CASI Holds First Joint Conference on Corporations and Democracy

Corporations do not vote in elections, but their impact on democratic societies is immense, as demonstrated by the actions taken by corporations both before and following the events of January 6, 2020, in Washington D.C.

Some corporations and business leaders were motivated to stop specific political contributions to members of Congress who voted to reject the results of the November election. Online platforms took actions to address hate speech and incitement. These and many other issues lie at the root of how corporations interact with democratic governments.

Held in December 2020, between Election Day and Inauguration Day, the Corporations and Democracy Conference brought together scholars and practitioners in various areas of law, business, and the media.

The conference examined the complex interactions and balance of power among corporations, governments, and individuals in democracies today and consider how those with power can be held more accountable to society’s broad interest.

Following opening remarks by the Deans of Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Law School, panelists discussed the topics of the legal rights of corporations, the role of corporate money in politics, corporate influence over the policy making process, the impact of social media on other media companies and our society, the role of corporations in facilitating and supporting public corruption, and the treatment of corporations in the criminal justice system.

Videos and other conference materials can be found at the conference website here.

The Corporations and Democracy Conference was sponsored by the Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford Graduate School of Business, in collaboration with the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University, Stanford Law School, the Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School, the Division of Research and Faculty Development at Harvard Business School, and the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford.

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