The New Stakeholders

For moralists, actively seeking a good reputation presents an ethical quandary. Spinoza, a 17th-century philosopher, wrote, "Fame has the further drawback that it compels its votaries to order their lives according to the opinions of their fellow-men, shunning what they usually shun, and seeking what they usually seek."[105] For the purposes of this book, this statement means that in order to maintain a good reputation, individuals and companies need to agree with their market and their customers.

For companies like Google, which operate in a market where a good reputation is a major asset, complying as closely as possible with the interests of its customers offers a powerful incentive. Communities act as stakeholders in the ...

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