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5 months ago
Nonmarket activities of business support political alternatives that may be contrary to public interest. Discuss.
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Business and Its Environment
Edition: 7th
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The nonmarket activities of businesses are subject to considerable criticism. A firm must exercise judgment, and at times restraint, to ensure that nonmarket strategies are responsible and do not exceed the limits of public acceptability.
One such criticism of nonmarket action by business is that it can be contrary to the public interest. What is in the public interest, however, is often the subject of fundamental disagreement. For example, the antidumping laws that impose duties on imported goods sold at lower prices than in the exporting country are viewed by economists as harmful to consumers and the economy. Yet, antidumping laws have been in place for over 80 years in the United States, have been adopted by most countries, and are allowed by the World Trade Organization agreements. Firms, labor unions, interest groups, and governments use the antidumping laws against foreign imports, even though that may be contrary to some conceptions of the public interest. From a pluralist perspective, the public interest is identified by the interests of individuals and groups in the context of political institutions. The public interest thus can be advanced by business participation, since the interests of firms are ultimately the interests of those who have a stake in their performance, including shareholders, employees, retirees, customers, suppliers, and the communities in which they operate.
The Supreme Court has ruled that collective nonmarket action, such as joint lobbying to influence government, does not violate antitrust laws against collusion because the First Amendment grants the right to petition government. Firms thus have the right to form and participate in coalitions and associations to conduct nonmarket activity.
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