Business vs Morals

In Philosophy, Short Thoughts

“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” Michael Corleone (The Godfather)

In his brilliant essay “On Duties”, Cicero expounds his conception of the best way to live, behave, and observe moral obligations. He specifically gives an example of a grain dealer who arrives at the port with his ship and is aware that there is plenty of more grain on the way to the same port. Should he inform the sellers that this is the case, and in doing so destroy his own chances of selling the grain at a higher-than-normal price?

Most people nowadays would answer this with a resounding yes, giving reasons such as the fact that the seller in simply offering goods at a certain price, and not actively deceiving the buyers, or that he or she may well as the responsibility to shareholders to sell at a hight price.

But what about our responsibility towards humanity?