is growing constantly and that the need for social security and benefits will be addressed accordingly.
Ana Svab, CSR International
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