(individual) Should the managers of business corporations, in their official capacities, accept social responsibilities beyond the responsibility to increase the net revenue of the corporations which they run?
- Do they have a moral obligation to go beyond what the law requires in order to advance such cases as race and gender equality, a clean environment, better public transportation, good government, and so on? Why or why not?
They do have a moral obligation. The classic example is slavery. Corporations could easily
employslaves today in jurisdictions like Sudan which allow it. It's repugnant.
- Who will pay the costs if corporation managers shoulder such responsibilities? Who will review their decisions to be sure that the decisions they make really are in the public interest?
Beyond what their shareholders want, the government requires, and what the public will pay for, no one will review their decisions to make sure they really are in the public interest. No one except god upon their death.
- Why might the president of a large corporation want to contribute one million dollars of corporate funds to a hospital-building program in the city where the corporation is headquartered? What personal benefits and personal costs accrue to the president from such a gift?
The corporation benefits from publicity and greater access to health care for its employees who then miss fewer days of work. Personally, he will likely be put on the hospital board where he gets to hobnob and make connections. He'll also suffer the wrath of shareholders who feel it depresses the stock price.