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Paper Topic:

Reading Response

With regard to preserving and protecting the environment , who has the most important role to play - the government , individual consumers , or businesses

I will take this question as meaning : who can have the most effect on the current status of environmental ethics ? The answer must be : the government

The government has the most important role within the context of environmental preservation , because (as implied by its name ) the government has been assigned by the people as overall caretaker . The government has jurisdiction over matters of general importance to society (which

in this case is the preservation of the environment therefore it must be the government that enforces the regulation of activities that affect the environment . The roles of businesses and individual consumers is secondary in this matter

Accountability for the environment cannot be delegated to businesses because the primary concern of a business is to generate income for its shareholders . Although it can argued that ?corporations have special knowledge , expertise , and resources which are invaluable in dealing with the environmental crisis , it must be pointed out that the government is the one entity that has been assigned the task of supervising the state , and if the resources of businesses are to be used for such a task , these resources should be used with the sanction and directive of the government

I agree with Norman Bowie in that businesses does not have an obligation to protect the environment over and above what is required by law ' However , I cannot agree that businesses have a moral obligation to avoid intervening in the political arena in to defeat or weaken environmental legislation

Businesses cannot have a moral obligation . A business is , by its very nature , self centered . It has an obligation of good service to its consumers (again because it is ultimate concerned for itself ) and no more than that . It is unwise and juvenile to suppose that a corporation will , of its own accord , seek to make things right ' with regard to the environment at a cost to itself

Companies such as DuPont , which as Hoffman mentions terminated a product line apparently out of concern for the environment , are a rarity . Of course , I agree with Hoffman that businesses can be enticed to be ethical ' by making them aware of the financial advantages of becoming so , but businesses will only be ethical ' as long as there is something to be gained (aside from environmental preservation

The idea that corporations can and must develop a conscience ' is defective and hopeless . Again , it must be the government that accomplishes the goal of protecting the environment

It is also useless to consider the individual consumer as part of the solution if we are considering long term goals . It would certainly be wise to use mass media to advocate environmentalism , but it would have to be an institution (i .e . the government , and not individual consumers , that take action

Hoffman stresses the importance of tackling the matter from a naturalistic viewpoint (which claims that nonhuman...

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