morality

Topic : What is morality

Pages: 3

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morality
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Read the following article by Jay Feldman and answer the questions that follow:

There was a time in the not so distant past when many, if not most, publicly held corporations, including the

one for which I worked, embraced in their mission statements, codes of conduct and similar pronouncements a

responsibility to serve multiple stakeholders: their stockholders, of course, but also their employees as well as

customers, suppliers and the community in which they operated. Today, all too many companies, in deed and

often in word, articulate a single-minded obligation to serve only their investors by focusing exclusively on

profitability.

As a result, we have witnessed corporate downsizings and outsourcing of jobs; restructuring of pension plans

or their complete termination; reductions in health care benefits; and wage stagnation in spite of increased

productivity. Domestic suppliers have been squeezed or, more often, replaced by cheap foreign sources.

Customers seeking service are confronted with automated answering machines and foreign call centers.

Environmental concerns are viewed as obstacles to profitability.

At the same time, the senior managers of these enterprises have seen their compensation grow exponentially

as a reward for their perceived contributions to the bottom line.

Sadly, what these corporations fail to appreciate is how their obsession with the bottom line is shrinking their

markets, both domestic and foreign. The large number of people unemployed, underemployed, afraid of losing

their jobs or without the means to pay all their bills perpetuates the present worldwide economic crisis.

Add to this the unwillingness of businesses to pay their fair share of taxes to support education, health care and

the infrastructure that is critical to their success. In the end, these self-serving practices endanger the very

profitability their practitioners seek to enhance.

We need to return to the earlier model of the corporation as a good citizen. Doing so can help ensure the long-

term viability of our free enterprise system.

JAY N. FELDMAN

Port Washington, N.Y., Aug. 27, 2012

The writer is a retired corporate lawyer.

Considering the passage above, write a paper of 3–4 pages that addresses the following:

1. Discuss Alfred North Whitehead’s statement: “What is morality in any given time and place? It is what the

majority then and there happen to like and immorality is what they dislike.” Consider the following questions as

guide:

a. Businesses can have ethical standards, but Businesses are not moral agents. Do you agree or disagree?

b. Is it true that the “bottom line” of business is profit and profit alone?

c. In business, are there other less tangible goals that are intrinsic to and just as important as making money?

d. Why should we be moral as individuals?

e. Why should a corporation or organization be moral?

2. How would you apply the first formulation of Kant’s categorical imperative to a Business environment?

Consider deontological ethics, teleological ethics, moral objectivism, and ethical relativism in your argument.

Provide at least 3 valid reasons to support your argument. Also, be sure to include the following in your paper:

Identify your argument—or thesis statement—within the introduction of your paper.

Include definitions of utilitarianism, Categorical Imperatives, Process Philosophy, moral relativism, moral

absolutism, ethical relativism, moral objectivism, deontological ethics, and teleological ethics.

Consider morality and ethics from the perspective of Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy, and

Immanuel Kant’s universal categorical imperative. Could you argue that Businesses can have ethical

standards, despite the fact that Businesses are not moral agents? Why or why not? Please explain.

Distinguish between descriptive and normative definitions of morality

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