Volume 1, Issue 1, 2013
Conflict Cases and the Limits on Corporate Moral Authority
As they expand their operations to a variety of countries, many publicly traded corporations are facing conflicts of moral standards. An obvious example is the recent corporations employing child labor in countries where child labor is morally acceptable. Many argue that in these cases corporations should seek to do what is morally responsible. I argue that corporations are unable to resolve these conflicts using moral reasoning where no obvious moral norm exists. Even if it were within their ability to do so, I argue that corporations should be limited from making moral decisions since they have no authority to do so and granting them that authority will have dangerous effects. The literature on morality and its relation to corporations should be on limiting the power of corporations to affect the moral debate so that the interest of the people, not economic interests, will remain the primary focus of morality.