The Ill-Posed Executive

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The Ill-Posed Executive

"The nineteenth-century legal scholar Schultes described public trust rights as 'unalienable.' He explained that 'things which relate to the public good cannot be given, sold, or transferred by the King to another person'" (Cronin and Kennedy 142). More specifically, the "things" Schultes refers to are property common to all citizens of the world including, but by no means limited to, the air, the land, and the water. While the vast majority of humankind would agree in principle with Schultes's concerns, regulations on the use of particular natural bodies understood as public property are no longer strongly enforced. Upholding such rules is simply no longer a conscious priority among busy people. Most of us are concerned with our immediate self-interest both economically and politically, and we tend to ignore long-term environmental injustices unless those infringements affect us directly. Although we are quick to identify and criticize irresponsibility on the parts of violators, our concern rarely compels us to retaliate against wrongdoers and correct the wrongs.

Our neglect is being made apparent to us in essays regarding environmental issues. Nearly every author has an opinion on the environmental malpractice of corporations and their representatives, but even these critics fail to offer a strategy for curbing the negligence of business firms. This failure encourages an attitude of hopelessness among the environmentally concerned members of society and reminds us that a long overdue effort to uncover answers is in order. We need go no further than the source of the problem to find a workable solution: Corporations must hold themselves responsible to the public trust.

Regardless of the greater p...

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...ublic trust will be violated.

Works Cited

Cronin, John and Robert Kennedy. "King John to General Electric." The Riverkeepers. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.

Friedman, Milton. "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits." Cases and Readings in Markets, Ethics and Law. Ed. Bruce S. Buchanan, Robert Boyd Lamb, and Roy C. Smith. Needham Heights: Simon & Schuster, 1994.

Hoy, Pat C. "Leadership." Sewanee Review. Vol. C, Num. 3. Summer 1992.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. "The Qualities of a Prince." A World of Ideas. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford, 1998.

Reich, Robert B. "A Shareholder, And a Citizen." The New York Times. 5 November 1999.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "Wal-Mart Reports Record Sales and Earnings for Quarter and Year." 15 February 2000 <http:// www.walmartstores.com/newsstand/ archive/prf_000215_1999_4thqtr. shtml>.

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