In what ways may corporate social responsibility (CSR) be good for business, society, and the economy? In what ways may it be harmful?
CSR is ultimately good for businesses, for even they are part of the larger society. For example, if pollution levels rise due to lax environmental practices, then even the quality of breathing of the CEO of an energy company is affected. Or, say, if a company produces and promotes violence-ridden video games, then the children of the employees of the company also end up using this product. The reason why CSR is always good for business is that negative externalities cannot be swept under the carpet forever. Take say the simmering issue of global warming. Those companies that continue to promote a fossil-fuel dependent lifestyle may profit at the moment. But where is the question of profits when a major natural catastrophe is precipitated by global warming? One needs contended and safe people even for making profits. As for the economy, a CSR oriented business culture would prevent any financial crises like depression or recession.
In what ways or to what extent is ethical relativism true? In what ways or to what extent is ethical relativism false? Clearly define your assumptions and argue how your overall conclusions may affect a specific decision in international business. In your answer, draw on your own example.
Ethical relativism is the belief that culture is the chief arbiter of morality. What is morally right in one culture may not be so in another. In the dog-eat-dog world of modern business, leaders would adopt any tactic to stay in the game. If they do not toe the line then they will be on the losing side. Hence ethical relativism is often imposed upon people who otherwise mean well. In the modern geo-political context, the debate between Islamic and Western values were analysed under relativistic ethics. But there are no conclusive answers to the issues raised by relativism. There are classic examples from the business world where ethics were compromised with relativism as an excuse. Facebook and Google are two such examples. Both companies claim to protect the privacy of user data but have been sharing it with the American National Security Agency (NSA) on the pretext of an obscure legal obligation. This breach in public confidence has opened up numerous questions over the companies’ ethics.