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Ethical Problems in the Private Sector

It is legal for businesses to sell low nutrition food products. Address the following questions:
•What ethical obligations do businesses have to their customers to "rescue" their poorer customers from health problems stemming from poor food nutrition?
•Should these businesses sell quality products at lower prices?
•What ethical obligations do businesses have in working with suppliers to create food products for sale to poorer communities, with the goal of reducing sodium, fat, and preservatives?

While responding to your peers, address the following questions:
•What legal obligations should the government enforce on businesses in manufacturing and selling low cost food?
•Can government regulate these issues to impact high nutrition and also maintain low cost food products?
•If governmental regulations can mandate businesses provide high nutrition products with low pricing, what governmental entity should provide this regulation: federal, state or local?

Second problem

Many persons, who work with children, such as child care workers, have a duty to report child abuse to authorities. However, the law does not require most businesses or people to attempt to 'rescue' abuse victims. In the Penn State child abuse scandal in 2012, although the business was a governmental education organization, civil liability lawsuits have been filed against the university because of failure to report incidents of child abuse to authorities.

Respond to the following questions:
•What ethical obligations do businesses have to report child abuse to authorities? For example, should a manager of a grocery store be obligated to report to authorities when she has repeated contact with a mother/child, and notices marks on the child that is abuse?
•What ethical obligations would a business have if it had knowledge regarding three women in a home in Cleveland, with a child (see above article).
Please apply ethical philosophies, and create an ethical action plan.

Secondary Post Instructions
While responding to your peers, address the following questions:
•Should the law be changed to mandate that businesses engage in reporting incidents of horrible social wrongs?
•What consequences do you foresee if businesses are mandated by law to rescue individuals?
•If businesses should not be mandated to rescue, should the business have civil liability to the individuals harmed?

Solution Preview

1) What ethical obligations do businesses have to their customers to "rescue" their poorer customers from health problems stemming from poor food nutrition?
2) Should these businesses sell quality products at lower prices?
3) What ethical obligations do businesses have in working with suppliers to create food products for sale to poorer communities, with the goal of reducing sodium, fat, and preservatives?

Social responsibility comes into play here. An ethical business will take into account ethical decisions in their operations. If businesses place ethics as a priority above solely financial gains then those making the business decisions will be able to observe and respond to the social implications of their actions.

Technically, the ethical obligations that businesses must adhere to are those pertaining to the law and, in many cases, those pertaining to their shareholders and/or stakeholders.

Based on the context, whether nationally, or locally, you can consider what the "ethical custom" of that culture is. Is it to get rich by any means necessary? Or does the culture seek to enhance the quality of life of citizens?

I would not equate "ethical custom" with "basic rules of society." Both concepts are subjective depending on the context in which you are speaking as well as the social norms that exist within that context.

Regarding Question One above, I would ask what businesses we are referring to. There is a rise of organic food stores and restaurants that cater to vegans and vegetarians. Many of these stores and restaurants import certain foods which makes it almost impossible to sell their products at a price that would appeal to low income families. Large grocery stores that sell almost anything would have a variety of groceries for sale; however, I have observed that it is less expensive to buy a 12 pack of doughnuts than it is to buy a dozen apples.

Businesses can encourage poorer customers to make healthier choices with respect to their grocery shopping; however, the real issue is socio-economic. Why can't these poorer families access healthier food?

Regarding Question Two above, businesses do have to make a profit in order to continue operations. There are situations where the prices of certain products can be reduced, however, not in all cases. In my opinion, I see lower income families suffering from obesity more than middle and high income ...

Solution Summary

This solution is addressed in two parts. The first part will assist the student in discussing the ethical problems that exist for businesses when selling low nutrition food products and the second part will discuss whether businesses have an ethical obligation to report child abuse to the relevant authorities.

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