Is it morally appropriate for a business to take a political stance?

Nov 2014
459
ph
I am not asking whether it should be legal to do so, but whether it is morally right to do so, is it morally right for a waffle shop run by an anti war activist to refuse service to the Lockheed employee, or is it morally correct for a right wing auto repair shop owner who thinks Mandela is a terrorist to not repair a car owned by an ANC member? Does a business have a moral obligation to stay politically and morally neutral with regards to the clients and customers it serves?Divided we dine: perils of a ‘blue’ vs ‘yellow’ Hong Kong economy
 
Jul 2019
1,076
New Jersey
If anything, I would ask if it's moral for business owners to not practice what they believe in their running of their businesses. If you have a conviction, but you turn the other way for the sake of greater profits, then how sincere is your conviction?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,603
Italy, Lago Maggiore
It's totally subjective and I don't see why it should be different.

As Abraham has remarked, the first point is if the business wins on all or not. If the only purpose of the owner of a shop is to gain good money there will be no moral to limit its business ... it's a different matter if the owner of a shop wants to gain good money respecting his own beliefs and convinctions. And about this, personal choices are personal choices and we should respect them. Until a shop is a private business its owner can impose his own rules to the customers. If they don't like them, they can go to a different shop. Market rules will say if the shop will survive or not.

At the end we are discussing the tiny border which separates "selection" from "discrimination". All shops [and business activities] select their customers [it's the "target clientele"]. When does this become a form of discrimination? When the "selection" doesn't depend on likes and dislikes of the other [just to say, making reference to the OP, all Lockheed employees or only the white ones? That would be discrimination, not selection]. In Italy, for example, there are bars who don't serve hunters [they obviously belong to environmentalists], since the law says that hunters cannot abandon their weapon in the car, they have to carry it with them into the bar ... and some bartenders don't like this at all.
 
Nov 2014
459
ph
Does a small of medium-sized business or a large corporation have moral obligation to be amoral and ONLY or PRIMARY pursue profit maximization?
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,709
Netherlands
I am not asking whether it should be legal to do so, but whether it is morally right to do so, is it morally right for a waffle shop run by an anti war activist to refuse service to the Lockheed employee, or is it morally correct for a right wing auto repair shop owner who thinks Mandela is a terrorist to not repair a car owned by an ANC member? Does a business have a moral obligation to stay politically and morally neutral with regards to the clients and customers it serves?Divided we dine: perils of a ‘blue’ vs ‘yellow’ Hong Kong economy
I would say it is morally OK to determine what you sell or don't sell, but not OK to whom. Ie the now infamous "gay-wedding-cake". It is ok to refuse to make one, but it is not ok to refuse selling cakes to gays.
 
Nov 2014
459
ph
I would say it is morally OK to determine what you sell or don't sell, but not OK to whom. Ie the now infamous "gay-wedding-cake". It is ok to refuse to make one, but it is not ok to refuse selling cakes to gays.
Is it morally correct for x chemical company to knowingly sell zyklon B to Nazi German concentration camps knowing what those camps are set up for, and knowing for what purpose those chemicals will be used for?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,603
Italy, Lago Maggiore
The example about gay is not that correct [at least not everywhere]: it's in the field of illegal discrimination in not a few countries. Sexual orientation in a good quantity of legal systems is in the group of the natural characteristics of the individual. So that, for example according to Italian law, it's a form of discrimination to select on the base of sexual orientation. And before of that, to make the sexual orientation of an individual evident, not serving him, is against privacy laws.

Here I would remain in the field of selection. A selection can be annoying for someone, but until it's not a discrimination, it's a legitimate subjective choice.

Now, as I was saying above, the border between selection and discrimination is tiny, but if a consumer can boycott a brand, I don't see why a shop owner couldn't "boycott" a part of the potential clientele.
Then, also the kind of shop would change the matter. A shop where you buy primary goods or services cannot make a selection because of its own nature [imagine if the pharmacy of a little village begun to select the customers!].

We can say that generally "ideological" selections are not that right [they are substantially wrong], but usually they are not illegal and since the OP talks about morality ... sure from the perspective of the one making the selection ... that's morally correct.
 
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