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Shareholders vs. stakeholders: Fundamental changes in an old debate



The emergence of the modern corporation in the late 19th century spawned a passionate debate that continues to the present day: What are a company’s financial and moral obligations to the civil society whose support is necessary for its license to operate?

This debate has waxed and waned at various levels of ambition during the past century, but one factor has remained constant: Whether by government edict or through voluntary initiatives, companies both public and private always have supported initiatives beyond their immediate need to maximize shareholder profitability.

This behavior

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