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* * 0 The Expanding Circle of Moral Responsibility Manuel Velasquez, Santa Clara University Katie Buck, Affymetrix.

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Presentation on theme: "* * 0 The Expanding Circle of Moral Responsibility Manuel Velasquez, Santa Clara University Katie Buck, Affymetrix."— Presentation transcript:

1 * * 0 The Expanding Circle of Moral Responsibility Manuel Velasquez, Santa Clara University Katie Buck, Affymetrix

2 * * 0 Moral Responsibility Two Meanings: –Obligation or Duty –Culpability: Being to blame for an injury Culpability: Agent is morally responsible for an injury when: –Agent caused it –Agent knew it –Agent could have prevented it

3 * * 0 Traditional Extent of Corporate Moral Responsibility Traditionally: –Company is morally responsible for injuries it inflicts on other parties –Provided: it caused the injuries itself, it knew it was causing those injuries, and it could have prevented the injuries

4 * * 0 Expansion of Downstream Moral Responsibility During Second half of 20 th Century –Company is held responsible for injuries users of its products inflict on themselves while using the company's product (product liability) Provided: company knew about it, and could have prevented it. –Company is also held responsible for injuries users inflict on themselves using defective product Even if: company did not know about it, and could not have prevented it (strict liability)

5 * * 0 Expansion of Upstream Moral Responsibility Last 20 years: –Companies also held responsible for injuries its suppliers inflict on third parties (e.g., employees). Most famous: Nike "sweatshops" –Here: Nike perceived to be an indirect cause, knew or should have known what was going on, and could have prevented it.

6 * * 0 Expansion of Downstream Moral Responsibility And, Last 20 years: –Companies increasingly held responsible for injuries their customers inflict on third parties using the companies’ products. –Examples: Gun manufacturers Taverns, Bars serving alcohol Manufacturers of computers

7 * * 0 Two Main Issues -To what extent is a company morally responsible for how customers use products, i.e., for injuries customers might inflict on third parties using its products? -How can company minimize its exposure to this kind of moral responsibility? –After the fact: publicists, lawyers –Before the fact: monitor customer sales, refuse to sell if needed. Gun sales laws Limiting alcoholic beverage sales

8 * * 0 Biotech Industry Affymetrix is dealing with these Products can be used to perform genetic analyses. Information gained by analyses can be used in various ways, some of which have high potential for injury. Company uses an “Ethics Advisory Board” to help evaluate and monitor customer uses of its products.

9 * * 0 Affymetrix A spin-off of Affymax –Affymax (founded 1988 by Alejandro Zaffaroni, sold to Glaxo, sold to private investors in 2001) tested compounds for their potential use as drugs on miniature chips. Affymetrix, the spin-off, was founded by Steve Fodor & A. Zaffaroni –Made miniature chips containing thousands of samples of DNA that allow users to analyze thousands of pieces of genetic information simultaneously

10 * * 0 Affymetrix History 1989: Affymax Research Institute created as startup inside Affymax, research team led by Steve Fodor 1991: In February S. Fodor & research team publish report in Science on using photolithography to embed biochemical compounds on silicia-based chips. 1992: Affymetrix becomes an independent company to pursue this new technology

11 * * 0 Affymetrix : Raises $21 million from private investors in first round funding, $39 million in second round, and $31 million in government research grants to partner with academic research institutions 1996: sells first products, (total of 9 systems by end of the year); in June Affymetrix goes public on Nasdaq, raises $90 million.

12 * * 0 Affymetrix 2000: Company had secured over 100 patents, sold over 100,000 of its “GeneChip” microarrays 2001: Affymetrix was leading supplier of genetic diagnosing systems for research

13 * * 0 Revenues Net Income (loss) 2000$200,830($53,990) 2001$224,874($33,121) 2002$289,874($1,630) 2003$300,796$14, $345,962$47, $367,602$57,516 Affymetrix (data in thousands)

14 * * 0 Affymetrix 1997: Member of Board of Directors raises question of company's moral responsibility for how its products are/will be used. Affymetrix forms Ethics Advisory Board to provide company with advice on its moral responsibilities. EAB meets periodically, discusses ethical issues related to customer use of company's products, makes (advisory) recommendations


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