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Business and Moral Responsibility

(Written by Alkis Gounaris in 2008 and first published in CSR Review http://www.ethics.gr/content.php?id=44 [the Corporate Social Responsibility Magazine] 3, 2008)

Abstract: Following the recent global financial crisis, there was extensive debate on companies social and moral responsibility. In Kantian terms, to evaluate an act as moral, the person who is acting has to be free. The fact that a company has to adopt principles for a reason (for example: "to" build a social profile or 'to' gain a profit or "to" create an image or loyalty etc) cannot be considered as a free choice of moral principles. According to the Kantian theory, if a person choose his principles for empirical reasons, (in this case to yield some sort of profit) this choice cannot considered as moral choice because in fact this choice is non-free.

At the other hand the evaluation of the company’s responsibility on utilitarian terms is actually ineffective.

What we propose, is to consider companies as players in a closed - complementary system. In complementary systems, no one can not harm anyone, without prejudicing himself in short or long term.

Eventually, the market looks more like the anti-monopoly game where winners are those who follow responsibly the rules of the game, ie the viability of the economy and the market.

Keywords: Business ethics, corporate social responsibility, Kant, Mill

Gounaris, A. (2008). Business and Moral Responsibility. CSR Review [the Corporate Social Responsibility Magazine]. v3. pp. 66-67. Retrieved February 4th, 2019 from https://alkisgounaris.gr/en/archives/business-and-moral-responsibility/

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