My Brother’s Keeper: A New Phase in the Debate on Corporate Responsibility
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In this article, we analyse whether it is possible to hold a loosely organised collective responsible for the effects it has on others. We consider the possibility of holding a loosely organised collective responsible by comparing it with a well-organised collective such as a corporation, a joint action (a collective lacking a formal organisation) and an aggregate. We explore the concept of responsibility of a loosely organised collective by analysing a concrete example: the responsibility of the major oil producers for climate change. We will argue that it is possible to apply the concept of responsibility to such loosely organised collectives. To understand this responsibility it is necessary to decouple the concept of responsibility from the concept of acting and to develop forward-looking (prospective) ethics. We will argue that individuals and organisations belonging to a loosely organised collective have a joint responsibility: to some extent, they are each other’s brother’s keeper.
KeywordsBusiness Ethic Moral Responsibility Joint Action Corporate Responsibility Collective Responsibility
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