Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Global distributive justice and the corporate duty to aid

  • 129 Accesses

  • 23 Citations

Abstract

This article challenges an argument from Tom Donaldson's recent bookThe Ethics of International Business with a claim that distributive justice, deemed in many circles to impose a duty of mutual aid on individuals and nations, establishes a basis for holding multinational corporations to such a duty as well. The root idea I advocate is that Rawls' theory of justice can be deployed — beyond its original intent yet in line with its spirit — to underwrite aprima facie obligation of international business to render aid to ameliorate suffering on behalf of the inhabitants of developing countries in which they operate.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Brenkert, G.: 1992, ‘Can We Afford International Human Rights?’,Journal of Business Ethics 11, 515–521.

  2. Donaldson, T.: 1989,The Ethics of International Business (Oxford University Press, New York).

  3. Feinberg, J.: ‘The Legal and Moral Responsibility of the Bad Samaritan’, in J. Feinberg and H. Gross,Philosophy of Law (Wadsworth Publishing Co., Belknop, CA).

  4. Goodpaster, K. and Matthews, J.: 1982, ‘Can a Corporation Have a Conscience?’,Harvard Business Review January–February.

  5. Kant, I.: 1964,The Metaphysical Principles of Virtue (M. Gregor, trans.).

  6. Raws, J.: 1971,A Theory of Justice (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA).

  7. Richards, D. A. J.: 1982, ‘International Distributive Justice’, in J. Pennock and J. Chapman (eds),Ethics, Economics, and the Law (New York University Press, New York).

  8. Shue, H.: 1980,Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy (Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.).

  9. Weidenbaum, M.: 1990,Business, Government, and the Public, pp. 423–27.

  10. Weinrib, E.: 1980, ‘The Case for a Duty to Rescue’,The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 90.

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Kevin T. Jackson is Assistant Professor of Ethics in the Department of Legal and Ethical Studies at the Graduate School of Business, Fordham University in New York City. He holds a J.D. degree and a Ph.D. degree in Philosophy. Formerly a Legal Aid attorney, Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, and a business consultant, Dr. Jackson currently teaches courses in business ethics and legal philosophy.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jackson, K.T. Global distributive justice and the corporate duty to aid. J Bus Ethics 12, 547–551 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00872378

Download citation

Keywords

  • Economic Growth
  • International Business
  • Distributive Justice
  • Multinational Corporation
  • Original Intent