The Corporate Obligations Debate

Patrick Deneen and Andy Puzder debate the obligations of business.

The role of American business in public life is under scrutiny. Over the last decade, challenges to the corporate status quo have sprung up from across the political spectrum. Some have criticized business practices that allegedly undermine the resilience of American capitalism. Others have questioned the basic, shareholder-centric structures of the American private sector. Meanwhile, the rise of so-called “woke capital” has redefined businesses’ support of political causes. Though distinct, each challenge raises a basic question: How should businesses balance shareholder interests with obligations to their workers, communities, and nation?

This American Compass debate brings together sharply divergent perspectives on the issue: Patrick Deneen, professor of political science at Notre Dame and author of Why Liberalism Failed, and Andy Puzder, former CEO of CKE Restaurants and author of The Trump Boom: America’s Soaring Economy and the Left’s Plot to Stop It.

Begin reading with Patrick Deneen’s opening statement.

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Patrick Deneen

Patrick J. Deneen is the David A. Potenziani Memorial College Chair of Constitutional Studies and a professor at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Why Liberalism Failed.

@PatrickDeneen

Andy Puzder

Andy Puzder is the former CEO of CKE Restaurants, Senior Fellow at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, and the author of The Trump Boom: America’s Soaring Economy and the Left’s Plot to Stop It.

@AndyPuzder

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