Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a crucial element of development projects, and this has led anthropologists to speculate on the unintended consequences of positioning big business as givers of aid. Supported by international law and governments that deregulate businesses who practice CSR, corporations move freely across borders into countries whose communities become dependent on corporate aid dollars. Corporations assert their financial might by funneling their aid dollars through partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the countries where they operate. An examination of the structure of partnerships formed between and among corporations, governments, and NGOs shows that they are imbalanced in their power structure and this imbalance extends to the target populations of CSR programs. This paper examines the ramifications of these power imbalances through an assessment of Coca-Cola's activity in India and Israel alongside a review of the work of anthropologists in the area of CSR. Through this examination, I argue that CSR programs are instilling corporations with political influence that enables them to vie for global governing power, demonstrating that this dynamic has dire consequences for both the communities with whom corporations are interacting and the environment.
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