Kantian Ethics (Duty Ethics)has been based on the moral theory that says people owe moral duties that are based on universal rules. This is based on the premise that people can use reasoning to reach ethical decisions. This reasoning allows business to act as others may act toward them and will make decisions based on positive outcomes. Rawls's Social Justice Theoryis based on a social contract where each person is presumed to have entered into a social contract, with all others in society, to obey moral rules that are necessary for people to live in peace and harmony. Fairness is considered the essence of justice. And Ethical Relativismis a moral theory that holds that individuals must decide what is ethical based on their own feelings as to what is right or wrong. There are no universal ethical rules to guide a person's conduct. As such, if a person meets his or her own moral standard in making a decision, no one can criticize him or her for it.page 5 of 7The Social Responsibility of BusinessSince a business does not operate in a vacuum, decisions made by business have far-reaching effects on society. In the past, many business decisions were made solely on a cost-benefit analysis with the concept of the bottom line being most important. A theory of social responsibility says that a corporation has a duty to take actions that maximize profits for shareholders. The interests of other constituencies are not important in and of themselves. Such decisions may cause negative externalities for others. Therefore businesses are considered to owe some degree ofsocial responsibilityfor their actions.Within the degree of social responsibility, a business should exhibit a moral minimumor a social responsibility that says a corporation's duty is to make a profit while avoiding harm to others. As long as business avoids or corrects the social injury it causes, it has met its duty of social responsibility. The legislative and judicial branches of government have established laws that enforce the moral minimum of social responsibility on corporations. Some of the concepts covered later in this course include and are not limited to occupational safety laws and consumer protection laws for product safety.