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‘A man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children’- Wendell Berry, 1971.
This paper was originally presented at the 4th Bergamo-Wharton Joint Conference organized by the Department of Management, Economics and Quantitative Methods of the University of Bergamo and the Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics of the Wharton School on 1st–2nd July 2016.
The well-being of generations yet to come must necessarily be an important concern for the present. As an extension of Rawls’ ‘just savings’ principle, one of the arguments for sustainable development is that of intergenerational equity—the idea that future generations must have the same access to natural resources as the present generation. In this article, I attempt to reconcile the divergent positions of the shareholder and stakeholder primacy debate by proposing that directors—acting for the corporation—should preserve intergenerational equity. Three arguments are presented in course of this proposition. Firstly, corporations are perpetual in nature and their continuing existence is predicated upon the ability of individual owners to transfer their ownership. Second, directors have a higher fiduciary duty to the corporation and future shareholders, over that of present shareholders. Finally, in order to safeguard the interests of future shareholders, corporations must necessarily strive to preserve the natural and social environments upon which the future of the corporation and the wealth of future shareholders depend.
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- The Fiduciary Responsibility of Directors to Preserve Intergenerational Equity
Arjya B. Majumdar
- Springer Netherlands
Journal of Business Ethics
Print ISSN: 0167-4544
Elektronische ISSN: 1573-0697
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