Absolutely Crash! McDonald's and similar multi-nationals need take no responsibility whatsover for the direct and indirect environmental and social consequences of their legislatively guaranteed right to make bucketloads of money from people too stupid to know when they are being suckered, and too disenfranchised to do anything about it when they see the light that shines out of Ronald's ass.
What a cop out - damn society! No one ever need take responsibility for their choices any more because 'society' is there to take the blame for all of us. It's the perfect, unassailable escape clause.
Society (the collective 'we') allows an oil tanker captain to get drunk and park his tanker on an Alaskan beach spewing forth millions of gallons of crude. (Luckily a large number of the local seal, penguin and bird populations are Exxon shareholders and will have expressed their outrage to the chairman of the board). As a member of 'society', I guess it is my fault?
Society (the collective 'we') allows BHP mining to exploit the Yonggom villagers in Papua New Guinea and to pour millions of gallons of toxic waste into their Ok Tedi and Fly River systems, destroying their natural environments and livelihood. (The Yonggom are, of course, an extremely politically organised group with majority representation in the PNG Cabinet). Yeah, sorry about that folks - that was me too.
Society (the collective 'we') allows McDonalds to destroy the rainforests of South America and force the local populations to relocate to completely alien city environments, in the process losing their fundamental link with their land and culture. (Yes, they are familiar with the political process and can confidently represent themselves to the government and opposition dictatorships) Yup - that was me again. Guess I just don't get this 'society' thing?
Excuse me, but by what logic do the notions of 'liberty', 'justice' and 'accountability' so revered in Western democratic rhetoric cease to apply when it comes to business, multi-national or otherwise? Rather than society being accorded the responsibility of respecting these 'fundamentals' and pulling the corporations up when they breach our 'accepted' boundaries, the multinationals should take it upon themselves to fulfil these basic requirements of ethical responsibility.
I mean, I can only do so much to point it out to them when they are in breach of their responsibilities to me as a citizen: my right to know how they are using my environment and if they are respecting my right to enjoy it; my right to express my disatisfaction with their operations, and to seek fair judgment if that right of expression is being unduly interfered with.
Most important, all businesses - multinational or not - must respect my right as a human being to live my life as I wish with one common, guiding principle - that the enjoyment of my life depends entirely upon me knowing that all other humans are being allowed to enjoy theirs. This is where the multinationals fail me as an individual and your 'society' as a whole CRASH. Through exploitation in employment, by dislocating people from their homelands, by destroying their cultures and their natural environments, they steal my fellow human's opportunity to enjoy and advance their lives. And that makes me less of a human.
Screw your society cop out CRASH. Take some individual responsibility and maybe these corporations might follow your example.