Ethics, Business and Society: Managing Responsibility

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Ethics, Business and Society: Managing Responsibility By Ananda Das Gupta Response Business Books from SAGE, Year 2010, p. 212, Price: 7495 ISBN-978-81-321-0402-5 (PB)

The brief background of the book: Ethics, business and society is an Edited book by Ananda under Response Business Books from Sage publication. The book is divided into two sections which covers various topics covering several concerns related to ethics and CSR.

The very prologue of the book makes the reader interested in the book since it attempts to include various perspectives by which Business Ethics can be judged such as perspective of the employee, perspective of the commercial enterprise and perspective of society as a whole. Interestingly, Das starts the book by the difference between responsibility and ethics for that reason business ethics and social responsibility- describing the social responsibility movement in 1960s.

Moral appeal of the book is very high as it pushes the corporate to a social responsibility verge, "people insist that the activities of corporations should make a positive contribution not only to the economic development and stability of the countries in which they operate, but also to their social and environmental development. Failure to respond such an agenda satisfactorily will contribute to increased social tensions, environmental degradation and political upheavals. Good corporate conduct makes an important contribution to sustainable development in any community and thus goes a long way towards responding to the concerns that globalization raises."

The books begins with the concept of society, business, ethics and broader canvas in section one. Business ethics by Arabinda Ray in section one builds the introduction and relevance of the ethics by exploring the presence of ethics in every walk of life going back to the prime base values of human behavior like egoism and greed of course giving it a personal touch. Setting examples such as Aristotle's 'golden mean in every situation' establishes the credibility of the concept of business ethics. Arabinda Ray well states that in our time god is replaced by reason. In earlier days god used to play a controlling factor and behavior/actions were based on this moral premises in every situation. But in our time since religion is replaced by reason so a careful handling of reason is imperative, "from the guilds of olden times to the modern age accountancy, all trade and professional bodies have tried to establish guidance rules which when pursued by practitioners give a sense of being ethical." The situation like this which is filled with difficult choices is compared with classic example of Arjuna in Mahabharata. Ray admits that there will be frequent conflict between the 'immediate business interest and the wider aspects of social imperative or public morality, where a responsible person's ethical sense must dominate.' After discussing aspects like corruption and employees and contribution of companies Ray concluded on note of value system commonly shared by business at large and not specific to an organization.

After a discussion on concepts like morality Bibek opens another analysis of Governance and Economic Development starting as early as concepts of Adam Smith also admitting that the focus of policy has changed, as well as growth theory and development theory. After a handful of examples on measuring and quantifying economic development Bibek argues that good governance is a requirement specially in context of India. "The Preamble to the Indian Constitution states, 'we the People of India... do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.' The constitution and the governance structure was given to the citizens of a free country by the citizens of a free country by citizens themselves. Yet, the structure that delivers governance often reflects a colonial legacy, a 'we versus they' syndrome -where the 'they', the citizens, are invariably supplicants and 'we' are the ones who deliver administration'. …