Ethics

What role should government play in enforcing social and moral expectations on businesses?

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  1. Government should enforce the laws that Congress has passed.

    http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/managing-business/business-law-regulations

  2. The government doesn't have any imperative to enforce social and moral expectations on business, but it does anyways. Through various government agencies they direct the operations of businesses which is enforcement. This enforcement comes from regulations that were embedded into laws.

    This doesn't mean there isn't an argument as to whether or the not the government SHOULD enforce some social or moral expectation on a business. The main argument for is the use of historical events as precedent for actions. Things such as drug scares for the FDA, improper food handling for the USDA and the like, monopolies on business and lack of competition and the SEC, and so on.

    The argument now is whether these things are still useful, and whether businesses would return to their former practices if there were no regulation. This does raise an ethical dilemma. Are the businesses not acting in immoral ways that are now illegal because it is illegal or are businesses not acting in immoral ways that are illegal now because they are immoral and their business would not survive in the current social climate?

    There is no easy way to answer this question, but it should at least be easy now to pick a side and try to defend it.

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    posted by Jason

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