Business Ethics

Why does Milton Friedman believe that the only “social responsibility” businesses have is to increase their profits?  What exactly is his reasoning here?  Do you agree?  Explain.

2.  In his essay, R. Edward Freeman defends a “stakeholder” view of corporate responsibility.  He defends this view with respect to a few different kinds of stakeholder.  First, briefly describe what a “stakeholder” is.  Then, consider just one of the specific arguments Freeman makes about different groups of stakeholders.  Do you agree with him that businesses have responsibilities towards these stakeholders?  Briefly explain.

3.  Summarize Bakan’s argument in Chapter 2 of The Corporation.  Do you agree with him?  Further, consider the example of “Mark Barry” discussed towards the end of the chapter.  Do you think that he is *just* as responsible for the things he does on the job as he would be if he did these things on his own time?  Does the company he works for bear any responsibility, as you see it, for the ethically questionable things he does on a regular basis?  Briefly explain.


1.  What exactly does “estranged labor” mean, for Marx?  The concept of “estranged labor” is more often translated as “alienated labor.”  What is one important way in which modern industrial work “alienates” workers – and what does it alienate them *from*?  Briefly explain, using at least one citation from the Marx reading.

2.  Dan Swain, in the midst of explaining Marx’s idea of estranged (or “alienated”) labor, spends a brief chapter expounding the Marxist idea of “commodity fetishism.”  Briefly explain what this concept is supposed to mean, and provide an example of your own.  What, if anything, is the connection between alienated labor and commodity fetishism?

3.  In the chapter “Work, Leisure, and Full Engagement” Matthew Crawford criticizes Marx’s conception of alienated labor.  What specifically is his point of disagreement with Marx?  With whom do you agree more on this point, and why?

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