In her new book, The Case for Business in Developing Economies, former Reagan-Fascell Fellow Ann Bernstein argues that “just doing business” can have unintended positive consequences for society. These include potentially transforming the trajectory of national economies; boosting the forces for modernization; strengthening civil society; expanding human rights and the rule of law; and unleashing pressures for democratization. In this sense business, far from being a conservative force supporting the status quo or an essentially malign power that needs to pay a social penalty to offset the negative consequences of its pursuit of profit, is a constant agent of social change.
Ms. Bernstein explains her argument that economic rationality inadvertently leads to individuals with modern attitudes and to the creation of civil society, which in turn facilitate human rights, pluralism, and democracy. The market, she contends, is a driver of democratic development.