What is the ethical, social or environmental responsibility of business? The answer to this question rests on whether or not organizations are machines of commerce, profit-producing instruments. The law of corporations says they are run primarily in the interest of stockholders, the responsibility is fiduciary. Let’s assume that this is indeed the case; that they are profit-producing instruments.
A hammer—a tool for driving a nail—has no ethical, social or environmental responsibility. Neither does an automobile, an instrument for transportation. It seems then the organization has no more of a responsibility than any other instrument or tool. However the one employing the instrument does! Continue reading
Moral behavior requires understanding the difference between right and wrong, and acting accordingly. However, right versus wrong can only be assessed in relation to a system of values. But this does not mean that morality is relativistic. If it was, we could not say any act is morally wrong since we would have to accept all value systems even those harmful to others.
Since people abhor the exploitation, manipulation, and destruction of life, we must acknowledge the existence of a universal set of (moral) values that are applicable to all of humankind. Obviously there is something in all of us that informs us of what is right in honor of life. In this light, moral issues concern a universal ‘we’ not what’s in it for ‘me’ or ‘us’. Continue reading