Social Responsibility

Posted by on February 10, 2009

Awhile back I wrote about a movement of sorts to get Bratz doll books out of school-sanctioned book fairs and it was a post that really seemed to resonate, for better or worse, with a LOT of people. Rather than rehash the whole issue, you can read about it here if you’re not already familiar with it.

One of the points I touched on briefly in my post was the concept of corporate social responsibility. This point, in particular, spawned further discussion on that topic alone.

Some say that corporations do, in fact, have a responsibility to the world in which they do business and others disagree wholeheartedly.

I respect all opinions and am certainly willing to listen to opposing viewpoints, however, I still feel strongly that all people, companies, corporations etc. must accept some degree of social responsibility for how their actions affect other people and the world at large.

In the Bratz/book fair debate, some said that it was up to parents to shield their children from influences they don’t agree with and that corporations bore no social responsibility for marketing a product that is strongly believed by many, including the American Psychological Association, to contribute to the sexualization of young girls.

Humor me for a moment and allow me to extend that point of view to another scenario to show why I feel it’s flawed.

If a corporation is doing something harmful but not against the law, is it acceptable?

For example, if a corporation is participating in a practice that is know to be environmentally unsound but not currently illegal, is it acceptable to continue the practice just because no law says they have to stop? Even if it’s acceptable within the confines of the law, is it okay to compromise the planet that we all share in the name of profits? Are they not really responsible?

Is it really up to the people who breathe the air and drink the water to find alternate ways to live if they wish not to be affected by the actions of said corporation?

What do you think?

Are any of us responsible for the repercussions of our actions if they’re not forbidden by law?
Or is it each man for himself (and each corporate entity for itself)?


3 Comments

  • heels says:

    I absolutely believe that there should be corporate moral standards just as there are personal moral standards. Just because it’s not ILLEGAL for me to cheat on my husband does not make it okay for me to do so.

  • Bethanne says:

    I totally agree.. corporations may not be people, per se, but even legal entities need to be responsible for what they put into the marketplace and for how they affect the world around them. I can’t believe anyone would feel otherwise.

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