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Business Ethics - Essay Example

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Instructor name Date Business Ethics Are Good for Society and the Economy Businesses do not act in a socially responsible manner nor should this be an expectation, it will never happen. Only the persons within organizations can choose to accept social responsibilities…
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Business Ethics
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Business Ethics

It has been argued that business owners, or stockholders, have an obligation to in some sense repay the society that allowed it to be. Others suggest that providing jobs and contributing to the tax base is repayment enough. Whichever of these perceptions one subscribes the fact that employees of a company have but a single responsibility, to make money for the owners, is not in question. A chief executive officer may act as the ‘brains’ of the corporation but they are an employee and are bound both by ethical consideration and by federal law to make decisions intended to increase company profits. Of course company employees are expected to obey the law and in act in accordance with customary public ethical guidelines but mainly because this is in the best interest of the company and not because the company itself has a moral obligation. The end result justifies any means by which to achieve it including the destruction of the environment as well as the financial gouging of customers and employees. Corporations do have social responsibilities and society should demand corporate adherence to those responsibilities. Employees cannot simply give away company funds to their favorite charity. That would be irresponsible, unethical and illegal. Certainly, company officials are also individuals whose conscience extends past workplace concerns. The person outside the corporation may feel a duty to voluntarily give their time and money to charities, the church, community and family. In these instances, the individual is not acting as the agent of the giving but the principal. They are spending their own time and money or time and not the resources of a company. “If these are ‘social responsibilities,’ they are the social responsibilities of individuals, not business” (Friedman, 1970). Though the view that business do not have a social responsibility is logical and fits the capitalist ideology on which the country was built, others argue that the self-serving goals of corporate America has created a value system not only separate but in opposition to that of society. This reality is apparent not only in the U.S. but in many other countries as well, both in the developed world and Third World nations. The banking debacle in Mexico escalated its national debt by $80 billion due to the government financially bailing out unscrupulous shareholders who were in league with government officials at the taxpayer’s expense. When Argentina privatized most of the public works departments, corporations stole money from millions of Argentinean citizens. In Europe, the pharmaceutical industries essentially regulated themselves due to their influence within the government. The drug companies did not sufficiently test its products interested only in profits and not the benefits of the drugs for patients. Steps have since been taken to reduce the harm committed by this type of corporate corruption. Many suggest that the situation in the U.S. today involving pharmaceutical company influence and the consequential affects is hauntingly similar. (Borger, 2001) Of course corporate corruption in the U.S. is sadly legendary in scope. The recent banking and Wall Street debacle in the U.S. is expected to cost taxpayers into the trillions of Dollars. The Bernie Madoff scandal, Worldcom, Tyco and Enron are but a few of examples of fraudulent practices by company heads which cost thousands of people millions of dollars including ... Read More
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