Businesses Moral Responsibility
Darryl A. Young
April 18, 2008
One of the most important questions in all businesses is, whether businesses have any moral responsibilities at all beyond simply earning as much of a profit as possible for their owners? If you look at it from the business point of view they are only responsible for making a profit. The company is an agent of the shareholders and is responsible only to them, and only for making a profit. Looking at it from the consumer point of view the company is responsible to everyone who has a stake in the operations of that business, that is, everyone who is affected. This includes shareholders but also employees, consumers, suppliers, and the surrounding community. I feel that answer to that question is yes, businesses do have moral responsibilities beyond the company making a profit. I believe that a company has to be moral beyond its standards because it is obliged by utilitarianism. Utilitarianism can be defined as an ethical theory that is based upon the moral worth of an action, which is primarily determined by its contribution to overall utility in maximizing happiness or pleasure as a whole among all people. The adequacy of utilitarianism can play a huge role in a company’s morals because it can be seen as the only intrinsically valuable end. Companies have to make many important decisions that may affect a great deal of people, but when these decisions are made whether by a ceo, executive board of directors, or middle management all aspects of the outcome should be taken into deliberation. A group of people come together and form a company so that they are able to accomplish something collectively that they cannot accomplish separately. If companies can produce goods and services more efficiently than the individual then it is not unreasonable to say that they should have standards of morality and ethics above those of the individual. Collective standards of ethics...
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