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Earlier versions of this article were presented at the 2007 Society for Business Ethics Annual Meeting, at the Fifth Annual conference of the Academy of International Business (AIB), at the 68th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management at the Critical Management Studies Division, and at the 16th Annual International Conference Promoting Business Ethics. I would like to thank all participants at these occasions.
The orthodox account of the morality of war holds that the responsibility for resorting to war rests on the state’s political authorities and the responsibility for how the war is waged rests only on the state’s army and, thus, business firms have no special obligations in wartime. The purpose of this article is to reconsider the ethical responsibilities of business firms in wartime. I defend the claim that a plausible standard of liability in war must integrate the degree of the agent’s contributions to posing an unjust threat, the nature of agent's behavior, and his/her intentions. If these premises are correct, it follows that the moral obligations of civilians and business corporations are fundamentally altered by war. Taking into consideration their relative contributions to the war effort, a taxonomy of business firms is developed.
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- The Ethics of Business in Wartime
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