Corporate Responsibility

There is a distinct difference between what a business must do and what it can do. An organism or organization must do what is necessary only to survive: for a living organism that includes intake of energy and defensive acts of self-preservation, for an organization that includes intake of money. An organism or an organization can do what it wants. Usually this involves actions that improve the strength, influence, power, and overall viability of that entity.

There are moral and social laws which apply to organizations as they do to organisms. These are neither needs nor wants, but a third category: external requirements. All moral requirements ought to hold the same level of importance as needs to any entity, and to the point that entity upholds these moral laws, we call that entity “moral”. The key difference between an actual need and a moral requirement is that usually there is not a thought process necessary to recognize an actual need, while moral laws require thought and usually practice. We know we need food, so we put something in our mouth. Compared to a moral requirement which might be better described as a set of goals rather than set methods and these goals are not necessarily concretely and practically defineable or specifically actionable. Don’t harm, but if to prevent harm you must cause hurt? Don’t lie, but what if you’re protecting good from evil, innocence from destruction?

Focusing on Corporate Responsibility: Is maintaining unprofitable operations a need for any reason a need? Of course not. Might a company want do maintain an unprofitable operation for the convenience of it’s customers? Possibly, though one would expect that company would be anticipating some greater payoff that justifies its currently unjustifiable expense. A company pouring itself out through convenient but unprofitable¬† operations may have the love of the world, but they’ll soon only be crying at the companies grave.

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