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Week Four – Utilitarianism, Capitalism & Corporate Cultures

1. Smith (“Benefits of the Profit Motive) himself states that he has “never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good” and calls it an “affectation [indeed] not very common among merchants” (159). Is Smith stating that it is okay for companies to ignore the greater good…to ignore responsibility to their common man in order for the profit motive to be increased? Why or why not?

2. What is your definition of social responsibility? Does it fit into Friedman’s definition? Why or why not? Do you think businesses have a social responsibility to their fellow man? Why or why not?

3. Read “The Parable of the Sadhu.” Can you relate this story to business ethics? Why or why not? What would you have done in their situation?

4. Do you think utilitarianism is a popular theory for politicians and CEOs? Why or why not? Explain your answer.

5. Take a look at this clip on YouTube. Please explain a) what an act utilitarian would do and b) what a rule utilitarian would do.

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