Sovereign Immunity and the Moral Community

Business Ethics Quarterly 2 (4):411-434 (1992)

Abstract

Government policies and practices can exert significant influence on ethical behavior in a society. Many governments still rely ona long-standing prerogative of sovereigns, the defense of sovereign immunity, to avoid public inquiry about acts that are clearly immoral. However, the basic theory and frequent practice of invoking sovereign immunity cannot be ethically justified. Moreover, such practices model conduct based on power rather than reason, fairness, or justice, and invite both nations and individuals to view politics and business as a power game to be played and won, rather than as a process of buiIding communities that emphasize reciprocity and commitment to moral principles

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