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Fall 2023 Seminar

Law, Business, and the Public Good

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam
Grades will be based on class participation and a short final paper.

Markets and corporations have a complicated relationship with the goals and values of liberal societies. This seminar will explore this relationship through a variety of lenses: economic, doctrinal, historical, and philosophical.

In the first part, we will take a big-picture look at various possible ways to think about the problem of law, business, and the public good: Does business law need a “moral justification” and how should we think about this question? Should we limit “freedom of contract”? What are we talking about when we talk about “corporate purpose”? What should be the role of private and public actors with respect to the problem of the social cost of business?

In the second part, we will zoom into some of the most important policy and practical issues in the current debate, such as the role of institutional investors on climate change mitigation, the debate on stakeholder governance, shareholder activism on social and environmental issues, corporate political spending, and ESG lawyering.