The issue of business relations with government has increasingly become a key issue of business ethics. Some of the many questions raised are * Is it acceptable for corporations to use their considerable power tp shape government policy? * Is the government jeopardizing its role in protecting the public interest when politicians sit on the board of corporations?
The government has a crucial role to play in establishing the ‘rules of the game’ by which we judge business ethics.
When we talk about the government, we know that the government is involved in issuing laws related to business practices. Business ethics tend to begin where the law ends. This means that the governments establish the baseline of acceptable practice in business. When talking about ‘the government’, we must be aware that we are actually referring to a group of different actors, institutions, and processes at various levels – transnational/ national/ regional/ local.
Laws are basically concerned with what the society may deem as appropriate or inappropriate. It’s important to recognize that law is only one aspect of the broader area of regulation of business. Regulation is all about rules governing business behavior. It includes laws and acts, but also pertains to other forms of formal or informal rule making & enforcement. Originally, most regulation would be issued and enforced by governmental bodies such as parliament/ministries. But, its important to clearly state that regulation is no longer the exclusive prerogative of the government. It can be delegated to other parties. So, regulation is basically – about certain types of rules, and it operates through governmental as well as non-governmental actors.
On one hand, businesses like to complain about an over-active government, because it demands excessive taxes or restricts their activities by blocking mergers. On the other hand, business also expects the government to