The molotov milkshake: corporate social responsibility and the market

Moncrieff, L.M. (2011) The molotov milkshake: corporate social responsibility and the market. Law and Critique, 22(3), pp. 273-293. (doi: 10.1007/s10978-011-9092-3)

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This article investigates links between the final (milkshake) scene of P.T. Anderson’s film, There Will Be Blood, and a commercial advertisement for the sale of oil, which relies on a milkshake drinking analogy. The comparison probes a tension between the aspiration for capitalist economic growth and the self-regulation of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Business figures committed to the practice of CSR struggle with the possibility that deeper, systemic forms of violence inherent in market competition supersede their attempts at installing more responsible cycles of economic exchange. A risk remains, all the while, that social and environmental concern of the kind expressed in CSR is only able to acquire ‘value’ in the market, a relational or ‘dialectical’ system of exchange, where it meets contrasting cycles or events in the market. The value of alternatives (e.g. ‘going green’) is predicated on pre-existing products or earlier cycles of marketisation. The article discusses difficulties that CSR creates in terms of making public interventions and raising conflict with corporate actors, and a tendency for the system to leave inert, exposed or abandoned those that try. The capacity of CSR to eradicate the more vicious shadow of capitalist markets is challenged in the article. There is no release, the author argues, in a concept that is so essentially dependent on market mechanisms and on competitively motivated (ex)change.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Corporate social responsibility, Activist shopping, Self-regulation, Frictionless capitalism, Credit crisis, Inclusion/exclusion, The society of simulation
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Moncrieff, Dr Lilian
Authors: Moncrieff, L.M.
Subjects:K Law > K Law (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Law and Critique
Publisher:Springer Verlag
ISSN (Online):1572-8617
Published Online:03 August 2011
Copyright Holders:Springer Science and Business Media B.V.

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