Little theoretical attention has been paid to the question of what obligations corporations and other business enterprises have to the four billion people living at the base of the global economic pyramid. This article makes several theoretical contributions to this topic. First, it is argued that corporations are properly understood as agents of global justice. Second, the legitimacy of global governance institutions and the legitimacy of corporations and other business enterprises are distinguished. Third, it is argued that a deliberative democracy (...) model of corporate legitimacy defended by theorists of political CSR is unsatisfactory. Fourth, it is argued that a Rawlsian theoretical framework fails to provide a satisfactory account of the obligations of corporations regarding global justice. Finally, an ethical conception of CSR grounded in an appropriately modest set of duties tied to corporate relationships is then defended. This position is cosmopolitan in scopeand grounded in overlapping arguments for human rights. (shrink)
In a series of reports the United Nations Special Representative on the issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations has emphasized a tripartite framework regarding business and human rights that includes the state “duty to protect,” the TNC “responsibility to respect,” and “appropriate remedies” for human rights violations. This article examines the recent history of UN initiatives regarding business and human rights and places the tripartite framework in historical context. Three approaches to human rights are distinguished: moral, political, and legal. (...) It is argued that the tripartite framework’s grounding of the responsibility of TNCs to respect human rights is properly understood as moral and not merely as a political or legal duty. A moral account of the duty of TNCs to respect basic human rights is defended and contrasted with a merely strategic approach. The main conclusion of the article is that only a moral account of the basic human rights duties of TNCs provides a sufficiently deep justification of “the corporate responsibility to respect human rights” feature of the tripartite framework. (shrink)
During the last thirty years we have witnessed sweeping changes in health care worldwide, including new and expensive biomedical technologies, an increasingly powerful and influential pharmaceutical industry, steadily increasing health care costs in industrialised nations, and new threats to medical professionalism. The essays collected in this book concern costs and profits in relation to just health care, the often controversial practices of pharmaceutical companies, and corruption in the professional practice of medicine. Leading experts discuss justice in relation to business-friendly strategies (...) in the delivery of health care, access to life saving drugs, the ethics of pharmaceutical company marketing practices, exploitation in drug trials, and undue industry influence over medicine. They offer guidance regarding the ethical delivery of health care products and services by profit-seeking organisations operating in a global marketplace, and recommend pragmatic solutions to enhance organisational integrity and curb medical corruption in the interest of patient welfare. (shrink)
"The main conclusion of this essay is that it is plausible to conclude that corporations are capable of exhibiting intentionality, and as a result that they may be properly understood as moral agents" (p. 281).
After providing a brief history of global climate change, we consider and reject the influential position that free markets and responsive democracies relieve corporations of obligations to protect the environment. Five main objections to the free market view are presented, focusing in particular on the roles of business organizations in the transportation and electricity generation sectors. Ethically grounded management and public policy recommendations are offered.
Libertarian theories of the normative core of the corporation hold in common the view that is the responsibility of publicity held corporations to return profits to shareholders within the bounds of certain moral side-constraints. Side-constraints may be either weak (grounded in the rules of the game) or strong (grounded in rights). This essay considers libertarian arguments regarding the normative core of the corporation in the context of global capitalism and in the light of actual corporate behavior. First, it is argued (...) the weak side-constraints view is conceptually incoherent when applied in a global context. Second, it is argued that proponents of the libertarian strong side-constraints view lack an adequate theory of rights. Third, both the weak side-constraints view and the strong side-constraints view are shown to be unsatisfactory insofar as they fail to adequately address the coercive power of corporations. The main conclusion of this essay is that a viable libertarian theory of the corporation has yet to be articulated. (shrink)
This article applies the Kantian doctrine of respect for persons to the problem of sweatshops. We argue that multinational enterprises are properly regarded as responsible for the practices of their subcontractors and suppliers. We then argue that multinational enterprises have the following duties in their offshore manufacturing facilities: to ensure that local labor laws are followed; to refrain from coercion; to meet minimum safety standards; and to provide a living wage for employees. Finally, we consider and reply to the objection (...) that improving health and safety conditions and providing a living wage will cause greater harm than good. (shrink)
Traditionally conceived, introspection is a form of nonsensuous perception that allows the mind to scrutinize at least some of its own states while it is experiencing them. The traditional account of introspection has been in disrepute ever since Ryle argued that the very idea of introspection is a logical muddle. Recent critics such as William Lyons, John Searle, and Sydney Shoemaker argue that this disrepute is well-deserved. Three distinct objections to the traditional account of introspection are considered and rejected. It (...) is argued that critics of the traditional account of introspection fail to adequately distinguish potential objects of introspection. Further, it is argued that at least two cognitive states are properly understood as objects of introspection. The conclusions reached suggest that there are sufficient reasons to reconsider ther merits of the traditional account of introspection. (shrink)
The primary concern of this paper is Hume's account of the moral difference between humans and other animals. In order to clarify this difference Hume's views regarding reason, sympathy, and human sentiment are examined. The purpose of this investigation is threefold. First, Hume's position on the moral difference between humans and other animals is clarified. It is argued that this difference is properly traced to Hume's account of the sentiment of humanity. Second, Hume is defended against the claim that his (...) position on this matter is inconsistent. Third, it is argued that Hume's theory of morality leaves open the possibility that some earthly species other than our own may be properly understood as moral. (shrink)