Essay The Corporation - Ethical Analysis

Words: 2746
Pages: 11

Traits associated to a psychopath include irresponsibility, manipulation, grandioseness, lack of empathy, asocial tendencies, inability to feel remorse, refusal to take responsibility for one's actions and superficial relations with others. Modern day corporations display every one of the previously listed characteristics. Is it right that an institution, whose power now rivals that of the State that once created it to seek the better welfare of its citizens, display the psychological traits of a dangerous personality disorder? Many say no: there is a rising discomfort with the corporation and its pervasion into every sphere of human life and it is this uneasiness that has prompted many academics to further study the corporation and its …show more content…
According to Milton Friedman, renowned economist and Nobel Prize laureate, it cannot. He believes the only responsibility executives have is to make as much money for their shareholders as possible. To squander that money on other causes, he says, is actually illegal and immoral. "Executives who choose social and environmental goals over profits–who try to act morally–are, in fact, immoral" (Bakan, 2005, p.34), is how he puts it. He does say, however, that corporate social responsibility is acceptable in one, and only one circumstance: if it is insincere. He claims that it is only moral for executives to pursue social responsibility if it is actually a ploy to enhance profits. Shameful as it may sound, it is the common practice of today's executives. John Browne, CEO of BP has been praised, even honoured by the United Nations, for his company's corporate social responsibility. When questioned about it, however, Browne admits that the "company's good deeds are "in our direct business interest", "not acts of charity but of what could be called enlightened self-interest"" (Bakan, 2005, p.44-45). In an article entitled Memo to: CEOs, Five Half-truths of Business, authors Robert Simons, Henry Mintzberg and Kunal Basu argue that the corporation cannot continue to simply pursue its profit seeking goals and that