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What role might government regulation play to ensure ethical conduct by businesses?
Some argue that government needs to increase its regulation of business for the good of society as a whole, while others believe that the marketplace is self-regulating and that government intervention through needless regulation places an unfair, costly burden on businesses in general and on small businesses in particular.
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This is, of course, purely a matter of opinion. My own view is that the government has two choices. It can either intervene to prevent businesses from acting in unethical ways that hurt other people or it can make sure that people who have been hurt by unethical business conduct have the right to sue the businesses for sums of damages that will be large enough to deter such conduct in the future.
It is clear that businesses should not be allowed to get away with unethical conduct. The issue is how to prevent it. Conservatives say that the market should be allowed to punish unethical conduct on the part of business. However, this can only be possible if people are allowed to sue. For example, if a business acts negligently and I am seriously injured while working for them, it is not enough to have the business hurt by the bad publicity. The business should also have to make me whole for the damages that it did to me.
If the right to bring such lawsuits and to get substantial damages were protected in a very solid way, I would be able to accept fewer government regulations. However, if people cannot sue or cannot get substantial damages, I would say government regulation is needed.
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