"Cooperation or collaboration is in fact an exercise in citizenship, in the classic sense of that word. Citizens are people possessed of civic virtues who relate to each other, solve problems, realize possibilities by the exercise of those virtues. But this, in turn, implies that corporations must be capable of citizenship on a local level. This must be more than a public-relations variety of citizenship; it must be the kind of citizenship that is real enough to inspire trust. Above all, such citizenship must demonstrate a genuine and reliable responsiveness to the place, a full-fledged participation in the human project of living well in that place. If the place is defined and nurtured by a river, then the corporation must make the care of the river one of its priorities; it must contribute its fair share toward that project. If inhabitation of the place depends upon the sustained production of timber, the corporation must either take on the task of nurturing forests or else forego its claim to citizenship. If inhabitation means looking beyond the extraction of a nonrenewable resource to the building of a replacement economy once the mine closes, then the mining corporation, if it is going to call itself (and claim the advantages of being) a corporate citizen, must put its shoulder to the wheel (through severance taxes or some genuine alternative) to help build that replacement economy.
"Left to themselves, of course, corporations are not going to practice citizenship in this way. The main reason is that they are not inhabitants in the same way that other residents of the place are. Once the mine plays out or the large saw logs are all cut, the corporation can simply leave — a pattern all too familiar in the West. The corporation's chief loyalty is not to the place, but to the shareholders and executives who almost always live somewhere else. A realistic appraisal of the situation will take account of this semiinhabitory feature of the corporation. But having taken this factor into consideration, the politics of inhabitation need not be stopped cold in its tracks. Here, the 'art of the possible' must turn from the half-empty glass to the one that is half full. The politics of inhabitation must realize its own possibilities, in part by nurturing citizenship among its corporations.
"Nurturing here implies a proper understanding of relationship -- a relationship rather like that of a family, where the community -- the republic -- understands once again not only that it is prior to the corporation, but also that it can and should create the environment and set the limits within which these, its creatures, are to be nurtured, developed, and allowed to thrive. What this means, among other things, is that the terms of corporate citizenship are clearly understood not to be wholly voluntary. Just as parents have a responsibility to set rules for participation in a household, so the republic should be calmly comfortable with its responsibility to define and enforce the basic ground rules for inhabitation of any particular jurisdiction."