Business-Inflicted Social Harm

In Yeager Hudson (ed.), Technology, Morality and Social Policy. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press. pp. 55-73 (1998)
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Businesses cause social harm, meaning harm to society at large and not just to those with whom a business is contractually linked. Evidence introduced: normative claims that businesses should be "socially responsible"; positive claims that they contribute to social well-being; and negative claims that they are sometimes military-like, causing extensive harm for which no one is held personally responsible. The latter point to corporate survivalism, which acknowledges no mandatory civil responsibilities. Neither law nor social pressure has yet counteracted this mind set. Business ethics might, but not if its practitioners examine only narrowly contractual relationships.

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Edmund Byrne
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis


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