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Freedom as a concept in business is not an abstract idea. It is noted that the success of any industry is nearly directly related to the degree of freedom that stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, and community have in the business operations. The question of business freedom has been in several times used to explain the capitalism as a philosophy in business (Baier & Regan 1993, 91). The other area has been the role of business employees in exercising this business freedom and at the same time how a business relate to the society in which it operates. This paper seeks to analyze the level of freedom a business should have in the context of economic and social relationships.
Basically, the economists’ view as far as business freedom is concerned is based on the fact that good of the society is promoted in capitalist’s society (Ricardo 2005, 142). But if a business is to make the decision to carry out operations in a particular area, it is their responsibility to ensure these activities do not interfere with the welfare of the people. For instance, a business venture that exploits resources in an area may realize that some of their activities are detrimental to the welfare of the community around the place. In such a scenario, the business may not have the express freedom to continue with the activity as doing so would mean destroying ethics of business relationship.
The inequality that exists within the contexts of business operations may adversely affect the stakeholders, either directly or indirectly. Democratic freedom to operate a business enterprise is based on the principle of sustainable business operations. That is, a business enterprise should only carry out their businesses where and when the business does not have negative impact on the community, employees and other stakeholders. To understand this concept, it is important to understand the concept of freedom of an individual. In order to justify the harm an individual does to another as a result of the exercise of one’s freedom, one must be able to give good reasons. It is therefore logical to state that the good reason given must be accompanied by the desire to deal with the repercussion of the business. In the dimension of employees and freedom of the employer, good reasons are precisely what would be lacking in cases where employers fires employees, without considering options that would be beneficial to both teams, thus causing harm to the employees (Baier & Regan 1993, 99). This may also be categorized under moral irresponsibility when the employer act in a manner that is inconsistent with the welfare of employee as a stakeholder.
The economic point of view suggests some limit to business freedom. First, capitalism as an ideology in business is based on the private ownership of means of production or private ownership of a property that defines the business practices and decisions. In this case, decisions on what produce and supply or what to invest on is made by the business owners. The decisions on how to make use of resources and profits are also under the control of the business owners through defined management. However, private ownership of property or means of production means a resolve to accumulate capital or wealth. The freedom to own property is therefore vested in the ability of the firm to acquire wealth or capital. But the process of ownership is limited by the fact that capitalism takes the better part of business operations and that the need to conduct fair and sustainable business is paramount (Ricardo 2005, 149). Owning a property that the whole community rely or depend on may not be justified or fair enough to the community. For, a business venture cannot claim to own air, which obviously controls every living thing’s survival on the planet earth.
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