Many problems in business ethics involve questions about the obligations and motives of beneficence. Examples are obligations to protect Internet users from obscene materials, responsibilities for human subjects in pharmaceutical research, paternalistic policies of consumer protection, government actions to control markets in the public interest, policies to improve the welfare of farm animals, benefit packages for employees, ideals of corporate philanthropy, obligations to prevent poverty-related ill health, programs to benefit children and the incompetent, preferential hiring policies, and environmental protection programs.


The term beneficence connotes acts of mercy, kindness, and charity, and perhaps even altruism and humanity. In ordinary language, the notion is broad, but it is broader still in ethical theory, where it can effectively include all forms of action intended to benefit other persons. ...

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