In ways accentuated by the global coronavirus pandemic, corporations constitute vital instruments of the acts of beneficence needed by the people of the world to make progress in public health and increase collective and individual well-being. This article contributes to understanding the variety of moral forces that may lead corporations to commit acts of beneficence, including Friedman’s business case for corporate beneficence, the duty of beneficence as developed by business ethicists, and Dunfee’s social contract account of corporate obligation. Whereas Mejia recently contributed to scholarship on corporate beneficence by expressly adopting shareholder primacy’s conception of corporate governance, this article embraces a stakeholder-oriented, managerialist picture of corporate governance. I extend the literature on beneficence by incorporating what I argue is the intuition underlying Dunfee’s contractualist formula of minimal contribution, namely that management’s duty to do good is awakened and unshackled to the extent management judges the corporation can afford to commit acts of beneficence, all stakeholders considered. The all-stakeholders-considered case for corporate beneficence compels management to act, I argue, when inaction would undermine the moral integrity of managers personally committed to promoting the well-being of humanity.
- Corporate responsibility
- Social contract theory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics