Earlier this year Japanese automobile manufacturer, Toyota, paid $1.32 billion to settle lawsuits filed against them for deceitful claims regarding their malfunctioning brake systems. The company was said not to be held to any criminal charges if it agrees to be monitored in terms of safety practices.
By concealing crucial information about the safety of its vehicles to customers, Toyota fails to live up to its one and only social responsibility, as explained by Milton Friedman, of “increasing its profits…without deception or fraud.” I am astounded by the fact that such a large company failed to accomplish the task of producing a functional and safe car, taken that there were no other social responsibilities they were accountable for. The Toyota executives at the time placed higher value on profit rather than the safety of their consumers. Although an arduous process, the company should have informed the public and recalled faulty models immediately in order to prevent life threatening accidents, such as the Lexus ES350 defect that killed a family in 2009. In trying to maximize their own benefits, Toyota was deceptive and did not stop their unethical practices which harmed their credibility and put more consumers’ lives at risk.